Writer: Cody Ziglar
Art: Paco Medina, Victor Olazaba, Sean Parsons, Walden Wong, Chris Sotomayer, Cory Petit, Sara Pichelli, and Alejandro Sánchez
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: March 2nd, 2022
What if…MILES MORALES was never bitten by a genetically altered spider and became SPIDER-MAN? What if… our country enlisted, equipped, and bestowed him with extraordinary abilities with a newly created Super-Soldier Serum? Let’s dive into WHAT IF… MILES MORALES #1 by Cody Ziglar and Paco Medina to see what makes MILES a superhero no matter the situation or reality.
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As a huge fan of WHAT IF… stories, as well as Elseworld narratives, I couldn’t help becoming drawn to this series. How would they spin it so that MILES MORALES became CAPTAIN AMERICA? Well readers, Cody Ziglar easily makes that perfectly clear in the opening pages. Yet, I had an extremely difficult time following its believability, which ultimately hindered my enjoyment of the issue. Now, I understand that pacing needed to be a concern in order to cram these WHAT IF… stories quickly into multiple issues. However, WHAT IF… MILES MORALES #1 just didn’t seem logical and frankly felt incredibly coerced simply to push the story forward quickly without rhyme or reason.
Yet, the weirdest aspect of the issue was the dialogue making WHAT IF… MILES MORALES #1 hard to read. Words and phrases were choppy like “messin’ or ‘cause” simply to give the characters an almost typecasted unnecessary voice. It made MILES, as well as many other characters in the issue, feel forced and out of place. It’s almost as if Ziglar was trying to tell us something about the characters that he didn’t need to. Plus, some of the slang seemed dated like the word “buggin’”. Or, check out the moment when MILES’ mother calls him a “handsome young thing”. What mother would do that? That’s just weird. Moreover, Fury even gets into the bizarre dialogue later as he uses the tagline “We’ve got a day to save” to rally the troops. None of the conversations fit a CAPTAIN AMERICA story nor did any of them really fit a MILES MORALES story either.
And as if the conversations weren’t enough to make the writing seem unusual, there were too many CAPTAIN AMERICA parallels with MILES MORALES spins which only helped to make WHAT IF… MILES MORALES seem even more jammed down the reader’s throats. Characters like the Grey Skull and the Tinkerer just didn’t help the flow of the issue and actually made the Comic feel a bit ridiculous. Truly, I didn’t mind putting MILES MORALES characters into the issue and making them a part of this story in a unique way. However, when they started to become spins of CAP villains, that’s when it started to become a bit too hokey. Additionally, there is a reveal of a well-known character in this issue that was totally expected, especially by anyone who’s ever read a MILES MORALES comic. Alas, the reveal was also forced so badly that the character took their mask off for no reason during a fight just to awkwardly reveal who they were in a context that didn’t fit the story at all.
Paco Medina was a huge saving grace of the issue. His linework is crisp and helps provide a very clean look that some would argue represents a 90s Manga-style well. Overall, he’s a great storyteller who does a masterful job laying out the flow of an issue making it extremely easy to follow. Plus, his version of MILES as CAPTAIN AMERICA is rock solid. Medina found a great compromise in his rendering of both characters. He didn’t make MILES to grown-up nor did he make him look too young as if he was a teenager. Once MILES became a super-soldier, Medina did a fantastic job blending together both characters without jeopardizing either in the process.
If I was to use two words to describe WHAT IF… MILES MORALES #1, it would be forced and awkward. Bizarre dialogue and even more strange parallels to MILES MORALES characters brought this issue down. Every MILES character didn’t need to fit the realm of someone in CAP’S backstory. Ziglar could have made a separation between the two or just has MILES fight the RED SKULL or BARON ZEMO which would have felt more real at this juncture. Instead, Ziglar pigeonholed the narrative and made WHAT IF… MILES MORALES seem almost trivial and severely turned me off from reading the remaining issues. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!