Miles Morales: Spider-Man #12
GANG WAR: FIRST STRIKE! Spider-Man is on the hunt to find a terrifying new foe before they sink their fangs into Miles’ best friends. Only the vampire hunter Blade and his daughter, Bloodline, may know the secret of the villain’s past—but are the vampire hunters keeping secrets of their own? And what is Hobgoblin secretly scheming while Spidey is completely overwhelmed? Last issue before GANG WAR!
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #12 wraps up a neat five months of dullish filler stories just in time for the title to be overcome by “Gang War,” yet another crossover event. As a lead-in to that, the book doesn’t do much, so if you’re looking to pick this up because of the event’s label having been slapped on the front, don’t. You’re better off reading issues #8 & #9 beforehand, as those issues tie Miles directly into Hobgoblin’s role during the event. Now, if you’re here in hopes that the finale to “Bad Blood,” the book’s Halloween crossover with Marvel’s vampire hunter Blade, would hold some sort of weight for Miles then you’ll wind up feeling just as disappointed as I.
The issue picks up where the last left off, Miles trying to keep his head above water as he tries to cure Hightail after she had been overcome by vampiric control. After a draining battle that left things just as they had been found back in issue #10, Miles returns home after earning Blade’s respect and saving Brooklyn from a bad case of the blood munchies.
While Ziglar and the team have done their best to make this story fun, it overall lacked the emotional impact that overcoming anxiety should have, as the uniting theme over these last five issues has been all about reclaiming one’s stability when it feels like everything has been out of your reach. It wanted to be a fun Halloween crossover with Blade while also resolving Miles’ internal struggles since the intense trauma he underwent in “Carnage Reigns,” but the story arc just failed to strike a balance. With so much forced into it from the Doc Samson therapy session, the developing Hightail relationship, Hobgoblin’s secret schemes, cramming a three-issue team-up arc divorced from anything in Miles’ personal life was not the kind of filler the book needed before it was taken over by yet another event.
Even in its own right, the story fails to impress. The writing, while solid, barely leaves an impact on the reader as the story makes it painfully clear that it doesn’t have a thematic core of its own worth reading. While Ziglar has a great voice for Miles, his version of Blade and Brielle don’t carry the same stature or characteristics seen in other works. The villain is weak, acting as a physical threat to Brooklyn but has zero impact on Miles or his borough. Him being an energy vampire and being drawn to Miles, even in his home due to the Venom Blast energy coursing throughout his body. That threat never comes close to hitting home, however, because the plot has to rush through itself in order to wrap up before “Gang War.”
This overall chunk of issues would’ve been serviced if each individual plot thread was broken down into its own individual issues. One for the double date in issue #8, one for Hobgoblin, one for Doc Samson, and one for Blade. Truncating the Hobgoblin and Blade stories, which overtook issues 8-12, and allowing breathing room for Miles as a character and his relationship to anxiety would’ve helped give the last five months a sense of progression and importance.
Ziglar is a strong storyteller, and with Vincentini returning to the book for Gang War, gives me hope that these last few issues, and especially 12’s lack of impact, were a fluke. There are great things here that are wrecked by pacing, messy plotting, and poor art that stand to become a thing of the past as the book finally ramps up through Gang War and into issue #300 of Miles Morales: Spider-Man.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #12 is a fine close to an out of place, if servicable fun story that reads as a filling stop gap to get the book's publishing schedule in line for this month's upcoming Gang War event. Hopefully the book finds itself in a place of substance after this, as the book's recent five month lull has taken a signifgant amount of energy out of the title.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #12 – Bad Blood
- Writing - 6/106/10
- Storyline - 5/105/10
- Art - 4.5/104.5/10
- Color - 7.5/107.5/10
- Cover Art - 7.5/107.5/10
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