reflection

Saladin Ahmed and the art team remind us what Spider-Man is all about.
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Review: MILES MORALES: SPIDER-MAN #17 Makes Miles A Friendly Neighborhood Hero

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Miles makes a big leap.

In Miles Morales: Spider-Man #17, on sale June 10, writer Saladin Ahmed plunges Miles “Outlawed,” in which he’s a fugitive. From Miles’ confrontation with a governmental task force to a question-raising cliffhanger, Ahmed offers plenty of discussion points with this latest installment. But the most promising development is Miles demonstrating the true legacy of Spider-Man.

Miles Morales: Spider-Man #17

Writer: Saladin Ahmed

Penciler: Carmen Carnero

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Color Artist: David Curiel

Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

For teenage superheroes, there’s a lot going on in the Marvel Universe. Even if you ignore each defender’s individual responsibilities, “Outlawed” is making their jobs more difficult than ever. Thanks to Kamala’s Law, teenage heroes can’t operate without supervision. This legal restriction might put a damper on adolescents hoping to follow in the footsteps of icons like Iron Man and Captain Marvel. That’s why it’s so encouraging to see Miles Morales take the next step in his evolution and truly become the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. 

In this week’s issue, Miles isn’t letting the chaotic world bring him down. Penciler Carmen Carnero and color artist David Curiel show Miles happily swinging through Brooklyn on a beautifully sunny day; few clouds invade Curriel’s peaceful baby blue sky. When Miles finds Kenneth, a troubled boy who has been beaten up by bullies, he kindly helps his fellow Brooklynite. Miles instantly sympathizes with Kenneth and reminds him that there’s still some good in the world.

By offering Kenneth a sympathetic ear and complementing his fashion sense ( the bullies’ target,) Miles acts as a guiding light for the young boy. “That jacket is pure fire, by the way,” Miles says, putting a smile on Kenneth’s bruised, frowning face. Miles goes above and beyond in his interaction with Kenneth. While the duo walks through Brooklyn, Miles gushes over Kenneth’s fashion sense and calls him, “the Reed Richards of fashion.” Miles even gives Kenneth a web-slinging ride through the city and delivers a video message on Kenneth’s social media: “You have beef with Kenneth, and I have beef with you.” Carnero and Curiel show Brooklyn soaring by behind the duo as they swing through the streets, capturing the importance of the neighborhood to the Spider-Man character. It also bears mentioning that Kenneth complements Miles; both characters represent the diverse society we see in real life every day, which is a refreshing sight. Ahmed doesn’t come right out and say it, but he subtly shows us why Miles and the new neighborhood are a natural fit. Kenneth is bullied for his nonnormative appearance and Miles both comforts and praises him for it. While Peter Parker may have embodied the ideals of the society in the past, Miles might be the perfect character for the modern world.

It’d be easy to focus on Miles’ tense confrontation with C.R.A.D.L.E., a task force who seek to stop all unauthorized teenage vigilantes. Or we could dig into the issue’s cliffhanger, which makes the reader feel as if they’re having double vision. There will be plenty of time to analyze “Outlawed” as the event progresses. Instead, let’s credit Ahmed for elevating Miles to the level of a genuine neighborhood Spider-Man. Now, Miles feels much closer to the greatness of his predecessor.

What’d you think of Miles Morales: Spider-Man #17? When it comes to “Outlawed,” whose side are you on?

Check out your local comic shop to see if you can pick this issue, and any others on your list, up there.

 

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Colin Tessier
Passionate fan of Marvel/DC Comics. Freelance writer for Monkeys Fighting Robots, Bam Smack Pow, WrestleZone and other publications.