MILES MORALES: SPIDER-MAN #1
Written by Saladin Ahmed
Art by Javier Garrón, David Curiel, Cory Petit
Edited by Kathleen Wisneski, Nick Lowe
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: December 12, 2018
“I’m Miles Morales, Spider-Man, and I’ve never been more sure of my power. But I’ve never been more confused about my responsibility.”
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #1 opens with a peek into the journal of Miles Morales. Writer Saladin Ahmed seizes the confluence of school and storytelling to give us direct access to Miles Morales’ thoughts through his own journal. Miles is enrolled in Creative Writing, and his journal is part of that class, so two pages in, it makes sense, it sticks, and it works.
Ahmed doesn’t just use the confluence of school and storytelling, but dives into current events to add relevance for Morales. Dropping Spider-Man right into the heart of a deportation crisis snagged from the crazy world around us, Ahmed makes some predictable, but impactful moves, stitching the relevance and confluence together like a well-crafted web slung from this comic book’s namesake.
Along the way, we learn quite a bit about Miles, his family, his friends, and his approach to crime-fighting. You don’t have to be a Spider-Fan of epic proportions to recognize the differences between Miles Morales and Peter Parker, as Ahmed makes it quite clear from a first-person perspective via the journal, but he layers in credibility through a fight with the Rhino.
The only way a Spider-Man (or for that matter Marvel) title is going to get my attention faster than using the Rhino in the pages of a comic is with the Lizard. The trick, once you have my attention, is to keep it. And this comic does that. The big bad guy fight doesn’t happen until after the staples, but Ahmed gives me enough character to keep reading and his artistic collaborators – Javier Garrón on line art; David Curiel on colors; and Cory Petit’s excellent lettering skills.
Garrón is talent ascending, and he’s making quite the name for himself. If you’re not familiar with his work from the recent Ant-Man and Wasp series or his work on Star-Lord before that, well, then True Believer, you are in for a treat here.
The recap page is pure Garrón mastery committed to the page. He fits five panels into one flowing image that needs no external guidance to lead the reader through the story of Miles Morales. Seriously. Every single thing you need to know about Miles is defined in one page. With those five panels, however, he saves the last one as a breakout, giving it a hard rule and a gutter, and absolutely filling the background with the New York City skyline.
The level of detail in Miles Morales: Spider-Man #1 is mindboggling. Yeah, I’m gushing about Garrón a little bit here, but with damn good reason. This guy is damn good. So good that with his work here, he’s become one of my modern-day faves – right there with Pepe Larraz and David Baldeon.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #1 should be the comic book of the year for sheer line quality and quantity alone – because Garrón captures both. I challenge you readers to find any comic book with more lines – and masterfully rendered ones at that – than this comic. Seriously. I’m going back to flip through this comic again once I finish this review. I’m not going to read it, I’m just going to look at it and absorb the wonder. One last note, Garrón’s scale between Morales and Rhino expresses the threat of one of Marvel’s longest-lasting bad guys without adding in any action, but when the action hits – it hits.
And how does it get any better than that? How about David Curiel coloring the absolute mess out of this comic. While Curiel does the color thing with lighter hair that distracts me into madness (when you see Mister Sumida, you’ll understand), I’m willing to try and adapt to that because everything else is so beautifully rendered. Every single background that Garrón draws is colored to pop. Every tree has depth and shape, distance is measured in hue changes, and what’s more, Curiel adds details and textures where Garrón almost certainly didn’t indicate texture.
This is a freaking gorgeous book. And it just gets better. Petit, always a topnotch letterer to me, brings his best, perhaps elevated by the unspoken competition between Garrón and Curiel, perhaps just because his work is amazing. The word balloons bounce throughout the scene, not haphazardly, but adjusting to Garrón’s art, and accommodating the density of Ahmed’s real conversations baked into the script. And his caption boxes? Rockin’. We’ve seen a LOT – a FREAKING LOT – of caption boxes used as exposition, but Petit takes Ahmed’s journaling notion and rips each box from Miles’ notebook. Each caption box has jagged edges, and matches the content within the box. Again – gorgeous work.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #1 is savvy marketing move by Marvel to time a new Miles Morales comic with the week of widespread release for the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse film. The only smarter move for Marvel would be to stand outside the theaters for every showing of that film handing this comic out to everyone leaving.
This is a fun comic that’ll find its way into the stockings for a couple of my nieces and nephews this Christmas. Well-timed Marvel. And well-done, Ahmed, Garrón, Curiel, and Petit. Miles Morales: Spider-Man #1 is a winner, and I am proud to declare myself a fan.
The Verdict: 10/10