Review: An Emotional Toll Like No Other In ‘Miles Morales: Spider-Man’ #21

by James Ferguson

Overview

“The Ultimatum Saga” comes to an action-packed end, but Miles is changed forever by these events. How will our hero go on from here?

Overall
8/10
8/10

Ultimatum, the Miles Morales of Earth-616 is playing all of his cards. He’s unleashed a drug in the area that’s turned innocent civilians into ravenous Goblinoids. Miles Morales is joined by Captain America, Prowler (aka his uncle Aaron), and more to fight back this horde and put a stop to Ultimatum, but will it be enough?

Family has long been a major component of Miles Morales: Spider-Man and that’s even more so in this issue as Miles’ uncle and father are in the mix fighting alongside him. That makes each beat of this action-packed issue resonate more. This heats up in an explosive climax to the issue and this storyline. Writer Saladin Ahmed plots this out in a way that you can see the big moment coming, however it does not take away any of its impact.

What I’m very curious about with this is how it will potentially effect Miles’ original home, the Ultimate Universe. There have been hints to it in this and a few other series, so could it be making a comeback? There is certainly a door opened in this issue to that possibility. It doesn’t seem like Marvel’s style to seed this kind of stuff in such a low-key fashion though. Usually it’s in your face for months before the official event. I’m keeping an eye out for it.

The action scenes leading up to that big climax are incredible. Artist Marcelo Ferreira turns in some of the most dynamic sequences I’ve seen in a super hero book in months. Every character in this fight is showcased in some way and all of the images are rendered well by inker Wayne Faucher. You clearly see every detail in these characters, particularly their faces even if they’re behind a mask. This helps with the emotional elements considerably.

Although Miles Morales: Spider-Man #21 takes place at night, you wouldn’t know it from all the energy crackling every which way. Colorist David Curiel brings this issue to life with bursts of color that show just how tense the action is. The big finale to this fight (which I know I keep referencing without outright saying it but I don’t want to spoil it!) is shown in a purple hue which implies much without having to outright show what’s going on.

There’s an emotional toll to all this and Miles is at the heart of it. This hits him hard. It shows in how he carries himself, looking despondent after the dust settles, as well as his voice, shown by letterer Cory Petit in a quieter tone. It’s hard to be a hero when you can’t even save those closest to you.

This storyline hit Miles personally. It’s one thing to fight off a monster or some bank robber. It’s quite another to face a twisted version of yourself and come to grips with an alternate reality where you once lived. That’s just the tip of the iceberg though. Every hero faces obstacles that force them to question how they can keep doing this. This issue has Miles going through just that and I don’t know how he can pick up the pieces just yet.

Miles Morales: Spider-Man #21 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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