So many plot points are weaved together seamlessly in this issue. I honestly wish more super hero comics were structured in this way. You get the action and adventure mixed with drama and a whole lot of heart.
Ultimatum may have been defeated, but Miles and his family did not get through unscathed. Aaron Davis (aka Prowler) is missing and presumed dead. Miles is taking it hard and his father tries to cheer him up. The young hero ends up going out on patrol with Starling to get his mind off his grief. It turns out fighting the Frost Pharoah is just the thing he needs.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #22 is jam-packed with plot points, moving seamlessly from one to another. Writer Saladin Ahmed manages to go from the grief over Uncle Aaron’s apparent death to a crazy super hero battle to drama among friends to a tie-in to the Outlawed mini-event before wrapping it all up with integration with the King in Black event. That’s so much and yet each piece has some solid development, moving the plot along. I wish more super hero comics were structured like this.
One big update in this issue is a move by Miles’ dad to change his name from Jefferson Davis to Jefferson Morales. This is important as that name carries some weight in history as it was the first President of the Confederate States. This is a change that matters and I’m glad that it’s addressed here.
Artist Natacha Bustos jumps onto Miles Morales: Spider-Man with this issue. The art style is a little softer than what we’re used to on this title, however it’s fitting given the more casual tone here. Where Bustos really excels is the personal scenes with the characters when they’re not in costume. There’s a great moment between Starling and Miles that really shines and filled me with all kinds of feels.
To coincide with that look and feel, colorist David Curiel uses a bright, vibrant palette. This adventure takes place during the day time with the sun shining. It’s a nice contrast to the evening scenes of the previous arc, not to mention the metaphorical dark cloud hanging over Miles at the start of this issue.
This really comes together in the final showdown with the Frost Pharoah with the cool blues of this icy villain meeting the electric yellows of a super-charged venom blast. Letterer Cory Petit adds some context to this with some explosive sound effects, followed by a weary Miles.
The only piece that feels a little out of place in Miles Morales: Spider-Man #22 is the piece about Outlawed. Outside of Champions and maybe Power Pack, this pint-size Civil War event feels like an afterthought. A few issues ago, Miles could barely walk down the street before being attacked by agents of C.R.A.D.L.E. Now he’s fighting a giant ice Pharoah in the middle of town and no one bats an eye. Granted, the agency recently got in trouble with a local politician so that could explain some of it.
While I’m not sure how this book will tie into King in Black (or if it’s really necessary), I am looking forward to how it will weave together. From the looks of things, this will be a title that will bring that big event into the ongoing story. This issue is more like the calm before the storm. It’s one last day of normalcy before things go crazy.