Bendis’ run may be over, but Miles’ story is far from finished. From writer Bryan Edward Hill and artists Nelson Blake II, Alitha E. Martinez, Mark Bagley, and Carlos Lopez comes a spectacular stand-alone issue, Spider-Man Annual #1, plus a bonus comic by Emily Ryan Lerner and Alberto Alburquerque!
Spider-Man Annual #1: A New Origin
The main plot of Spider-Man Annual explores Miles’ origin story on Earth-616. In the middle of a fight with Michael Morbius, he reminisces about a time before he became a web-slinging superhero. In a flashback, Miles’ Uncle Aaron, also known as the Prowler, gives him a birthday gift from a questionable source and some pessimistic advice. It is the same advice that Miles remembers in the present day.
Meanwhile, at school, Miles and Ganke get invited to the exclusive pre-opening of a new pop-up store. Unfortunately, the event coincides with the beginning of Secret Invasion and two Skrulls attack the store. To save his friends, Miles dons a hoodie and some goggles and fends off the Skrulls.
For a moment he is triumphant, but his victory is dampened when he finds out that one of his friends was killed. He decides to return his uncle’s birthday present since he knows it was probably obtained through criminal means. Back in present day, he defeats Morbius and reflects on what it means to be a hero.
This is the first solo Miles Morales issue not written by Brian Michael Bendis. While Miles’ solo series may be on hold, I would love to see this creative team continue his story. Hill’s writing perfectly captures Miles’ gripes about being a hero as well as his maturity in choosing to take on such a great responsibility.
He highlights Miles’ wisdom through the way he reinterprets his uncle’s advice, taking a negative worldview and turning it into positive motivation. In his eyes, this is what distinguishes a hero from a villain. Everyone faces hardships, but heroes are the ones who refuse to give up on the world. In addition, Lerner provides some classic quips in her bonus comic, Spider-Man: Right of Way.
Her light-hearted side story contrasts and compliments Hill’s main story. While their narratives may be quite different, both writers do a great job of capturing Miles’ beliefs and personality.
Krash! Wham! Thwip!
All of the artists create awesome action sequences in both past and present fight scenes. Miles’ makeshift suit provides a nice touch as a nod to Peter Parker’s homemade suit in Spider-Man: Homecoming. As great as the action scenes are by themselves, the close-up panels of Miles’ eyes behind the goggles take these fights to the next level.
Unlike most fight scenes with Spider-Man, we actually get to see behind his mask, giving the story a much more personal feel. We get to watch and relate to Miles as he struggles with his fears and doubts about being a hero. What’s more, the emotional scenes really bring each of these characters to life. You can see the stakes of the story even without the writing, demonstrating just how effective the art is.
From Amazing To Ultimate
Miles Morales might have started out as a just another web-slinger in an alternate universe, but he has become so much more. Like his predecessor, Miles juggles school, family, and crime fighting with a strong sense of humor. He suffers losses but instead of being a typical, angsty teenager, he picks himself up and tries even harder. He knows his limits but he doesn’t let anything stop him from doing the right thing. All of this is what makes Miles a hero.
It’s easy to see why Miles is so popular. While he may not have a live-action film yet, he is starring in the upcoming animated feature, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. As much as I am looking forward to this movie, I would really like to see the return of Miles’ solo comic. With a creative team like the one behind Spider-Man Annual, Miles Morales is definitely in good hands.