One of Marvel’s biggest staples has got to be What If…, which is currently getting a unique resurgence via Miles Morales. The first issue was an intriguing start using Captain America, and the rotating creative team gets to tangle with Wolverine this week. John Ridley and Farid Karami unveil a world where Miles Morales became Wolverine…and the fallout of that in the Marvel universe.
What If… Miles Morales #2 is a slick-looking book. Karami and color artist Chris Sotomayor bring a lot of cool action, awesome Wolverine poses, a slick new costume and a darker tone to the issue. This story is a tragic one as it reveals how Miles became Wolverine and how his life is in disarray in 2022. Karami also employs some cool fish-eye lens angles on Miles, who must fight more than once adversary in the issue. You’ll also appreciate the close-up shots of hands being grabbed mid-fight, or Wolverine’s blades crashing down on an enemy.
Sotomayor brings a ton of splashy goodness with shocking colors in backgrounds that would have otherwise been blank. Sotomayor is very good at lifting up the characters off backgrounds which helps create a larger-than-life look, and in some cases makes it easier to see the fighting.
The story and character work are just okay, however. Ridley makes all the characters in Miles’ life work from his dad to his uncle Aaron, but he never delves too deeply into how our characters got here. Much of the book is set during a fight sequence and a turning point for Miles with brief flashbacks to Miles at a younger age when he got his powers. Generally, it makes sense how Miles could become Wolverine, but that development is so short and glossed over it doesn’t have much of an impact. All told, it reads like Ridley threw these characters together quickly to make it work within the confines of Miles being Wolverine.
There is a political element to the narrative which adds a bit of value to the story. It revolves around the very real fact that police have historically not looked for missing Black kids for as long of time or with as many resources. This ties into Miles running away from home with his newfound abilities and the torture he endured to get his adamantium claws. It’s mentioned early on, but never really explored though so it ends up feeling like a quick throwaway detail.
Miles Morales as Wolverine is a tragic turn, which makes sense given how empowered he is by his family. It’s a lighter on story sort of comic, however, one that’s more about the action and reveals who the characters are in the universe than anything else.
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