ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘What If…Miles Morales”, Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

What If Miles Morales #1 - But Why Tho

What If Miles Morales #1 is written by Cody Ziglar, penciled by Paco Medina, inked by Walden Wong with Victor Olazaba and Sean Parsons, colored by Chris Sotomayor, and lettered by VC’s Cory Petit. It’s published by Marvel Comics. In another time and place, Miles Morales ingested the Super Soldier serum that transformed Steve Rogers into Captain America, and took up Rogers’ mantle. With the help of his partner Tiana Toomes, better known as the Falcon, Miles battles Lonnie Lincoln, aka the Grey Skull, who seeks to utilize an interdimensional gateway to boost his gunrunning business.

The fun of the What If… concept, both the original comics and the animated anthology series, is seeing stories zig where they can zag. Sometimes it’s a simple decision: what if Gwen Stacy hadn’t been murdered at the hands of the Green Goblin or Captain America hadn’t been frozen? Other times, a character takes up a different identity, like Peter Parker taking up the mantle of the Punisher or Thor being adopted by the frost giants of Jotunheim. This one-shot takes the latter approach, and it isn’t limited to Miles picking up Cap’s shield. Miles’ best friend Ganke Lee takes up the mantle of the Tinkerer. Even Sam Wilson, who fans know as the Falcon or Captain America depending on the situation, is the director of S.H.I.E.L.D.—even if I think giving him an eye patch is pushing it.

This new world comes courtesy of Ziglar, who previously wrote Miles in his 10th-anniversary issue and this year’s Marvel’s Voices: Legacy one-shot. Ziglar thankfully understands that the concept of What If…? isn’t just slapping another costume on Miles. It’s exploring how some elements of his character change while others stay the same. Even though Miles is more disciplined and focused as Captain America, he still gets embarrassed when his mother Rio asks him if he has a girlfriend (and she’s right, as Tiana and Miles are dating in this universe). And in the same way that Steve Rogers was haunted by the apparent death of his partner Bucky Barnes, Miles is haunted by a mission that ended in the death of his uncle Aaron.

Joining Ziglar on art duties is Medina, who’s previously illustrated Amazing Spider-Man. Since Miles has a different power set as Captain America, Medina draws him as more of a hands-on brawler, excluding the parts where he hurls his shield at his opponents, which include a more villainous take on the Black Widows. He also gives Miles a Captain America suit that feels more in line with Bucky’s Cap suit, while Tiana wears a Falcon suit that’s a more feminine take on Sam’s Cap uniform. The army of inkers, alongside Sotomayor, give the issue a more muted tone. Miles’ near-black Cap costume even allows him to blend into the shadows. And Petit’s sound effects add a special flair to the shield-slinging; readers will feel every “whizz” and “thwack” when the shield crashes into someone’s face.

What If Miles Morales #1 launches a new multiverse-spanning saga that reimagines the once and future Spider-Man as different heroes in Marvel’s pantheon. Next issue will see Miles take up the mantle of Wolverine, and I look forward to how that story turns out, especially since John Ridley will be handling the script-writing duties.

What If… Miles Morales #1 will be available wherever comics are sold on March 2, 2022.


What If... Miles Morales #1
4

TL;DR

What If Miles Morales #1 launches a new multiverse-spanning saga that reimagines the once and future Spider-Man as different heroes in Marvel’s pantheon. Next issue will see Miles take up the mantle of Wolverine, and I look forward to how that story turns out, especially since John Ridley will be handling the script-writing duties.