Around and around we go, as Miles Morales’s latest issue continues to go nowhere fast despite the story arcs finale being only one issue away. Despite a decade of existence and massive levels of popularity, Marvel Comics continues to hold Miles Morales back from the heights he could and should be swinging through regularly.
With the review for Miles Morales: Spider-Man #39 the headline of the piece reads “Going Nowhere Fast” with that pointing at the overall stretched-out cliché overdone alternate reality situation this title has been in for most of the last entire year. This headline could actually be repurposed for this issue as well (it’s not of course), because surprised not surprised, literally nothing other than moving the pieces into place for the finale happens in this issue.
Truly, no lie. The rebels and Miles discovered Uncle Aaron (who disappeared into the multiverse like two years ago our timeline-wise) being used to power Selim (Miles spelled backward…I’ll never stop poking that ever) dark shield that allows him to rule Brooklyn, and only Brooklyn, with an iron fist, cut off from the world. Here they get him out, fight Selim’s goons again, escape, the shield falls, Selim’s forces show up at the rebel base (because the attack gave away where they came in) and that’s it.
See, basically, nothing happens.
I’ve said it before Saladin Ahmed is a good writer, there are things that he’s done in the past that got critical rave reviews, so I have no idea what is going on here. Maybe Marvel higherups want to keep Miles hooked to multiversal stuff forever or Ahmed just likes it, but whatever it is this title is a big disappointment. Trust me, as a huge huge Miles fan, I hate to say that.
We’re given this world where Miles’s evil clone, because of course his clone would be evil with a backward name, creates a fascist dystopia but nothing of note is done with it. This is some peak entertainment dropping the ball by using actual real-world issues, like the rise of fascism and our forever propelling closer to dystopia, and using it as window dressing with no real depth or desire to actually flesh it out. Nothing about this future actually truly feels dire, and it makes no sense that just having Miles and Shift made the rebellion succeed when Selim’s forces are shown to be beyond useless.
Even with thin plots, this series was at an artistic high in the past with Carmen Carnero leading the charge. Here though we have Alberto Foche here from the last issue and it’s overall fine, but the facial work just isn’t hitting all the time as faces are off or the emotions just aren’t coming off as they probably should. Just like the last issue, all the futuristic Brooklyn stuff from the first parts of the arc is mostly gone, we’re just in a lot of bland gray spaces that allow for a bit of color here or there but not a ton other than on the characters themselves.
Colors come from David Curiel who does what he can to bring some color and light/shadows to the images to make them pop a bit more. Lots of gray everywhere, but the other colors do work well when they are allowed to come forward and do what they should be doing. Curiel is capable of a lot of fantastic color work, but the setting and sparseness do him no favors here as there isn’t a ton that can be done outside of some pretty normal toned-down palettes.
Travis Lanham steps in on lettering for this issue and does solid work. This is a huge talky issue, despite not much happening, so there is a lot to bring to the page and he makes it work. Emotion and tone are clearer in the words than elsewhere so that helps a lot.
Again, as stated in previous reviews, this is not a bad book. It’s also not a particularly good book either. Really it just sort of is as a series. Somewhere in the middle, riding that neutral space. Miles Morales deserves far far far better than this, and so do his fans.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #40 is now available.