As the character approaches his 10th anniversary of crime-fighting, Saladin Ahmed’s Miles Morales: Spider-Man #25 reaches a new milestone in this week’s issue, and they’re kicking it off with a BIG gambit: the return of the Clone Saga.
The so-called “Clone Saga” remains one of the most infamous Spider-Man stories of all time, and that’s saying a lot. What essentially began as an excuse to phase Peter Parker out of the Marvel Universe and replace him with a new character—the aforementioned clone—eventually devolved into a years-long creative/commercial struggle unheard of by today’s standards. But despite its murky reputation, Marvel hasn’t actually distanced itself from the Clone Saga in the decades since, most recently riffing on it with 2016’s Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy, a sort-of sequel featuring many of the same themes and characters. It’s perhaps no surprise that now it’s Miles Morales’s turn to face off against clones of his own.
Going into this arc, you have to wonder how much of it will relate to the original Clone Saga, especially given that Marvel loves to recycle old titles for new stories regardless of their similarity (see: 2015’s Secret Wars and next month’s Heroes Reborn). There’s also the question of whether or not it’s a good thing to send Miles through rehashes of Peter’s old storylines; is it lazy plotting or utilizing the legacy character to put a new perspective on past events? It’s too early to say based on this first issue.
One thing Miles Morales: Spider-Man #25 has going for it is that this story was already set up in previous issues, so Ahmed is able to pedal forward without too much preamble. When the clone Miles thought to have died on the vine appears to be causing chaos in Brooklyn with his image, Miles OG sets off to investigate the crimes. After a brief misunderstanding (and tussle) with Peter, the Spider-Men get back on track and team up, only to find they’re not the only Spider-People in town with an agenda.
Not much “happens” in this particular issue, but there’s enough going on that should make for interesting plot developments moving forward. Peter’s history with clones should prove relevant, which Miles himself is not actually privy to yet as an immigrant from one universe to another. There’s also some strife between Miles and his best friend Ganke, who is now dating the former’s old flame Barbara. And then there are Miles’s parents, who are both in the know about their son’s super-identity and worried for his safety when there’s an imposter running around. While the idea of giving Miles his own Clone Saga sounds like a bad idea on paper, Ahmed at least deserves the benefit of waiting to see what happens before making a judgement.
Carmen Carnero’s art here does a lot of the heavy lifting in selling Ahmed’s script. Most of the issue is spent with Miles behind the cowl, but she nails selling emotion in the sections where his face isn’t obscured. Her style is very compatible with Miles co-creator Sara Pichelli, too, making for strong visual continuity after a decade of the character’s first appearance. She also comes up with some interesting, distinct designs for the Miles clones seen here, so at the very least, this new Clone Saga will look good.
In addition to the main story is a charming little backup by Cody Ziglar and Natacha Bustos, which serves as a fairly stark contrast to the Clone Saga lead. While the main story is sober and serious, “Big-Time Buzzkill” is bright and colorful, with lots of humor. It’s not essential at all in regards to the headliner, but still worth checking out. Bustos, in particular, is a favorite of mine thanks to her fantastic run on Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur, so I’m not complaining about getting to see more from her.
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #25
- Writers: Saladin Ahmed, Cody Ziglar (backup story)
- Artists: Carmen Carnero, Natacha Bustos (backup story)
- Color Artists: David Curiel, Rachelle Rosenberg (backup story)
- Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
- Cover Artist: Taurin Clarke
- Editor: Nick Lowe
- Publisher: Marvel Entertainment