Review: Taskmaster Comes A Calling In ‘Miles Morales: Spider-Man’ #32
by Scott Redmond
Date night goes awry for Spider-Man and Starling once Taskmaster crashes the party, in an issue that feels the most Spider-Man-like in some very good ways. There are a few noticeable flaws within parts of the story, but it’s overall pretty fun and a nice respite from some of the bigger stuff that has been going on.
Corporate synergy is nothing new when it comes to the realm of comic books these days, especially since superhero films/shows became a billion-dollar adaptation goldmine. That’s not to say that creatives aren’t being creative when they attempt to use a character or concept also slated for the big screen. It just means that certain things tend to line up just a bit at either exactly the right time or at least close.
This summer’s Black Widow film saw the Marvel Cinematic Universe debut of the antagonist Taskmaster, and the comic book version has been enjoying a larger amount of usage over the last almost two years (since Black Widow was delayed from 2020 with the pandemic). Right now, his current place to appear is within the pages of Miles Morales: Spider-Man.
One area of criticism when it comes to Spider-Man in comics, whether it’s Peter or Miles or other variations, is how often the larger event style storylines or story arc plot of the year doesn’t leave a lot of room for them to interact with their world as much. This is a criticism that personally I have engaged in myself, as a massive life-long Spider-Man film. Over the decades the character has been one that is heavily defined by his supporting cast, rogues, and the stuff that happens to him beyond just the superheroics.
Some of the greatest stories aren’t about beating down *insert villain of the week here* but about how Peter (or Miles now too) overcomes those things and how they try to also live their lives alongside that great power and responsibility. While this isn’t going to be one of those remembered forever greatest Spider-Man stories, it’s a nice return to a story that actually feels like it’s exploring Miles and his world far more.
Saladin Ahmed writes a good Miles Morales, no question about it. Which is why it’s a shame that we don’t often actually get to have more Miles stuff happening. The Spider-Man parts of the story are always fine to good but sometimes can leave one with the feeling of just wanting a tiny bit more. In the review for the last issue this was something I mentioned, about how there were some nice date moments and a fight and then a feeling of like, “That’s it?” to cap it all off.
What we get here is nice overall. There is more exploration of Tiana Toomes/Starling including some flashbacks to her past, while it’s firmly made clear she’s no damsel. She’s firm and strong about why she took the gift given to her by her grandfather, who has done her right, the villain, and done good with that gift. In a way, it makes her a good match for someone like Miles, who had this power thrust upon him and decided to use it for good (like most heroes sure, but still).
While it would have been nice to spend like a full issue with them on their date, perhaps learning this stuff about her as the two of them shared their stories, watching them support each other and fight side by side was also pretty cool. On one hand, the ending of the issue felt really abrupt, but on the other hand, it felt very appropriate for Taskmaster as a character and how he engages in the world.
Christopher Allen and Guru-eFX continue to do a solid job bringing things to life. There is a good energy to the art, especially the more active scenes, which is helped by some creative paneling choices. Guru-eFX’s coloring does a great job of putting bright colors and darker muted stylings together.
There are some iffy spots that show up with the faces in this issue compared to the last issue, and especially in comparison to the usual creative team, the book has had off and on in the recent past. It’s not a huge thing, but it’s definitely noticeable on some of the pages.
Cory Petit does what he does best as usual, with the lettering. Not only are there all the great colorful immersive variety of SFX, but the journal-like captions still are a great choice in this book. It’s a fantastic way to share the character’s thoughts, in a more tactile sort of way.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #32 is now on sale in print and digitally from Marvel Comics.