Since Brian Bendis left Marvel one of the big holes that has been left behind is what will happen with Miles Morales. While Miles as Spider-Man is still part of the Champions team and will be one of the stars in Spidergeddon we don’t know about his ongoing solo adventures. So far we haven’t seen a new creative team for a Miles led Spider-Man title yet as of the October 2018 solicitations. Given that Miles will be the lead in the upcoming Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse animated movie in December that should not last much longer. Until then we Miles Spider-Man series will end with an Annual issue. How will Miles’ Spider-Man Annual turn out? Let’s find out by checking out Spider-Man Annual #1.
Writer: Bryan Edward Hill (Youngblood Main-Story); Emily Ryan Lerner (Right of Way Back-Up Story)
Artist: Nelson Blake II, Alitha E. Martinez, Mark Bagley (Youngblood Main-Story); Alberto Alburquerque (Right of Way Back-Up Story)
Inker: Roberto Poggi (Youngblood Main-Story)
Colorist: Carlos Lopez (Youngblood Main-Story); Carlos Lopez (Right of Way Back-Up Story)
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Spider-Man (Miles Morales) struggles against Morbius. Morbius is able to pin Spider-Man down and prepares to bite into him.
Years earlier Miles gets five hundred dollars as a birthday present from his Uncle Aaron Davis. Miles question where his uncle got the money from. Aaron says it does not matter. He then tells Miles not to believe he is like the other kids as at his school as he doesn’t share their advantages. Aaron goes on to say that Miles should look out for only himself and no one else.
A little later at the Brooklyn Visions Academy while watching a report on the Skrulls’ Secret Invasion attack Miles and Ganke talk about if Miles could beat Doctor Doom. One of the students, Brent, asks Miles to talk alone.
Brent wants to talk about the student-mentor program as he knows that Miles is smarter than him. Miles isn’t sure since Brent won the New Visions Creativity Prize. Brent says he won it because his mom is on the board.
Brent asks Miles why he looks concerned. Miles says that he feels like things are getting worse. Miles then says he isn’t sure if he belongs at the school since he got in through a lottery. Brent tells Miles that while he didn’t “earn” his way into the academy it is he needs to continue to work to earn it.
To cheer him up Brent invites Miles to a Hypewear pop-up store opening. Miles isn’t sure about going. Brent admits that the reason he wants Miles to go is to introduce him to his awkward sister, Olivia. Miles decides to go.
At the Hypewear store Miles notices that Olivia isn’t awkward. Olivia admits that her brother is just trying to set them up. Brent takes Ganke to the side while Olivia gives Miles a hoodie to try on. While he talks to Olivia Miles’ spider-senses go off. Miles is able to push Olivia out of the way of a Skrull that crashes through the building.
A Skrull dressed as a cop shows up. Miles checks on Ganke and tells him to find Brent and Olivia.
Miles puts on a pair of goggles he finds and creates a makeship version of his Spider-Man costume
Spider-Man is able to take dropkicks the Skrull out of the store. Spider-Man then quickly takes out the Skrull with his venom strike.
The Peter Parker version of Spider-Man shows up. This Spider-Man takes of his mask to reveal himself as a Skrull and tells Miles Spider-Man to embrace change.
The Spider-Skrull throws Spider-Man through a building. Spider-Skrull then tries to kill Ganke. Spider-Man recovers and continues fighting. Spider-Skrull overpowers Spider-Man and slams him down onto the sidewalk.
While he recovers Spider-Man notices Thor taking out a nearby Skrull ship.
This inspires Spider-Man to fight back and starts fighting Spider-Skrull again. They go back and forth until Spider-Man is able to nail a strong uppercut that gives him the chances to capture Spider-Skrull.
Spider-Man goes back to check on his friends only to find Olivia crying over the dead body of Brent. Olivia yells at Spider-Man to leave. Spider-Man does so reluctantly.
Three days later at Brent’s funeral Miles tries to console Olivia. They hug and Olivia says there is nothing Miles could’ve done.
Once alone with Brent’s coffin Miles starts crying.
A little later Miles returns the money his Uncle Aaron gave him. Miles tells his uncle it does matter where money comes from. Aaron tells his nephew to watch out for himself. Miles says goodbye to his uncle and walks away.
Back in the present Spider-Man uses his venom strike to get Morbius off him. He then captures Morbius with his webs. Spider-Man then says he understands that Morbius isn’t a bad guy and that the world gave up on him but that it should not stop him from doing the right thing.
Morbius questions what the right thing is. Spider-Man says he is just a kid who spent sending a vampire to prison. Morbius says he can smell Spider-Man’s doubt, which Spider-Man confirms.
