Decades from now, humanity has fallen. Giant germs and mutated humans roam what’s left of America. And only one place is tough enough to maintain. In The End: Miles Morales #1, you get your ass to Brooklyn or you die trying. Is it good?
Why is the future always post-apocalyptic? At least Miles Morales still knows how to have fun. While the world crumbles around it, he’s found a way to shut Brooklyn off from everything, and build it into a shining city of harmony and peace.
But, as always, the wolves are at the door. The Mad Maxness of the outside can’t stand to see something nice they can’t have, so it’s only a matter of time before they’ll have to be dealt with, permanently. Is it a coincidence the head villain wears the American flag?
I mean, it’s not like the other borough’s Spider-Man hasn’t tangled with Captain America before, despite calling him a “friend” in The End: Miles Morales #1. Both ideas should ring bells, since this isn’t the first time Marvel’s examined the potential final fate of some of its heroes with single issues or even mini-series (but let’s not talk about that Thanos one).
The first month of the new decade brings another slug of pseudo-finales, none of which appear to take place in the same future. Thanks to writer Saladin Ahmed, his regular scribe, Miles Morales lives in a world where he must protect the few people he can can from the raging terrors without. When Miles and crew venture outside to tangle with the antagonists, there are definitely some Dark Knight Returns vibes flowing.
But it’s inside Spider-Man’s electrified kallipolis where The End really grabs you. “El Alcalde,” as he’s called (“The Mayor”), Miles knows that being happy is important even in the darkest times, or what’s the point of living? That’s why he not only retrieves medicine whenever he can, but also toys for the children. He’s never had any of his own, so he holds anyone who’s close to being family, like Ganke Lee’s adult daughter, extra close.
Of course though, the “One America Army” and their leader, Captain Last, have to try to tear down their paradise. Yeah. The allegory is about as heavy-handed as you can get, especially when Miles tells the captain, “You think caring about people is soft. But you’re not hard, homie. You’re just ugly.” I mean, it’s hard to argue against, but come on, how about a little subtlety in fiction?
Damion Scott’s art is also anything but subtle, but not necessarily in a bad way. It’s cartoony and exaggerated, surely in part because of how successful Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was, though the styles themselves don’t really match. Funnily enough, the adults look more childlike here, with oversized heads and eyes. The spider-paunch on Old Man Miles is a nice touch, and the action looks great, giving a bit of an Humberto Ramos type of feeling. Dono Sánchez-Almara‘s colors add to the brightness, though the giant killer germs look a little too cute to be intimidating.
The End: Miles Morales #1 isn’t groundbreaking, and anything but subtle, but it’s entertaining and slightly heartwarming nonetheless. It might be nice if Miles could bring his happiness to the rest of the world, but I guess you do what you can. Not essential, and apparently not connected to any of the other The End one-shots, this one is cute and fun but ultimately pretty standard fare.