I was forced to do a double take when I first read the title because my brain replaced ‘Brooklyn’ with ‘Compton’, which was all kinds of confusing as I panicked and thought that maybe I’d missed a whole thing where Miles upped sticks and moved to Los Angeles. But after reading the title again, I realised that it was just the result of me being an eighties kid with an intense and abiding love of the first NWA record that had made me see what I wanted to see instead of what was right in front of me. As it turns out though, I’m not alone when it comes to being an eighties kid, as the man now responsible for guiding Miles Morales to his destiny, Saladin Ahmed also comes straight out of that decade. Either tha,t or he has great taste in movies, both of which are borne out in one of the chapters that make up Straight Out of Brooklyn in which he riffs on, borrows from and references Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in order to strengthen and construct a number of the important relationships in Spider-Man life. It’s a nice touch and being something of an Ahmed fanboy, it’s nice to see him having fun with one of his characters and just telling a tale of an average day for Brooklyn’s resident friendly, neighbourhood Spider-Man.
As a writer, Ahmed has an incredible gift for political and social allegory and embeds them in his work and in Straight Out of Brooklyn he goes straight for the jugular. In the opening story, he uses a team-up between Miles, Rhino and Steve Rogers in which children are being abducted and turned into super-mercenaries to highlight the current Mexican / American border crisis and the inhumane way in which it’s being handled. While in the closing tale, in which Miles meets a new super “ally” and takes down Tombstone, the growing trade in illegal firearms and the continuing gang epidemic are pushed to the forefront in an action packed, character driven narrative. However, even though Ahmed chooses to make his position on these issues, and as ever he is on the side of the angels, abundantly clear, he never lets his social and moral conscience get in the way of telling a ripping yarn, which with the help of his artistic wunderkind partner in superheroism Javier Garron – who consistently delivers stunning panel after panel and gorgeous page after page, he does in triumphant fashion in Straight Out of Brooklyn.
I have to admit, when Bendis went to DC, I was kind of worried about what the future would look like for Miles, but as it turns out, I didn’t need to panic and certainly didn’t need to get my big boy pants all bunched up thinking about the possibilities of near endless nightmare scenarios. Straight Out of Brooklyn eased my worries, waylaid my fears and proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that Miles Morales is in good hands. Go Spidey… Tim Cundle