While I have not kept up with Miles Morales ongoing Spider-Man adventures like I have with Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy I have occasionally picked up one of his comics. Now with all the hype around Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse coming out Miles profile will be as high as it has ever been. Since Marvel decided to relaunch Miles Morales’ Spider-Man comic, partially due to Brian Bendis signing with DC Comics and mostly because Marvel loves relaunches. For this new series Marvel has tapped Saladin Ahmed to write Miles Morales: Spider-Man. I am not to familiar with Ahmed’s work since I haven’t read his runs on Black Bolt and Quicksilver comics. But with this being a Spider-Man comic I have high hopes that Ahmed can impress with what he does with the character. Let’s find out with Miles Morales: Spider-Man #1.
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Javier Garron
Colorist: David Curiel
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: While swinging through the city as Spider-Man Miles thinks about his new creative writing assignment that involves writing about his daily life in a secret journal. Miles decides to write about his life after being bitten by a genetically altered spider and how that made him Spider-Man.
He goes on to write how the original Spider-Man endorsed him and is a friend, his father being a secret SHIELD agent, his Uncle Aaron is Iron Spider and that after keeping his Spider-Man life a secret for a while he ended up telling them about his superhero career.
While writing about his two best friends, Judge and Ganke, Miles is alerted by Ganke about an attack on the city.
Miles rushes off as Spider-Man to save the day. After successfully saving everyone Miles returns to his dorm exhausted only to be woken up by Judge about being late to class.
Miles’ first period teacher goes easy on Miles for being late to class.
After class Judge comments on this. Miles says that his life is so busy at the moment.
In the hallway Miles runs into Barbara. Judge leaves them alone to talk.
Barbara asks Miles if he wants to hang out with her in the weekend since she has to babysit her cousin. Miles acts like a dork while happily agreeing to the date.
On Saturday morning Miles’ mom asks him why he didn’t say anything about saving people as Spider-Man, which was in the paper. As they talk Miles’ mom comments on how crazy things are with the immigration crisis causing so much fear in people about being detained.
In the afternoon Miles meets up with Barbara and her cousin. They decide to grab some ice cream. While eating their ice cream Barbara pulls Miles aside to talk about how her cousin’s father got deported last month and his mom is in the process of getting them citizenship.
Barbara decides to change subjects and asks Miles how things are going between them. Miles isn’t sure how to answer that.
Later that night Spider-Man thinks about how confused he is about Barbara and school. While coming across a shelter Miles starts wondering about what his responsibilities as Spider-Man are.
Eventually Spider-Man comes across a high-tech gang stealing from a building. Spider-Man confronts them but none of them talk. Instead one of them punches Spider-Man so hard he goes flying into a wall.
Rhino suddenly shows up and tells Spider-Man to mind his own business. Spider-Man says that is not his style. They end up fighting with Rhino quickly overpowering Spider-Man.
Spider-Man uses his speed to web Rhino up long enough so that he can sneak behind him with his camouflage. Spider-Man then uses his venom strike to knock Rhino down.
After Rhino recovers he reveals he is there because he is looking for his niece, who was kidnapped by someone who the silent gang is working with. The high-tech gang try to escape in their vehicle but Spider-Man stops them with his webs.
Spider-Man confronts the gang and takes of their mask. He is stunned to find Barbara’s cousin behind the mask with a blank stare on his face.
Before Spider-Man and Rhino can find out what is going on the high-tech gang knock them out with an electric blast. End of issue.
The Good: Miles Morales: Spider-Man #1 is a comic that may be controversial with those who want politics out of their comic books. Luckily Saladin Ahmed walks a tightrope carefully enough that he is able to deliver a story that is interesting enough to come back for more. It was not an easy tightrope to walk and there are a few stumbles along the way but not enough for the story to fall on its face.
With Miles having a mixed heritage and living in New York City he is a character that is perfect to explore the current immigration crisis. It’s not something that needs to dominate this series but for an opening issue it does bring attention to the reader that Miles is half African-American and half Puerto Rican. This is one of the things that separates Miles from Peter Parker and an important part of the character.
