Nothing like having a perfectly good sidekick day spoiled because it just happens to also be the day of Villain Con. Don’t you just hate it when those sorts of things happen? The two Spider-Men sure are feeling that as their best-laid plans for a day of hanging out keep going sideways.
So many people at times treat the term all-ages as some sort of slight against comic books or something to avoid when really, they are just fun when done well. They assume all-ages means just for kids, rather than it means literally what it says, all-ages. Everything about the Double Trouble series of minis is done well and fun wrapped up in colorful amazingness. Like a super awesome burrito with all the best fixings that is so warm and feels like you’re being wrapped up in the tortilla itself…I might be hungry as I write this review.
Anyway, I’m trying to say that all-age comics are awesome. What Mariko Tamaki, Vita Ayala, Gurihiru, and Cory Petit are doing in this particular series is just great stuff. Hell, not just great comics, great Spider-Man stuff. This is the needed Spider-Man energy that helps kick off 2023 in the best way.
As I’ve noted before the voices of both Peter and Miles are spot on here, as Tamaki and Ayala capture both characters’ essence as they bounce off one another and the world around them so smoothly. Both are talkers and quippers but their style in doing so is different, and you can feel and hear it as they drop rapid-fire lines. There are also heartfelt things in here alongside the jokes and gags. When Miles distracts Peter’s kidnapper, a convention-going Mysterio fan, with a lemonade stand and shrugs and says he just had it stashed on him somewhere I busted up laughing. How can you not?
The same goes for the poke at convention season being all year long, ain’t that the truth? Everything with Miles and Peter is just solid and this world is so fun and welcoming. It finds the perfect way to introduce major Marvel characters in a role that just makes sense for this world. Thanos as the keynote speaker of a villain convention just makes perfect sense, as does a limo with a wide roof in the back to fit the massive alien while his driver is an A.I.M. worker in their beekeeper-like outfit. Perfect, no notes, give me more of this delightful world.
Gurihiru’s style makes things light and endearing but also solid because there is tons of depth and weight on the page. It feels like a world with so much space to it, and even when the characters might get a bit cartoony the world itself still has that same solid spacious feeling. For example, the two-page spread of Miles bouncing all over fighting rogues across a few square blocks. All the buildings we see from the top-down perspective are ‘real’ and have weight and feeling to them as the more energetic animated Miles and rogues are all over the place not really in scale or sense to the page in some cases, but it doesn’t matter. We get the desired effect of that ‘right outside your window’ Marvel aspect mixed with the more energetic kinetic fun style that makes this series work.
In other spaces, though that aspect is scaled down where even the characters have that deep weight to them, feeling solid and as real as the world around them. It’s a style that allows for quick changes depending on the mood or need on the page, which allows for pitch-perfect pulling off the numerous visual gags that come with this story. From the lemonade stand to that aforementioned limo with Thanos, those are jokes sold on the first visual which Gurihiru easily accomplishes. Every time I glance past them in the issue, as I flip through the issues again to write these reviews, I’m chuckling again. That’s how you know something is pretty darn funny.
While Gurihiru nails those visual jokes, Petit helps land the dialogue/audio portions of those jokes and every other bit of lettering that is needed. Petit hits all the right tones and energy across a variety of types of books, always able to make the lettering work for what that world or story needs. What might seem like a minor change of size to the font is in fact a huge thing because it creates a visual cue for what any given dialogue should sound like volume/tone-wise. If I spot big giant bold letters well then, I know that someone is yelling at that moment, but if I spot a slightly smaller bit of font, such as the AIM agent outside the limo later, it tells my brain that they are whispering/muttering at that moment.
The same goes for all the colorful additions and the wild variety of bubble shapes and sizes that can be found, as it all enhances the dialogue in delicious ways. Just as the other artwork does, these bits of work make sure that this world feels real, deep, and varied in every aspect.
Any review there is surely some space where I gush about my love of SFX and a book like this hits the spot for my SFX-loving heart. I mean how can you not love when Miles is sneaking and the SFX for that scene is literally two little “Sneak” bits right above his legs? Things like that instantly cause your mind to hear a sound, and at that moment, it made me think of every cartoon ever where a character is trying to sneak and the types of sounds added to that moment. Read it again and try not to think of like a Looney Tunes-like sneak sound, bet you can’t.
Peter Parker & Miles Morales: Spider-Men: Double Trouble #3 is now available from Marvel Comics.
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