Multiverse of Exhaustion: Reviewing ‘Miles Morales: Spider-Man’ #38
by Scott Redmond
Another month brings another issue of Miles Morales’s adventures centered around the multiverse and clones and his uncle and a handful of things that have come to seemingly define the character too much in comics these days. On the surface, this dark reality has some intriguing characters and concepts at play but at this point feels too much like been there done that.
Bleak alternate futures that were born out of one moment going radically different for a hero are as common to superhero comics as masks, superpowers, and yearly events. Truly one can’t turn their back without these types of stories popping up like multiplying bunnies.
In fact, alternate realities are becoming too much of a thing for Miles Morales, to the point that in many realms it’s a large part of what he’s known for. When the big hit film for the character (as much as I love it) sets in stone that stuff like the Spider-Verse is his whole gig it doesn’t entirely bode well for the character’s media future. This is where we continue to stand in the comics.
Overall, there is nothing wrong with this alternate future that Saladin Ahmed has cooked up, which was born out of the recent Clone Saga arc and shows a world where the evil Miles clone Selim (Miles spelled backward…because of course) killed Miles and then took over Brooklyn. It’s fine but also shows just how small the creative bubble for Miles has become in the comics realm since his main series and the current mini-series dedicated to him both are about alternate realities and varied versions of Miles.
When a character already has a series titled What If…? to their name currently having their main book also telling a what if style story is a bit much.
It also feels too small because Selim manages to lock off Brooklyn in some dimensional pocket and the only people fighting back that Miles comes across are people, he knows like his little sister grown up and his best friend who is far older. Not to mention the big cliffhanger brings in another person that has big ties to Miles and the Marvel Universe in general. Overall, it just plays things safe and stays in the lanes that have been seemingly established for the character.
Marvel, please let us get some stories where Miles can just be Miles and do Spider-Man stuff that doesn’t deal with alternate realities. Where the great supporting cast that this book started off with plays a role like they did before they were cast aside for clones and alternate realities that we’ve been dealing with for well over a year now.
There are a number of hands involved in bringing this issue to life artistically as current artist Christopher Allen is joined by Alberto Foche on pencils with Foche, Oren Junior, and Jose Marzan Jr. handling inks and Brian Reber taking over for colors. There is a lot of cool stuff going on, compared to how the last issue was a mostly empty realm that didn’t give artists much to do, as this very futuristic-looking version of Brooklyn is somewhat cool despite being a whole fascist realm. It’s bright and colorful but also has a lot of weight to it and the right amount of darkness befitting the overall story tone.
That being said, there are some areas where the shifting art leaves some of the characters just not coming off correctly. There are moments where Shift suddenly is shrunk down and is just an exact copy of Miles in appearance for some unexplained reason despite being his usual hulking self a panel or two before. Sure he’s a shifter but it just almost comes off like it was easier to just draw two ‘normal’ Miles.
Cory Petit makes the lettering work per usual, making a large amount of exposition flow and sticking to depicting tone/volume with shifting font sizes and styles. All the emotions that can be found between the different Miles and Ganke and Billie and others work and can be felt.
This was just part one of a story that is an offshoot of the story that was already running for most of the last year, with this one set to run most of the rest of this year. Hang in there, Miles.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #38 is now available.