“Gang Warfare” (Miles Morales: Spider-Man #5 Comic Review)
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #5 Comic Review
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Javier Garron
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Marco D’Alfonso
What You Need to Know
After staying one step ahead of Vice Principal Dutcher, Miles Morales feels like he finally has his life under control. A potential turf war is breaking out in Brooklyn however, and Miles will have to throw himself into the line of fire in order to find out who’s trying to aggressively expand in New York. Lucky for Miles, he may have some help in stopping this gang war.
What Just Happened
This issue begins with Ganke and Miles trying to brainstorm ways to create his webfluid after their school has placed restrictions on lab time for personal projects. Before they can figure out their next move, gunshots ring out, and Miles jumps into action as Spider-Man to investigate. Miles learns that a new gang is trying to move in on the territory of the Golden Lords. Spider-Man throws himself into the fight and easily dispatches both gangs before any innocents are hurt. Miles learn that the new gang represents a familiar foe that is trying to spread his reign from Harlem into Brooklyn.
After Miles stops the gang shootout, he returns to school, and at lunch he eats with his (maybe?) girlfriend, Barbara. Barbara asks Miles if he is hiding anything from her, and looking visually nervous, he denies having anything to hide. Barbara doesn’t believe him and walks away. Later in the day, Miles and Ganke work on creating more webfluid when their classmate, Sean interrupts. Sean alludes to chemicals going missing from the lab and indirectly accuses Ganke and Miles. There is immediate tension between Sean and Miles. After school, Miles gets a call from his father asking if Miles has been skipping school. Miles denies skipping school and states Vice Principal Dutcher is targeting him. Miles’ dad believes him and entrusts him with being responsible enough to maintain his attendance in school.
Later that night, Miles is on patrol as Spider-Man and hears an explosion nearby. Miles realizes that the gang from Harlem is attacking the Bloody Machete Crew at one of their buildings. Miles is able to defeat most of the gang but is attacked by the gang’s lieutenant in a high-powered suit. Even with the extra firepower, the gang is no match for Spider-Man. Miles is even able to track the gang’s headquarters using one of the member’s phones. Miles arrives to the headquarters and takes down multiple gang members. Before he can find their boss’ location, the gang members notice an incoming threat and flee. Miles looks up and meets what could be an ally or another threat in this gang war.
Saladin Ahmed is definitely having fun with this book. While Miles Morales isn’t facing any life threatening or world breaking events, Ahmed is able to characterize Miles’ life as fascinating. On the streets of Brooklyn, Miles is trying to stop a gang war from tearing up the borough. In the classroom, Miles is trying to balance his schoolwork, friends, and relationship. Miles is straining his relationship with Ganke by interfering with his classwork by having him use his time to build his webfluid. Miles is also straining his relationship with his maybe/maybe not girlfriend Barbara by not telling her everything about him even though she knows he is keeping something from her.
The theme of this book continues to be Miles balancing his education and social life at Brooklyn Visions Academy with his duties as Spider-Man. Ahmed continues his brand of humor in this issue as well. Miles interacts with a gang named the “Golden Lords” (shout-out to Meteor Man). Miles calling the Harlem gang, “Gentrified Gangbangers” made me chuckle.
I also appreciated the talk Miles had with his father. Ahmed portrays this conversation as a major step in Miles’ development from a child to a young man. Miles’ father trusts him to make his own decisions, and that is incredibly important for a young Black/Latino male.
There is a lot of conflict in this issue, but Miles is never seriously threatened. Ahmed is using this issue to continue show Miles balancing his many responsibilities. Part of me wishes Miles would face a stronger and more serious threat, but I also appreciate Miles being even more of a street level hero than Peter Parker. Ahmed has created another original character that makes their debut at the end of this issue. We will see if they are friend or foe. Also, from looking at the cover of this issue, Miles will be facing a big test soon.
Javier Garron’s art continues to impress and the more mature character models for Miles and Ganke really show how they have grown as characters. They are no longer new students trying to find their way around their fancy boarding school. Miles and Ganke are closer to adulthood now than they are children and Garron’s art reflects that fact. I hate Sean’s hair though, and I think Garron drew Sean in a way that would invite hatred, and to that I’ll say he succeeded.
Summary Miles Morales continues to balance his life as Spider-Man with his life as a high school student. Miles is trapped in the middle of an exploding gang war and is close to finding the source of the escalating aggression. There is also someone else tracking this gang war that may or may not make Miles’ life easier.