Audience: Grades 8+
Review by: Kayla Hlad (she/her)
MLIS Student, Kent State University iSchool
Miles Morales is the new spider man in New York. He lives in Brooklyn, not Queens, and his suit is darker. He’s half Puerto Rican and half black. But like the original Spiderman, he is a quirky, humble teen with a great heart and a love for his family, friends, and girlfriend. In this volume, Miles struggles to balance his school and social life with his nighttime gig watching over the city. His Vice Principal is increasingly and frustratingly suspicious of him, making his school life even harder. But Miles has more pressing concerns when he discovers that immigrant children are going missing. With help from some old and new friends, he saves the day, but there’s a lot Miles has left to think about.
Miles Morals: Straight Out of Brooklyn is perfect for teens that enjoy graphic novels, witty humor, and social commentary. The illustrations are stunningly detailed with realistic imagery and colors that pop off the glossy pages. The illustrator is superbly skilled at capturing movement and expression and flawlessly depicts Spiderman’s grace and personality. The cover itself is a great example of the illustrator’s ability to speak with pictures; Spiderman’s body language is strong and inspiring, and the dark color palette reflects the often serious tone of this volume. Saladin Ahmed’s dialogue is also expertly crafted. Miles Morales’ jokes, intermittent, unapologetic use of Spanish, and even his use of bleeped-out swear words make him feel effortlessly authentic and realistic. This authenticity helps the writer to explore serious themes of oppression, inequality, racism, and cultural conflicts through Miles’ eyes without feeling too forced by the author. Saladin contributed an engaging, witty, and insightful work to this increasingly popular series among teens.