Another month and another issue of Miles Morales that continues the title’s widely fluctuating levels, this month bringing an artistically top-notch issue saddled with a very run-of-the-mill type of plotline. For a character only ten years old, the young Spider-Man is reaching a middling point usually reserved for characters with many more decades under their belt.
Last issue brought the big celebration of ten years of Miles Morales thwapping around as the web-slinging Spider-Man, full of stories celebrating the multitude of possibilities for the character. After flying so high, the series comes in with an issue that hits a bit of a middle-of-the-road type spot.
Overall there is nothing inherently “wrong” about this latest issue of Miles’ book. Saladin Ahmed writes Miles very well and has some good beats between him and Tiana Toomes/Starling for their brief date. Even the action scenes with Taskmaster that fill ¾ of the issue are well written and fit with just how powerful the character can be as he wipes the floor with the young heroes.
That’s the thing though. Almost the who issue this fight and the typical moment where the hero makes a bold very incorrect assumption that they are the target when it’s their companion that was the target all along. It’s technically well written but at the same time feels very paint by numbers. There likely will be a lot more that will flesh this out and give us good character beats and the foundation has to be laid, but it’s very much an issue that one can flip through rather quickly and be left feeling like something is missing.
Essentially, it’s a very sparse meal that leaves you feeling hungry the moment you finish eating.
That being said it’s a very well-prepared sparse meal where most of the expense went into the presentation.
Christopher Allen and Guru-eFX make the heavily action-packed issue work, the pages just flowing. Allen does a lot of good work with paneling as the pages change and really embrace white space and other means to showcase the action even more.
There is a scene with the two heroes bounding across a rooftop to escape Taskmaster’s attack where the panel is split into four with white space between each rectangle, and each one showing the characters in a different place in their overall movement. Arrows are whistling by and Cory Petit’s SFX lettering is solid as always and breaks through the white space like it’s breaking through the fourth wall or something.
Right away the creative team shows what they can do with a full-page (seen below) featuring the two heroes midair with a bloody arrow slicing through the air (with SFX alongside it) and their spilled drink/ice spiraling through the air around them. All the other pages have a lot of this same energy especially with Guru-eFX’s coloring which does a great job of putting bright colors and darker muted stylings together.
Artistically one can really feel each of the blows and brutal moments of this fight from the focus of the panels to the SFX and changes in the dialogue that really enhance what is happening. There are some nice touches where the injuries and even the damage done to Miles’s new costume are very clear, but in a very different way than the usual tattered style given to Spider-Man’s costume.
Speaking of the new costume it’s growing on me a bit more, especially with how Allen and Guru make it look where it’s closer in look to most superhero costumes rather than standing out more like it did in some of the previous shots. It being sturdier than some of the other costumes, based upon the way we see it react to damage here, is a nice touch.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #31 is now on sale in print and digitally from Marvel Comics.