Miles Morales: Spider-Man delves into a classic super-hero team-up for its annual issue, pairing a rookie hero with the now seasoned decade-old former ultimate Spider-Man. Another quite solid entry in the Infinite Destinies branded annuals event that Marvel has going on this year, a brutal but fun and delightful to look at issue.
So far, the Infinity Stone-centric Infinite Destinies annual issues from Marvel Comics have been split between those that feature one of the Infinity Stone wielding individuals and those that are just stories about heroes teaming up with no Infinity Stone connections. Miles Morales: Spider-Man Annual #1 is one of the latter types that pairs Spider-Man with Ms. Marvel’s friend and recently introduced hero Amulet.
This issue does a very good job of weaving between the fun aspects of the heroes teaming up and some darker and even more brutal aspects of the threat they face. Right on the first page, there is a pretty brutal murder, that is shadowed both here and on a subsequent page where the gory fate of the passerby is revealed a bit more.
As someone that is behind on a number of books (never enough time for all the comics!), Amulet was a character that I’m aware of but haven’t had a chance to read his intro issues in the Magnificent Ms. Marvel series. Thankfully Saladin Ahmed makes sure to drop in some pages that basically recap who and what Amulet, in an engaging keeps the story moving way instead of like info-dump pages. Quite an intriguing character that we hopefully see more of as his engagement with his family is really cool and has a nice fit alongside a slightly more veteran but still young character like Miles.
This is a really more lowkey sort of team-up as there are monsters on the loose that are part of the mission that Amulet is on that has ties to the past and a wizard, and Miles is on the case as he stumbles across it all while patrolling a different neighborhood. Truly it’s really great that we’re at a point with Marvel and DC that attention is returning to providing more of these one-shots and soon a bunch of minis that heavily focus on hero team-up stories like this. Solos and team books are great, but there is just something about stories that randomly team up different heroes and lets them go at some problem.
Luca Maresca’s art and Fernando Sifuentes’ colors are a great match and very easily shift between the fun and darker aspects of the story. There is a lot of detail, but not too much when it comes to the brutal stuff, and the fight scenes just flow so well. Each of the blows that Miles and Amulet or the figures they fight take is felt, as there is a weight to it. Miles takes a few punches that just by looking at how they hit, you know he’s gonna be feeling that the next morning and beyond.
Another thing that helps with the fighting focus is the choice to go more with different bright colors in the background rather than drawing out the various background items in the spaces these fights are occurring. It just allows the eyes to truly focus on the fights and the power on display between these characters. Like a great page when Amulet just appears and saves Spider-Man with a bright blue shield bubble which is striking against the pink and purple striped background.
While the art and the colors hit home the weight and power of these fights, Cory Petit’s usual awesome lettering work helps bring it all together. There are the big bright and varied SFX that bring in that ‘hearing’ sense of sorts with the action scenes. Next to those are the great blue caption boxes for Amulet and the continued journal-like ones for Miles, as well as the variety and great emphasis used in the dialogue.
As the backup, we get the seventh part of Jed MacKay’s Nick Fury-centric Infinity Stone story, with this one bringing Juan Ferreyra on for the art and Joe Caramagna on the letters. These have been really intriguing as MacKay writes a fantastic Nick Fury, and it’s here that we see how poorly any sort of mind control works on Fury in the long run. Including Nighthawk in these and some ties to the recently complete Heroes Reborn event was also a nice touch.
Ferreyra’s artwork is so vivid and visually distinct, almost looks like paintings come to life in a way. Both Nighthawk and Fury are terrifying coming out of the shadows, like creatures of the night swooping onto their prey. Caramagna adds some nice flavor to the dialogue of each character and then brings it with some really bold and powerful SFX that match the artistic style perfectly.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man Annual #1 is now on sale in print and digitally from Marvel Comics.