What The Future Holds: Reviewing ‘Miles Morales: Spider-Man’ #42
by Scott Redmond
One era of ‘Miles Morales: Spider-Man’ comes to an end by celebrating and revisiting everything that has played a role in the four years that this title has spanned. It’s not enough to make up for almost a year of stories that pulled from some of the worst aspects of how Marvel views Miles, but it’s at least a solid way to bring an end to a title that started with such bright promise.
Commonly many say that every ending is truly just another beginning. They must have been talking about comic books because that mantra is just business as usual. The final issue of Miles Morales: Spider-Man has arrived but it paves the way for the big debut first issue of… Miles Morales: Spider-Man in a few months.
All kidding aside (well most of it at least), change is part of life whether one is talking about reality or the work of handling fictionalized characters within their fictionalized world. It’s no secret, one just has to scroll back through almost 20 reviews, that this current iteration of Miles’ solo title has had its ups & downs & major downs within my eyes. Other readers’ mileage (could not resist) will vary.
Even when poking at the flaws of the plotlines and how the multiverse anchor was dragging Miles and his book down, I would not and have not questioned the ability and care that Saladin Ahmed has as a writer. This final issue in the run returns the book to a status wherein, I feel, we were getting the best that Ahmed brought to the table. Honestly, just returning Miles’s captions as his journal (and the self-poke about it being a long time because of a forever Multiverse arc was good) where he’s working through stuff is a great thing to see.
Early on, before I was reviewing this series, I really enjoyed the deep focus on Miles as a person and his friendships as well as the thriving life at the school. Hands down I still hold the fourth issue of the series where he’s running around town with his friends sneaking away for Spider-Man stuff as one of the best of this series and some peak Spider-Man goodness. Unfortunately, once Miles got his own Spider-Man clone issue and the Uncle Aaron/Multiverse stuff took control a lot of that was just lost.
Family and friends took more of a backseat, until the final alternate timeline storyline, because the Multiverse has become too much of a connected accessory for the character. Hearing that the new creative team of Cody Ziglar and Federico Vicentini plan to leave the Multiverse behind and focus on the Spider-Man of Brooklyn was a wonderful relieving moment. While some things didn’t land as well for me in this final issue, Ahmed showed that here with his community and interacting with the people of his world in the streets is where Miles belongs most in his own book.
Save the Multiverse or big out-of-this-world stuff for minis or if he joins the Avengers again.
The use of the tarot cards was a nice touch as we sort of check in with all of the stuff in Miles’ life before we take a two-month hiatus from his world. I overall liked checking in with most of the characters, some of the sequences felt a little too much like retreading stuff from many years ago when the title began. Other things worked, like the vice principal who was an antagonist but is now in on Miles’s secret, but it had been so long since we saw that moment or person that it didn’t hit as hard as it could. Much of it just stood as a reminder of what we lost once the symbiotes, clones, and multiverse crashed the party.
Befitting the fact that most of the last year of the title saw a variety of artists dipping in and out, the final issue is an artist jam situation. Carmen Carnero, Paris Alleyne, Ig Guara, Paco Medina, Walden Wong, Alitha E Martinez, Natacha Bustos, and Christopher Allen all chip in to bring their artistic styles to the various montages that are tied to the different tarot cards (which are incorporated into each of the panels/pages). There are a lot of differences between the art styles that are very noticeable but there is nothing fully glaringly different, allowing them to fit together pretty well. It helps that each style is handling a different setting/focus which makes the bevy of artists a smoother exchange.
David Curiel does a superb job at providing the colors for this cavalcade of artists, bringing a lot of brightness but also weight that shifts to fit each of the different styles on display. Some of the pages feel lighter, brighter, and flowy while others are darker with shadows and heavier weight.
Rounding out the creative force of this issue is Cory Petit who dances through the pages bringing the same skill and force to the lettering. Volume and tone are inherently clear across the pages, there are small changes done to make the fonts and bubbles fit well across the varying art styles, and just more work to infuse the dialogue with all the personality and energy of the characters.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #42 is now available from Marvel Comics.