Miles Morales recently teamed up with Captain America and the Rhino to take down a gang that was kidnapping and mind-controlling kids. Now he faces what could be his greatest adversary yet: Vice Principal Lyle Dutcher. The guy is convinced Miles is up to something and he’s making it his personal mission to catch him in the act. This would probably be a bad day for Miles to skip school.
After dealing with a pretty deep and serious arc putting children in danger, it’s refreshing to see Miles Morales: Spider-Man #4 take a break to have some fun. Most of this issue has Miles out of his costume, trying to have a good time with some friends, including his would-be girlfriend, Barbara. That isn’t to say that he doesn’t pick up the webs when needed. He might not be a Parker, but he’s got some of that luck.
This issue is a pretty comical one, with some definite nods to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It’s a bit silly at times, but that fits with the overall tone of the story. This is a reminder that Miles is still a kid and his life isn’t only about power and responsibility. That being said, even when he’s out having fun, that lesson still plays a major part in what makes him who he is.
There are some great moments between Miles and Barbara as writer Saladin Ahmed plays the “Will they? Won’t they?” game. They come so close to kissing a few times throughout this issue, with Spider-Man duties always butting in and pulling him away. It’s funny to see how Barbara reacts to Miles’ lame excuses. It’s only a matter of time before she figures this out.
Dutcher is played up to look pretty ridiculous. Artist Javier Garron manages to combine all of the most annoying qualities in a human being, from ill-fitting clothes to spitting while speaking and everything in between. He has a permanent scowl on his face.
A real stand out in Miles Morales: Spider-Man #4 is a map shot showing Dutcher and Miles heading back to campus. Garron used small cartoony versions of the characters, positioned over a map of Brooklyn, like a modern day version of a Family Circus comic strip. Smaller panels are spread throughout the image with additional details, like a quick lunch on the go and an argument in a cab. This page perfectly encapsulates the fun of this issue and the character.
The Spider books have a sense of life to them that’s unrivaled. Miles Morales: Spider-Man is no different. Even though Miles gets put into life and death situations, there’s a carefree attitude to it. He’s having fun when he’s swinging through the air or punching out someone like the Frost Pharaoh. Colorist David Curiel brings this to life with vibrant colors on every page.
Letterer Cory Petit amplifies the humor in the comic too with some choice word balloons. These range from small fonts to emphasize whispering to wiggly balloons that show just how sick Miles’ roommate Ganke is. These are subtle moves that helps the book reach a new level.
For all the work Miles puts in, both in and out of costume, he deserves a break. He’s a good kid through and through, so he’s earned a little time off. Of course, he couldn’t totally relax as Spider-Man is always on call. This issue reinforces what a great character he is, not only as a solid hero, but a great role model. This is someone kids can look up to, even if he does skip school once in a while.