Marvel Comics, and comic book publishers in general, have spent recent years putting an arguably much needed emphasis on diversifying comic books to represent the world we actually live in. Falcon has been promoted to Captain America, Kamala Khan (a Pakistani American teenager) is the new Ms. Marvel, and Bobby “Iceman” Drake has been revealed to be gay. But perhaps the most successful cultural adjustment made in comics comes in the form of a new wall-crawler named Miles Morales.
Brian Michael Bendis saw the need for a prominent character in comics that young black children, including his own, could relate to. So, along with Sara Pichelli, Bendis introduced Morales, a half-black, half-latino Brooklyn teenager that was bitten by a genetically enhanced spider. He would go on to become the new Spider-Man with the help of S.H.I.E.L.D., the family and friends of the late Peter Parker and other super-powered heroes.
Given the recent announcement that Morales would be the Spider-Man in the Marvel Universe following their Secret Wars event, it’s a matter of time before he becomes a familiar face to the masses; even if he’s not going to be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the comics, he’s currently one of the few survivors of the Marvel Universe’s catastrophic collapse, standing alongside some of its greatest heroes. This will lead to him getting his own series when the dust settles where he’ll take up the mantle of Spider-Man, full-time, with Peter Parker taking more of a backseat.
Whether he’s completely new to you, or if you’ve been following his adventures since he was introduced in 2011, here’s a list of some of Miles Morales’ best moments as Spider-Man.
How it all started
Very similar to Peter Parker, Miles got his spider powers from the bite of a spider that had been altered by a series of experiments. But that’s where the similarities end. Peter was bit while trying to pursue a higher knowledge of science. Miles was just visiting his uncle, who robbed Oscorp the night before and accidentally brought the spider home.
Being a superhero isn’t as simple as getting powers (that part’s debatable if you ask Batman) and throwing on a costume; there’s a system of checks and balances. When 13-year-old Miles first decided to take up the mantle of being Spider-Man, he had to get approval from Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. before he made a mess out of things.
Return of an old problem
One of Peter Parker’s most noteworthy villains was Venom, a symbiote that takes over the body of its host. In an attempt to do away with the new Spider-Man, Venom corners an inexperienced Miles and the two fight directly in front of his home, eerily similar to how Peter Parker died.
The other guy made it look easy
Becoming Spider-Man has a steep learning curve. Peter had his own difficulties figuring out how to use his powers. Remember Tobey Maguire swinging into a billboard? But he practiced until he made swinging from 30 stories high look easy. So easy that it surprised Miles when he first tried it out for himself.
An official cosign
Miles Morales is Spider-Man primarily because Peter Parker died and the world needed someone. So what happens when Peter comes back from the dead? The two have a lot of talking to do, and a lot of questions to answer. Some of which were addressed in a video you can see below from Disney’s Ultimate Spider-Man. Meanwhile, Aunt May, Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson had already made themselves available for Miles as a sort of Spider-Man council. Already having their blessing, Miles looked to Peter for validation.
A salute from Captain America
During this time, the country’s government was in such shambles that Captain America was voted president. You would imagine that the commander in chief wouldn’t have time to give his blessing to – or notice – a 13-year-old. But Miles was definitely an exception. He went from being a normal kid to a member of the Ultimates after proving his worth in a fight against Hydra.
Spider-Man Tag Team
Two Spider-Mans are definitely better than one. It’s double the action and the mid-fight banter. This moment was repeated in Disney’s Ultimate Spider-Man, which brought the two together on the small screen, where Donald Glover, who fans have wanted to play the character for years, voiced Miles.
A family history lesson
Miles’ father fell deep on the conservative side of things. His name also happens to be Jefferson Davis, the same as the president of the Confederacy. He often went as far as to criticize heroes in front of his son, who he had no idea was Spider-Man. It put a strain on their relationship but everything began to make sense when Jefferson filled Miles in on his darker past.
One of the best things about having a new comic book character, compared to those that have been around for decades, is that there’s no strict rulebook on what they can or can’t do. Miles has only been around for four years, which makes him a relative infant as a character. The sky is the limit as far as what he’s capable of and Bendis is sure to test the waters.
Miles has some of the same powers as his predecessor, such as the ability to climb walls, a spider-sense and super-strength, but also has some of his own. For example, he can turn invisible and has a “venom blast” that electrocutes opponents after making contact with them. Now, it appears that he can send energy blasts shooting from his body. We’ll be sure to see more about this in the future.
Taking on Doom and Hydra
The cut-away is a very convenient writing tool. You can show characters heading into a situation then skip all the way to the end of it and show the end results. It allows the reader to fill in the blanks as they please. For Miles, one of these cutaways came when he’d reached a new height of power and singlehandedly taken down an entire Hydra operation and Dr. Doom.
“I am Spider-Man.”
For a while, Miles battled uncertainty that he was even worthy of being Spider-Man. When he started out, the public thought that his actions were done in bad taste and, like Peter, the media and police gave him the top spot on the most wanted list. But after going through his own personal hardships and figuring out his self-worth, the then-14-year-old came into his own.