A well-deserved break for our favorite Spider-Man (we’re allowed favorites, right?), doesn’t have to be a bore for readers. If that was ever in doubt, the proof is in issue 22 of Miles Morales: Spider-Man, written by Saladin Ahmed and illustrated by Natacha Bustos and David Curiel. Some spoilers ahead, especially if you aren’t up-to-date on the series.
Miles has been through an awful lot lately. He’s been up to his neck in baddies, and the defeat of Green Goblin and Ultimatum isn’t really that much of a relief. The battle cost Prowler his life, and the Davis-Morales family is reeling from the loss. Or are they? The issues opens with Miles and his father commiserating over the loss of Uncle Aaron (and major dad points to good ‘ol Jefferson on this one), but his father quickly has news to reveal to Miles that will really change the family.
Miles needing time to relax with friends is also the exact type of super hero action readers want to see when his idea of relaxing is to call up Starling to go out on patrol. New York City has Miles’s back on this occasion and more-or-less tosses the two of them a freebie. It’s not long into their patrol before they stumble upon Frost Pharaoh, apparently out causing wonton destruction to draw out Miles and get some payback from their last encounter (bust out those back issues and re-read issue #4).
But who says that Miles needs to be the center of attention all the time? Ganke and his love life warrant a check-in. Ahmed, Bustos, and Curiel manage to make a brief scene pack a poignant punch, and it leaves readers dying to see more of this relationship as it blooms in coming issues.
Because putting down super-villains is second nature for Spider-Man and Starling, the two have time left after the fight to connect over their similar struggles, from managing their secret identities to dealing with family tragedies. Miles’ decides to make a sincere confession here, revealing his identity to Starling, and she has her own surprise for him. Ganke isn’t the only one with a potential romance heating up in this issue.
Another day down, another villain in the bag. Life seems to be returning to a predictable and relaxing pace for Miles. He makes his way back to Visions Academy and finds the place almost entirely deserted. Ganke is waiting for Miles in his room and explains that some kind of “alien attack” is coming, and everyone has evacuated. If Miles thinks he’s shocked there, he must really be blown away when a massive black-and-red dragon roars mightily just outside the dorm room window. Seriously!
Issue #22 delivers the break and soft-reset of pacing that Miles needs just as badly as we do. At the same time it continues to deliver character reveals, exciting action, and promises for even more excitement to come. With the book in such good hands, readers just need to wait with bated breath until issue #23 reveals how exactly Spider-Man goes about taking down a dragon.