Absolute Carnage: Miles Morales #1 Review — A Brisk Read of Zero Substance

Written by Saladin Ahmed
Pencils by Federico Vicentini
Colours by Erick Arciniega
Letters by VC’s Cory Petit
Published by Marvel Comics

Cover price: $3.99 USD

The further into Absolute Carnage we get, the more I get the feeling that only comics inseparably tied to the symbiotes are going to be any good. While Absolute Carnage: Miles Morales #1 has the benefit of Miles having some part in the Absolute Carnage crossover and having been involved in Donny Cates’ Venom, it doesn’t take advantage of that. Instead, Miles Morales #1 is just a superhero punch-up comic, and not an interesting one at that.

Saladin Ahmed’s writing is light and fluffy, without much substance. The issue is mostly fighting and banter between Miles Morales and Scorpion, with their fight taking up much more of the issue than you’d expect given that it’s purely there to give Miles a reason for being with Scorpion during the Absolute Carnage event. The actual connection to Absolute Carnage comes about halfway through the comic when the events of Absolute Carnage #2 are strangely depicted, and this comic adds nothing that wasn’t apparent from that issue, and contains some contrivances just to move the thin plot along. Make no mistake, while a brisk read, Miles Morales #1 lacks story in a big way, and the generic dialogue cannot carry it.

This is some generic superhero dialogue right here.

The dialogue has some nice moments, like Miles’ use of Latin American insults, but otherwise it is just filler. Miles throws generic insults at Scorpion, who is just another violent villain — the closest he comes to feeling distinct is showing a modicum of disrespect for Miles Morales as Spider-Man. Despite the filler dialogue and lack of story, Miles Morales #1 is very lacking in context, not explaining Miles’ history with Venom aside from referring to “memories from another lifetime”. The issue also doesn’t actually explain why Carnage wants Scorpion’s spine or even what Carnage’s current status is, despite alluding to it. If this comic is meant for regular readers of Miles Morales: Spider-Man, then it does a poor job explaining Absolute Carnage, and if it is targeted at Absolute Carnage readers then it offers almost nothing new.

Ahmed’s action-heavy script would at least be entertaining to read if the art was up to par, but it is fairly inconsistent and lacks impact. Federico Vicentini has a very kinetic style that mostly works for the readability and panel-to-panel flow of the issue, but the few instances where it doesn’t are jarring. This may be due to Ahmed’s script, but the action is not fun to read and is difficult to follow at times, with some panels flowing nicely into each other and others not, sometimes on the same page, making the action disjointed and awkward. The lacklustre inking does not help in this regard, and images lack depth and fights lack impact. Despite a good-looking Carnage appearance, the art feels rushed at best and unrefined at worst.

That’s some fast and confusing webbing.

Sadly, Absolute Carnage: Miles Morales #1 feels like a cash-grab. It adds nothing to the crossover it is a part of despite having more opportunity than most to do so, will do nothing for regular readers of Miles Morales: Spider-Man and will just spell out the obvious for readers of Absolute Carnage. Hopefully it improves with future issues and Miles is used to better effect.

2/5 – Below average

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