Miles Morales is a series that seems to be content moving in slow-moving circles, foregoing all the elements of Miles’ world that are part of what makes him such a fun and intriguing character to follow. Really great fluid artwork isn’t enough to save another issue in this arc that very noticeably is dragging.
Miles Morales is a character that has meant a lot to a lot of people for well over a decade now, making the leap from comics to a variety of mediums including taking the big screen by storm. A biracial younger Spider-Man that showcases that truly anyone can be under the mask, which was one of the stated goals with the original Peter Parker version of Spider-Man.
Unfortunately, comics-wise Miles is in a bit of a rut.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #34 is a beautiful comic to behold. The work from Michele Bandini, Luigi Zagaria, Elisabetta D’Amico, David Curiel, and Cory Petit is next level work. There is a different sort of energy in this book where the action is so smooth but heavy, really feeling like this world is taking up space and could be something real. On many of the panels, there is a very interesting use of a sort of just barely hazy color filter over things which adds just a little something.
SFX that dominates a panel, like every time Shift smashes through things, is tremendously fun. I’m of the mind that SFX that are fully part of the scene and almost interact with the characters themselves are where the real fun is located. We get a lot of that here.
We get a number of really great action fight scenes, against robots and other traps, where we get some detailed full-page spreads, using the great method of multiple copies of the character for tracking their motion.
Sadly, the overall plot isn’t matching the beauty of the artistic side. Saladin Ahmed is a good writer, has knocked things out of the park even with this series, but something about this book just feels like it’s becoming more and more stuck within itself. The original issues with the Assessor were intriguing and hinted at some things but this being and the Infinity Stone powered Quantum have overstayed their welcome.
Right away the line “Why did you go all-in on David Pumpkins?” from Saturday Night Live’s popular Tom Hanks’ David Pumpkins sketch in 2016 comes to mind.
This series has gone all-in on the Assessor and Quantum and even the soon-to-be reappearing Ultimatum, and the things that make Miles great from his young life to his family to his supporting cast are mostly just left in the background dust far too much.
This is a book that I want to love because Miles means so much to me, one of the first times I really got to root for a hero that was biracial like myself, but it’s getting a bit hard as the plot drags its heels.
Also, despite what the issue cover itself and the solicitation might state there is literally no connection to the ‘Beyond‘ storyline that is currently going on over in Amazing Spider-Man. The only bare thread that one might try to state connects them together is the fact that the last issue had a very clear connection to the storyline with how the issue started off. This issue has no such scenes or mentions.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #34 is now on sale in print and digitally from Marvel Comics.