Miles Morales – The New Spiderman
When you think of Spiderman, the first person that comes to your mind is Peter Parker, right? Peter Parker is the most popular Spiderman so it’s deserving recognition that everyone’s idea of Spiderman is Parker. However, unless you are a comic-head, then you may not know that there are a bunch of other Spidermen who aren’t Peter Parker. From Ben Reilly to Miguel O’Hara to Aaron Aikman, the Marvel universe is littered with several Spidermen and women and it was just about time someone else other than Parker got their own movie. No doubt, Parker is a great Spiderman but having the spotlight on someone else would be great for a change and that change came in form of Mile Morales.
Who is Miles Morales?
Miles Morales is a Spiderman in the Marvel Comics and the main character of the movie “Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse” which was just released in December 2018. Miles Morales was created by Brian Michael Bendis, who originally conceived him as the character to take over the role of Spiderman in the ultimate universe after the death of Peter Parker. Morales made his debut appearance as Spiderman in August 2011 in Ultimate Comics: Fallout no. 4.
Born to a Puerto Rican mother, Rio Morales and an African American father Jefferson Davis, Miles Morales was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Morales, however, didn’t always have superhero abilities, like most Spidermen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he developed his powers after being bitten by a genetically engineered spider during one of his visits to his uncle, Aaron Davis, who happened to be a career criminal. Prior to the visit, Davis had robbed the Orscop lab and unknown to him, a mutant spider which would later bite Morales had crawled into his bag during the robbery.
What powers and abilities does Miles Morales possess?
Miles was 13 as at the time of the spider bite and like Peter, he developed certain superpowers akin to Spiderman such as superhuman strength and agility, precognitive spider senses and the ability to stick to surfaces with his feet and hands. However, because he was bitten by a genetically engineered spider different from the one that bit Peter Parker and other Spidermen and women, Morales also developed a camouflage ability which could make him invisible and a bioelectric power which could enhance his strength as he would later discover.
Now, quite unlike other Spidermen who always seemed eager to explore their newly acquired abilities, Miles was rather uninterested in using his powers, either to fight crime or for financial gain. For one, he was just a teenager who didn’t want to be burdened with the responsibility of having to fight crime and of course there was also the fact that his world already had a Spiderman in Peter Parker. So Miles decided to not explore his powers and live his life normally, only confiding the secrets of his superhuman abilities in Ganke Lee, his best friend.
Nevertheless, all of that came crashing down when Peter Parker was “killed” in a fight with Norman Osborn. Considering the fact that he had superhero abilities, Miles felt that the outcome of that fight could have been different and Peter would not have died had he been there to help out. Ridden by guilt after witnessing Peter’s death, and at the suggestion of Ganke, Miles decided to take on the role of Spiderman to uphold the legacy.
Miles Morales as a crime fighter
Mile’s first foray as a crime fighter is with a murderous villain named Kangaroo whom he successfully foils. However, he is confronted by a number of people, one of such people being Spiderwoman over his use of the dead Peter Parker’s Spiderman costume and consequently, Parker’s image. Miles is arrested by Spiderwoman and taken to S.H.I.E.L.D where he is interrogated. He is eventually released and gifted a new red and black Spiderman costume by S.H.I.E.L.D. after he helps them to defeat and subdue Electro, an escaped supervillain.
Miles began to engage in superheroics and despite what seems to be portrayed in comics and movies, people do not just become combat specialist once they become superheroes, as evident in Miles Morales’ case. With no combat skills, no web shooters and a morbid fear of heights, his career as a crime fighter did not get off on a good start. His best friend Ganke eventually helps him develop and improve some combat skills by showing him footage of Peter Parker fights for him to study.
In subsequent storylines, Miles gradually builds a bond with Peter’s loved ones, Aunty May (Parker), Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane. Soon afterward, they trust him enough to give him their blessings as well as Peter’s web shooters. He also meets Peter Parker from Earth 616 who gives him his blessings before departing the Ultimate Marvel universe. He is later approached by Captain America who wants him to stand down on crime fighting but Miles refuses and joins the Ultimates to be trained by a reluctant Captain America and other superheroes.
In the “Venom War” storyline, staged after the civil war of the Ultimates, as his identity as Spiderman is still secret, a journalist incorrectly concludes that Jefferson Davis, Miles’ father is the new Spiderman. The new Venom symbiote host – Marcus, attacks Jefferson at his home where he his critical injured necessitating hospitalization. Vernon follows him to him to the hospital where he is confronted by Miles. In a series of events following the confrontation, a brawl ensues, Marcus is killed by police gunfire and Rio, Miles’ mother is left fatally wounded. She eventually dies in Miles’ arms but not before telling Miles she knew he was Spiderman and how proud of him she was. With her last breath, she also cautions him to not reveal his identity as Spiderman to his father. The death of his mother leaves him scarred and he gives up his role as Spiderman as a result. After one year of no superheroics, he is persuaded and eventually convinced to return to his life as Spiderman life by Ganke and Spiderwoman.
In the course of the series, Miles meets an alive Peter Parker who had been presumed dead after the fight with Norman Osborn. Although Peter is unable to explain his return from the dead, it is believed that the Oz formula in the spider that bit Peter had conferred immortality on him and thus he can never be killed. Peter and Miles both join forces to defeat Norman Osborn, however, Peter has no interest in taking on the Spiderman mantle again and finding a worthy successor in Miles, he gives him his blessings and makes the decision to retire from superheroics.
After being in a relationship with his girlfriend for over a year, Miles believes she has earned his trust and reveals his secret identity to her. Unfortunately, his girlfriend’s parents are secret agents of a Hydra, a terrorist group and they kidnap him as part of a plan with Doctor Doom. However, the plan goes horribly wrong as Miles’ bioelectric power intensifies and saves the day.
During the course of the “Secret Wars” storyline, the Multiverse, including the Earth-616 and the Ultimate Marvel universe blows up and Miles only manages to escape by stowing away on a Cabal escape ship. After several years, he awakens on a new planet, Battleworld where he is reunited with Peter Parker from Earth-616 and other survivors. Together, the heroes battle against Doctor Doom, the self-appointed God Emperor of Battleworld. The storyline line ends with the defeat of Doctor Doom and the restoration of Earth-616, the latter as a gift from the Molecule Man, in appreciation of Miles’ compassion to him earlier in the story. The new Earth-616 comes restored with the inhabitants, including Miles’ family and even his mother whom he had lost to death earlier in the series. In the new universe, Peter and Miles share the mantle of Spiderman, the more experienced Peter Parker acting globally while the less experienced Miles defends New York City.
Miles Morales beyond the comics
In the continuity, Miles forms a group of teenage superheroes called the Champions. The Champions were instrumental in defeating Hydra and Mile’s has continued to work with them to this day. A Spiderman movie with Miles as the central figure tilted “Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse” was released in December 2018. The movie, where Shaneik Moore voiced the character Miles Morales and Jake Johnson as Peter Parker were well received by critics and comic heads all over the world. Miles Morales has survived many changes in Marvel and has since become much more popular. It is great Marvel is giving a chance for another Spiderman and it is perhaps even better that it is Miles Morales, an African American teenager from Brooklyn.