Miles Morales is going down a dark road later this month, as hero is entering Absolute Carnage.
Why would a hero who's never been host to a symbiote be pulled into Carnage's hunt for symbiote hosts? Well... spoilers, but Miles will be back-seat driving in his own symbiote-possessed body by the time the Absolute Carnage: Miles Morales three-issue series is through.
Scheduled to launch August 28, Absolute Carnage: Miles Morales is described by Miles Morales: Spider-Man writer Saladin Ahmed as a "much more visceral, action-driven, horror-tinged" avenue than the main monthly book. Ahmed is working with artist Federico Vincentini, but Miles Morales will be dealing with Carnage, the Scorpion, J. Jonah Jameson, Silver Sable, and more.
Newsarama spoke with Ahmed about the upcoming Absolute Carnage tie-in, the big difference between this and the main Miles Morales ongoing, and how he's working with Donny Cates and Marvel to make this more than just your average tie-in.
Newsarama: Saladin, Miles Morales: Spider-Man is running monthly, but you're adding to it like a college student taking on extra classes with the Absolute Carnage: Miles Morales limited series. How would you frame this limited series for Miles fans and for Absolute Carnage fans?
Saladin Ahmed: It's a natural evolution of a kind in the larger Spider universe to have Miles finally, fully contending with a big, grisly Spider-event. We have Spider-Geddon and such, but Carnage is such a touchstone for people - especially dealing with symbiotes.
To have Miles plunge into that is going to please Marvel fans.
This limited series is sort of self-contained, and you don't have to read Miles Morales or Absolute Carnage to get it. I think we're telling an amazing story.
I never write things that are tacked on - I always approach a tie-in as its own story, while honoring the story that it's tying into. Absolute Carnage: Miles Morales is a big, self-contained Miles story with a beginning, middle, and end. It's got great stakes, awesome action, and I think it's its own thing.
At the same time, it's also a modular thing. You can connect it to the larger Miles Morales book or the larger Absolute Carnage book. We worked pretty hard to make it more than the sum of its parts, so things are going to emerge that'll be really fun and satisfying for folks.
Nrama: From the solicits, this seems to really jump into an interesting part of the symbiote mythos - the Scorpion, a.k.a. Mac Gargan, and his time with the symbiote. What's your take on Mac Gargan?
Ahmed: Well, Mac was a delight for me. I'm a writer who is usually very invested in the humanity of my villains; I tend to write very three-dimensional villains who have some decency in there... and Mac is not that. [Laughs]
He's a surly, thorough scumbag - a monster of a person.
It's great to put the sweet, kind Miles into a fight with such a monster.
Nrama: And how does Carnage and his cult followers factor into this book?
Ahmed: Without giving too much away, in the main Absolute Carnage book Carnage is hunting down everyone who ever wore, or had a symbiote on them.
Miles has never had a symbiote, yet, but he's dragged squarely into it by his proximity with other Spider universe folks. Before the end of the series however, something changes.
Nrama: I think what you're getting at is Miles getting attached to a symbiote.
Miles has had his own run-in with symbiotes, but from what I gather by issue #2 Miles will be taken over by a dark symbiote courtesy of Cletus. What would it be like being inside the head of Miles while he's under this thrall?
Ahmed: For Miles, it's hard - but it’s less about his ego of wanting control and more about being a hugely decent person who is afraid of being forced to do things he would never do himself. That's the hard part for him. Maybe mind control wouldn't freak him out if he was forced to save orphans, but that's not it here.
Nrama: For this you're working with artist Federico Vincentini, who I believe is making his North American comics debut. He's very different from Javier - have you had a chance to scope out Federico's work or pages from this so far? If so, what's your thoughts?
Ahmed: It's gorgeous. He's very different from Javier Garron on Miles Morales: Spider-Man, and I was pretty surprised when I learned how relatively young he is. Federico's work is quite accomplished - very kinetic, and very visceral.
Our main Miles book is a very human book with a lot of family; there's a lot of superhero action as well, but it's not a cutthroat blood-and-guts book. While this Absolute Carnage tie-in is still a teen-rated book, it's much more visceral, action-driven, horror-tinged.
Nrama: How have your conversations gone with editor Devin Lewis, Donny Cates, and Marvel about doing this kind of tie-in to a larger event?
Ahmed: It's been great.
I always find that this kind of collaboration can be productive rather than restrictive. Marvel has some of the best editors in the planet working there. Donny is obviously brilliant, and the editors coordinating this are brilliant as well. All the rough edges that might happen otherwise have been smoothed away, and we've got this really amazing, cool event.
Nrama: As a writer, how are you balancing the needs of a tie-in while conceiving your own story? Do you have touchstones of other examples by other authors you go by?
Ahmed: I'm old enough to remember Secret Wars #2 when the Beyonder came to Earth. What I remember from that is the event had its own storyline, but it also felt like it was affecting the Marvel U while the rest of the characters stayed where they were. To me, that's my guiding principle: a tie-in should tell its own story; be focused on the character it's focused on, and feel like that character/story is coming as a natural occurrence.
Nrama: What do you think of this cult of Carnage, and what Absolute Carnage is bringing together as a whole?
Ahmed: It's been a blast to be a part of, because while big events where the whole cosmos is at stake are neat, I think we need more events focused on what's happening to the individual. I love that kind of event, where the scope is big but it feels more intimate.