It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Miles Morales is one of Marvel Comics’ most important characters ever made. First appearing in the Ultimate universe back in 2011, Miles went from a normal kid to the new Spider-Man following Peter Parker’s death.
In both comics and reality, a lot has changed in the years since his debut issue, and the same goes for Miles. The Miles that readers first met is no more, as he’s now more entrenched in the superhero life than ever before. If there’s one thing that remained the same, though, it’s how much Miles means to readers of all ages.
10 He Grew Up
This one is quite obvious but it would be improper to ignore it. When Miles is first bitten by another radioactive spider, he’s still in middle school and barely a teenager. This has been updated, as more recent incarnations (especially Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) have Miles get bitten when he’s around 16 to 17-years old, putting him in high school.
Aside from puberty, Miles also matured as a person since his debut. Since then, Miles had to deal with heartbreak after finding out his beloved Uncle Aaron was the villain Prowler, the death of his mother Rio, getting disowned by his father Jefferson after he reveals his superhero identity, and more.
9 He Got His Own Gear
When Miles starts out, he has the same powers Peter had, but with the added bonus of chameleon-like camouflage and the instinctive defense mechanism known as the Venom Strike. Thing is, he’s a kid with no resources to speak of. Miles and Ganke get around this by buying a cheap Spider-Man costume, which almost everyone calls out for its bad taste.
Nick Fury – who saw Miles’ potential and what he’s doing to honor Spider-Man – fixes this by giving the custom black-and-red outfit that would become Miles’ signature look. Similarly, Aunty May gives Peter’s old webshooters to Miles, telling him not to follow Peter’s footsteps, but to forge his own path.
8 He Joined The Mainline Marvel Continuity
For the longest time, Miles was a mainstay of the Ultimate Marvel continuity. Though popular and well-known, the Ultimate reality is its own universe officially known as Earth-1610, where the Marvel heroes and villains were modernized by 2000’s standards. This was rectified during Secret Wars, but at a steep price.
The storyline starts with the ends of both Earth-1610 and Earth-616 (mainline Marvel), with Miles barely escaping. The survivors awaken on Battleworld (made of the remains of the dead worlds) where they defeat its ruler, God Emperor Doom. Miles, the sole survivor of Earth-1610, is rewarded with a second life by Molecule Man who resurrects him into a newly reborn Earth-616, where he and his whole family can live again. All this cost Miles was a three-week old burger.
7 He Got Peter’s Blessing
One of Miles’ biggest hang-ups is that by never knowing Peter before becoming a superhero, he never got his predecessor’s blessing. This angst and guilt of his sticks for the longest time, but he finally gets the validation he’s been seeking; albeit not from the Peter he expected.
The first happens during Spider-Men, where Earth-616’s Peter visits the Ultimate world. After the Spiders defeat (Ultimate) Mysterio, Peter gives Miles his blessing. He also throws some sage advice, like telling Miles not to get cloned. The second comes from (Ultimate) Peter himself, who somehow got resurrected and gives Miles his blessing after they beat up the (Ultimate) Green Goblin. He lets Miles take the mantle so that he can make sense of his second coming.
6 He Patrols New York Exclusively
Miles protecting New York was a given since he lives there but other than that, it was an unofficial inheriting of Spider-Man’s duties. Now that the webslinger was gone, Miles took it upon himself to keep the city safe from petty and/or supervillain crime.
Upon entering Earth-616, Miles and Peter basically shared custody of New York, but when Peter got control of Parker Industries, he had bigger plans. With his own multi-billion-dollar conglomerate, Peter aims to take security to a global scale. While he’s busy with the big picture, he let Miles handle things on the streets.
5 He Joined Many Superhero Groups
Miles started his superheroism on his own, but that didn’t last too long. Unlike his predecessor whose many failed attempts to become an official Avenger has become an enduring meme, Miles didn’t have to wait as long to join and even form one of Marvel’s premiere groups.
In the Ultimate Earth, Miles got to join the Ultimates after proving himself to Captain America during a HYDRA attack. In the Prime Earth, Miles entered the Avengers, where he grew close to fellow teenagers Ms. Marvel and Nova. The three teens splintered to form the Champions after growing disillusioned with the adults following Civil War II. Miles’ most significant faction to date is the Order of the Web, where he joined fellow Spider heroes after learning his multiverse past.
4 He’s Got An Evil Counterpart
No superhero would be complete without a villain who’s a dark reflection of themselves, and Spider-Man takes this literally. Not unlike his mentor’s confusing and overlong saga of clones, Miles got himself an evil counterpart in Ultimatum. To Miles’ credit, Ultimatum isn’t a clone but the original.
Ultimatum is actually the Miles Morales of Earth-616, but unlike the Miles that everyone knows, he’s a career criminal with deep personal ties to Kingpin. After visiting the Ultimate universe, 616 Miles returns as Ultimatum to not only rule New York along with Kingpin but to kick out the trespasser, namely Ultimate Miles.
3 He Had Romantic Relationships
When he started out, Miles was almost always stuck with Ganke at his side. Over time, he became more sociable and entered romantic relationships. While these didn’t last that long, they were still significant developments in Miles’ life.
His girlfriend in the Ultimate world was Kate Bishop (above; left). Things were going well enough for Miles to tell Katie his secret, but her parents were HYDRA operatives. After being kidnapped and tortured by HYDRA and Dr. Doom, Miles breaks up with Katie. In Earth-616, Miles dates his classmate Barbara Rodriguez (above; right) but she ends the relationship after not being able to deal with Miles’ secrecy any longer.
2 He Actually Wants To Be A Hero
When Miles realized he had spider powers, his first reactions wasn’t excitement or a sudden sense of duty, but fear. Miles wanted nothing more than anything to live a normal life outside of Brooklyn, but now his being a superhuman meant otherwise. He even quit for a full year following the death of his mother during Venom’s attack, and it took a lot of convincing to get him back.
Despite all these and even more hardships, Miles wore the mask once again and became more determined than ever to be Spider-Man. While stopping the amoral corporation Roxxon was a start, Miles came to terms with the great responsibility and expectations that come with being a superhero. He hasn’t stopped ever since.
1 He’s Become A Cultural Icon
The idea of succeeding Peter Parker as Spider-Man was always a tough sell, both in-universe and in reality. Despite this uphill battle, Miles Morales got to the top and quickly became one of Marvel’s best and most important newcomers.
In the comics, just about everyone understands the importance of a Black Spider-Man watching over the city, even if Miles doesn’t see it that way. In the real world, Miles is now one of Marvel’s premiere heroes, appearing across different media and turning into a beloved cultural icon in less than a decade. With his growing popularity and relevance in Marvel Comics, it’s obvious that Miles has a bright and long future ahead of him.
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