What made Ahmed emphasizing this in Miles Morales: Spider-Man #1 even more is that it helps spotlight Miles’ relationship with his family. As Ahmed revealed, Miles in a position where he is not hiding his Spider-Man life from his parents like Peter does with Aunt May. That difference opens things up for Miles to have a much more open relationship with his parents. The open way he and his mom talked about how he saved the day as Spider-Man recently made the transition to the immigration talk have greater honesty behind it. That honesty made you care about seeing how Miles continues to interact with his parents as things like this are brought up.
Framing everything that happens in Miles Morales: Spider-Man #1 through all of this heighten our heroes current status quo. At this point Miles is an experienced superhero who has been part of several major big events and has been a member of the Avengers and Champions. Even if he is still learning to be on the level of Peter, Captain America and others he is no longer a rookie.
Ahmed did a great job putting that point across to the reader to further paint the picture that Miles is still in his high school years. Now being in high school for a few years Miles is now comfortable in his own shoes. His confidence in and out of his Spider-Man costume is something that makes him stand out as his own person rather than just being in his predecessor’s shadow. Adding in how he interacts with his family and friends Ahmed set up plenty of opportunities to explore Miles character in different ways throughout this series.
Ahmed also did a nice job swerving fans by positioning Rhino as a partner for Spider-Man. This follows along the lines with Rhino’s redemption arc he has been going through over the last few years. Highlighting how Rhino is going to be helping Spider-Man because he wants to save his niece was a good way to spotlight how big of a family man the character is. There has been nothing more important to Rhino in recent years than his family and that has made him a much better character since this became part of his character the last few years.
Javier Garron provided Miles Morales: Spider-Man #1 with high quality artwork throughout the issue. Garron did a great job drawing Miles a kid who is still growing and coming into his own. He and his friends looked and acted like teenages and high school.
The Bad: While Ahmed gets the job done in getting the reader behind Miles’ character the same can’t be said about the first main plot of this series. While I understand Ahmed’s desire to place a focus on the immigration crisis since it directly relates to Miles’ heritage he went all in to quickly. There was absolutely no build to how Miles relates to what is going on. It is just brought up in one panel and the next thing we know the story jumps to this being the center of the plot for whoever the villain is. This makes the reader look at the immigration crisis story as nothing more than a plot device rather than something that is meaningful to Miles and those around him the long run.
What makes the rush in this story arc worse is that it makes Eduardo, Barbara’s cousin, nothing more than a plot device. Rather than having Miles spend time to connect with Eduardo to relate to what the kid is going through Ahmed avoids all of that. By avoiding building Eduardo as a person Ahmed instead just makes him nothing more than Barbara’s cousin. In doing so it makes Eduardo being part of the villains plot just paint Miles’ motivation being based around the connection it has to his love interest.
This all doesn’t help make the unknown villains anymore interesting. All this comes out looking like is a generic plot to kick of Miles Morales: Spider-Man. There is nothing unique about a villain using hypnotized people against a hero. Adding in the fact we don’t know who this villain is does not help either. There is zero anticipation to the reveal of this villain since they will likely just be a generic first antagonist for an ongoing series.
Though I liked most of Garron’s artwork there was a dip in quality during the fight between Spider-Man and Rhino. For some reason there did not look like there was the same amount of detail given to the fight. It almost felt like there was a second artist work on this scene.
Overall: Saladin Ahmed has a good kick off to his run on Miles Morales: Spider-Man. Ahmed quickly established his understanding of Miles Morales and the world around him. Unfortunately the same can’t be said by the villain, which is rushed and hurts one of the major sub-plots Ahmed tried to establish. That said, if you are a fan of the character Miles Morales: Spider-Man #1 is an issue I recommend checking out. For casual fans I recommend waiting to see how this story arc turns out before deciding to pick Miles Morales: Spider-Man up.