When it was announced Miles Morales was getting his own Clone Saga, I think the comics community as a whole gasped. One of the most divisive and longest-running events of the ’90s was getting a Miles Morales spin? Then again, Saladin Ahmed has been building towards this with actual clones popping up already, so it’s not a one-note quick cash grab. Also, given what is in the trailer, the threat is of multiple clones of Miles who appear to be augmented. That increases the danger, and it’s going to look oh so good with Carmen Carnero drawing it. So why not go in optimistic and what will you find?
The answer is a pretty good book that takes its time, is paced well, and feels heavy in the best way. It opens with Miles Morales very stressed out about this clone threat, but he has the comfort of his family who fully backs him. Ganke is there too, and things seem to be going well for Miles resolving this clone thing. What makes this issue and the story arc as a whole work is a doubt Ahmed gives Miles Morales. You can see in the preview — Miles is unsure of his own actions and anger, which plays into others distrusting him since he wears the same suit as the clone. It also helps convince us Spider-Man would fight him even though they’re like brothers.
Given a clone can make heroes do crazy things, doubt themselves, and even question their own identity, that gives this issue an interesting atmosphere. Ahmed and Carnero stuff the book with action too, but there’s plenty of quiet time between the action to give everything weight and realism. That helps when clones show up doing some incredibly inhuman things.
This issue firmly establishes Miles has a clone problem that’s far worse than what Peter faced, but it’s also incredibly personal for Miles. Not only is he going through personal stuff with school and his love life, but questioning his abilities as a hero is also on the edge of emergence. That thoroughly gives this issue a lot of conflicts to work through.
Carnero, along with color artist David Curiel, do well to capture the weight on these characters’ shoulders. You get that from entire panels of Miles Morales’ dad, devoid of background, as he speaks on an issue. What he’s saying matters, and the layout design isn’t skipping through or moving too quickly past these moments to get to the action. When the action does happen, it looks great. Just look at Spider-Man’s foot above, as it streaks across the page kicking Miles on the chin. The choreography on the very next page, also in the preview, conveys the athleticism and moves of each character well.
Hey y'all, my first comic short is dropping next week in Miles Morales: Spider-Man #25! It's silly & wholesome & fun! With amazing art from @NatachaBustos and colors from @rachellecheri ! Pull up! pic.twitter.com/Prp9ONrT9R
— Zig Zaddy Kane (@yayforzig) April 19, 2021
As an extra-sized issue, we also get a backup by Cody Ziglar and Natacha Bustos that’s quite fun. Miles is late for a party and has to tussle with a new villain who has a silly twist but fits in with the usual Spider-Man villain territory. Rachelle Rosenberg gives the book a warm feel, set at sunset, that suits Bustos’ cartoony YA look. Props must go to Ziglar, who writes dialogue that’s filled with realism. There’s a bit of slang, a casualness, and youthfulness that suites Miles. He doesn’t speak like this in the main book, but it fits in with the vibe of the character very well. This story is self-contained enough to feel satisfying once it’s over even if it’s not connected to the main book. This backup also works as far as reminding us Miles Morales’ adventures are meant for a younger audience too.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #25 is an entertaining issue that will make you a believer in a new Clone Saga story arc. You may rightly still have reservations, but it’s clear Ahmed and Carnero have a good handle on pace and plotting, keeping the story relevant, grounded, and complex.
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