Miles Morales: Spider-Man #18 Review

by Charles Martin on September 02, 2020

Miles Morales: Spider-Man #18 Review
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Penciller: Carmen Carnero
Colourist: David Curiel
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Miles Morales: Spider-Man #18 is, above all else, a "second act" comic. This makes it tough to judge in a vacuum because its ultimate quality depends on how the story plays out in future issues. 

The good news is, the creators aren't dropping any balls along the way. If they don't quite achieve greatness in this installment, they leave the door wide open for future greatness -- thanks particularly to a powerful twist they throw into the final scene.

It's far too good to spoil; I feel bad about revealing its existence in even the vaguest terms. And that does further hamper my reviewing job today.

For Miles, this issue is all about fighting the ominous doppelganger that attacked him at the end of #17. It's extremely satisfying combat, thanks to tightly-scripted battle banter and some great dynamic action art from Carmen Carnero. The doppelganger is unrelentingly silent, but Saladin Ahmed lets Miles fill the air with his distinctive quipping.

This issue also takes a few pages to challenge Miles's family. They're menaced by some authoritarian goons who might or might not be a part of the annoying C.R.A.D.L.E. initiative.

And over at Brooklyn Visions, the student body faces its own C.R.A.D.L.E. concerns, rebelling against a demand to sign a superhero snitching pledge. The Visions scenes are a neat and effective way to add some heft to the "Outlawed" event and deliver a much-needed non-superhero perspective.

I also admire the way Saladin Ahmed has cast the student protest plot. Ganke and Judge are prominent in those scenes, but they're not leaders. Instead, the rebellion crystallizes around Barbara when she rejects the "sign or leave" options C.R.A.D.L.E. gives her. It's a much-needed bit of spotlight for the girl, and it feels perfectly appropriate to leave the boys in their usual secondary roles.

Here I was going to say that the student protest scenes are particularly relevant given the contemporary political scene in America. But I came to the depressing realization that standing up against authoritarianism has been an urgent problem in the US for nearly 20 years -- and it's a fight that the good guys are losing right now. What a world we live in.

Well, that's tangential to the comic at hand. (Although it is a point worth considering and one the creators would certainly like the reader to think about.) The odds of a reader getting derailed by political thoughts during the reading experience are, I think, pretty low. This issue has a brisk, unrelenting pace that compels you to turn the pages quickly.

As noted above, Carmen Carnero's visuals are great in the fight scenes. But where her work truly shines is in facial close-ups; she has a powerful talent for crafting believable, expressive faces.

David Curiel bolsters the art with a strong, simple colour palette. He devotes some extra attention to bringing out highlights, a move that suits this issue's nighttime settings.

On its own, Miles Morales: Spider-Man #18 stands shy of the border of "great." But it evolves the current story arc in an entirely positive way and makes future greatness possible -- perhaps likely. A fast pace, solid art, and smart words ensure that readers who have committed to the arc or the title won't be disappointed with this latest installment.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
The way the plot twists back around to past developments is almost frustratingly good. I wanna spoil it so bad but I mustn't.