Miles Morales has finally hit the big time thanks to his starring role in the smash hit Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, and Marvel is giving all of Miles’ new fans an easy entry into his comic-book adventures with a new ongoing series written by Saladin Ahmed with art by Javier Garrón, colorist David Curiel, and letterer Cory Petit. The comic-book Miles is older and more experienced than his rookie film counterpart; he’s done learning the ropes but is still struggling to figure out how to juggle his personal life, academic obligations, and superhero responsibilities. The creative team covers all the basics in Miles Morales: Spider-Man #1 (Marvel), but it also pushes Miles forward by focusing on the essential Spider-Man theme, responsibility, and what that means for a young Afro-Latino man witnessing injustice that he can’t fight with his fists.
Unlike Spider-Gwen—sorry, Ghost Spider—Mile is spared from his new ongoing series beginning with a Spider-Geddon crossover, allowing the creative team to introduce readers to the main character without wading through interdimensional nonsense that is more complicated and less emotionally engaging than the Into The Spider-Verse plot. (There’s a quick mention of Spider-Geddon in Miles Morales #1, but the story doesn’t linger on it.) Ahmed avoids cosmic stakes in his story, instead exploring Miles reacts to real-world problems like the deportation and detainment of undocumented immigrants and poverty within his hometown. “I’ve never been more sure of my power,” Mile says. “But I’ve never been more confused about my responsibility.” It’s a compelling thesis statement for the series, differentiating Miles from other Spider-People by emphasizing how issues of social justice weigh on his conscience.
Ahmed works to ground Miles in this first chapter by focusing on his relationships with his friends, family, and Brooklyn community, giving him a journal-writing assignment that provides the book’s narration while putting the reader inside his head. The problem with this journal conceit is that it can make for some awkward exposition, like when Miles feels the need to specify his parents’ names. This is a personal journal that isn’t supposed to be read by anyone else, but it reads like Miles is explaining his life to an outside audience rather than working through his internal issues on the page. Cory Petit’s all-caps lettering for Miles’ captions is also a strange choice. It’s a looser font that has more of a handwritten look, but having lower case letters would distinguish it from the rest of the text and make it feel more personal.
Javier Garrón and David Curiel’s artwork is very much in line with the slick look of previous Miles artist teams, but the vibrant, experimental visuals of Into The Spider-Verse, it would have been nice to see that level of ingenuity carry over to Miles’ comic-book adventures. That said, the art team does impressive work bringing Miles’ world to life, giving a lot of attention to environments and fully realized background characters, with Garrón significantly leveling up his costume design to reflect personality through clothing. The big action sequence at the end of the issue is when some of Into The Spider-Verse’s visual sensibility starts to come through with bright colors and graphic flourishes, and Garrón has a strong grasp on Miles’ agile physicality and how that contrasts with the raw power of the Rhino. Into The Spider-Verse showed that there’s a lot of freedom for artists to go big and bold with superhero imagery, and ideally that film’s success will inspire the Miles Morales art team to heighten the visuals on this series.