In 2018, Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse swung into theaters introducing the world to a black spider-man, Miles Morales. In the predominantly white world of comics, the film introduces us to a young black Spider-Man. The story became such a success it won an Academy Award for Best Animated Film. So who is this new spider-man? Where did Miles come from? After taking a deep dive into his comic books, we learned the rich backstory of the newest web-swinger.
The Comic Book Origins of Miles Morales
We all know about the Peter Parker Spider-man created by Stan Lee, but who is this new guy?
Miles Morales is the successor to the Spider-Man mantle on Earth – 1610, Marvel’s Ultimate Universe. The Ultimate Universe, overseen by superstar writer Brian Michael Bendis, was Marvel’s attempt at cleaning up the convoluted continuity of its 616 universe. Starting with The Ultimate Spider-Man #1 in 2000, the Ultimate Comics imprint gave fans an updated version of Peter Parker.
In 2011, Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli gave Miles Morales to the world after killing Peter Parker in the Ultimate Universe. Bendis has talked about his inspiration for Miles, saying that he first thought of the character when he saw Donald Glover wear a Spider-Man costume on the TV show Community. That reference itself is a joke about Donald Glover potentially playing Peter Parker in a movie.
Some who were collecting Spider-man comics for years had a few questions. The initial reaction to a black Spider-Man can only be called mixed. The multiracial character earned a devout following who are very vocal, and they quickly drowned out the itsy-bitsy haters. Miles is now one of marvels most popular character. In fact, he is one of the only characters to have made the jump into the 616 continuity. The Ultimate comics imprint got removed from Marvels release schedule in 2015.
So who is Miles Morales?
Miles Gonzalo Morales is an Afro-Latino kid from Brooklyn, New York. He is the son of Jefferson Davis and Rio Morales, a police officer and nurse. Miles wins a lottery and begins attending Brooklyn Visions Academy, a prestigious high school. Meanwhile, Miles’s uncle, Aaron Davis, AKA: The Prowler, is secretly operating as a supervillain called The Prowler. The Prowler steals a genetically modified spider, and, well, we know how the rest goes down. Miles emerges with powers similar to that of Peter Parker.
After the death of Peter Parker, Miles takes on the responsibilities of Spider-Man, and gets his own costume. Miles Morales’s costume is a reverse color scheme of Peter Parkers, with red webbing on black spandex.
During a battle with the Prowler, Miles discovers that his uncle Aaron has always been a criminal, leading Miles to wonder if he has the potential to be a criminal as well. The death of his uncle mirrors the death of uncle Ben from Peter Parker’s past as well, and provides the character with the motivation to continue his fight against evil.
The Powers of Miles Morales
Much like Peter Parker, Miles got his powers from a radioactive spider bite. His powers include superhuman strength, speed, reflexes, the ability to cling to surfaces, and of course shooting his famous webs from his wrists. He can lift well over ten tons, and he also has spider-sense which indicates the presence of danger.
Miles does have a few powers unique to him such as the ability to become essentially invisible, as well as the ability to release electrical energy which he calls stingers. He has been known to be able to use his stingers in conjunction with this webbing to create electrified strands
He Will Continue
Miles Morales has come a long way since his first appearance in the Ultimate universe in 2011 and he shows no signs of stopping. He is rapidly becoming one of the most popular characters in comic books today. With the popularity of his first film, it’s likely that he’ll eventually make the jump to the live action Marvel Cinematic Universe. All in all, Miles Morales is a role model to everyone, and he clearly has a bright, webby future in front of him.