While swinging away Miles thinks about how he knows he can’t save the day every time but it won’t stop him from trying to save the world or those who need his help because he is Spider-Man. End of main story.
The Good: For Miles Morales fans Spider-Man Annual #1 get your monthly fill of his solo adventures. Placing the majority of the main story in this issue during the Secret Invasion events helped fill in some blanks in terms of Miles history within the main Marvel Universe. Unfortunately the story is not consequential enough to attract non-Spider-Man fans to pick this issue up.
Over time we have seen how Miles Morales has become his own type of Spider-Man. While he shares some similarities with Peter Parker, Miles is also a very different person with a backstory that is his own. The one thing that isn’t different is Miles shared sense of power and responsibility that Peter lives by. Bryan Edward Hill basing his main story around this fact helps define what makes Miles a great Spider-Man as he lives by the moniker his predecessor made famous.
And while Miles and Peter share this similarity it does not mean they have the same story or experiences. Hill shows this as we see how Miles story is about what he does with the opportunities he is given. Even though Hill brings up how Miles being accepted into a prestigious school was by a chance of “luck” it is up to Miles to earn his spot by working harder than those around him. It’s a very relatable way to position Miles because most can relate to a story about a character getting a break because that is what we all ask for, especially when we are young. It is getting these chances to prove yourself that show who you are and Miles is getting that chance.
Miles learning what his “luck” means through what those around him tell him, in this case his Uncle Aaron Davis and student mentor Brent. With his Uncle Aaron we see how Miles is pushed to only look out for himself. Aaron emphasizing this to his nephew was a big test for Miles as it is easy to listen to the adults around you. The fact that Miles, through the lesson he learns in Spider-Man Annual #1, is able to gain the strength to tell his uncle he is wrong about what he should was a big moment for him. It establishes that Miles will work to earn his position, both in his personal life and Spider-Man career.
What makes Miles arc in Spider-Man Annual #1 is how he learns the lesson that he can’t save everyone but must always keep trying. Because for all his powers there is no way Miles can predict events like Secret Invasion to take place. All he can do is fight to defend those around him as best he can. And while he wasn’t able to save his Brent’s life he does grow to understand that by stopping the two Skrulls he goes up against he was able to save Ganke, Olivia and many others.
At the same time, Hill does show how much death impacts peoples lives. Because while Miles knows he tried his best it does not make him feel better that he wasn’t able to save Brent. That guilt is something that clearly drives Miles and speaks to how strong he is to continue trying to save as many people as possible as Spider-Man.
Emily Ryan Lerner also does a good job in writing who Miles is as Spider-Man with the back-up story in this. Lerner was able to deliver a light hearted story that still fits into who Miles is. This story is helped by how Ganke and his drivers ed class were integrated into the story. It added an unpredictable element as Spider-Man had to keep track of multiple things while trying to save the day.
The artwork for Spider-Man Annual #1 was solid throughout the issue. Nelson Blake II, Alitha E. Martinez, Mark Bagley and Alberto Alburquerque all bring out the youthful nature of the current point in Miles life and career as Spider-Man. The action was smooth and they made Miles and his friends look like young kids who are still learning to interact with each other.
The Bad: Though Spider-Man Annual #1 is a good read for those looking for Miles Morales solo adventures it won’t attract anyone outside of that. There isn’t a strong hook to either story in this issue. What hurts this issue more is that we are far away from the Secret Invasions event. That event was such a long time ago that it was tough to care about Spider-Man fighting a pair of Skrulls.
This story is not made any better by the fact that there wasn’t any sort of creativity to how Miles took them both out. In both case it was simply Miles getting one good venom strike on both of them. There was no sense of Miles having a tough time, even against the Spider-Man Skrull. It would’ve been much more effective if Miles actually had to think outside the box to defeat the Spider-Man Skrull.
The present day fight with Morbius did not add anything to the story since he was treated more like a random villain. It does not help that Morbius isn’t a villain that has shown to be someone that Miles does not have a pass with. What would’ve work better is if Miles as Spider-Man was fighting his Uncle Aaron, either in his Prowler or Iron Spider, identity. At least then we would’ve had a link to the past and present day scenes. It would’ve also made Spider-Man pushing the idea that someone should not give up on doing the right thing if he said it to his uncle instead of Morbius.
Overall: Bryan Edward Hill and Emily Ryan Lerner both made a very good case for giving the chance to write Miles Morales ongoing solo adventures with their respective work on Spider-Man Annual #1. Both stories in this Annual issue were solid stories that show the reader what makes Miles a great Spider-Man. Though this issue won’t attract non-Spider-Man fans it’ll satisfy those looking for their monthly fill of Miles solo Spider-Man adventures.