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A Quick Primer on Miles Morales, Spider-Man

A Quick Primer on Miles Morales, Spider-Man

Did you see Sony’s announcement about their new Spider-Man movie? No, not Homecoming. That’s sooooo 2017. No, we’re talking about the standalone animated Spidey flick that’s coming from the guys behind the Lego Movie. As the studio recently clarified via Twitter, this film will actually mark the first time a wall-crawler other than Peter Parker gets to be the star.

Miles has only been around a few years, but his back-story is already almost as complex as heroes who’ve been in comics for decades, with twists and turns winding through several universes. See, for about 15 years, Marvel ran an “Ultimate” imprint in addition to its main line of books. The initial plan was to restart the adventures of storied icons like the X-Men, Fantastic Four and, of course, Spider-Man in the interest of modernizing and simplifying them for new readers. Later, though, the focus shifted to telling stories too extreme for even the Marvel universe. For instance, Captain America could be elected president… and Peter Parker could perish in battle.

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Yes, Spider-Man died. And like Captain America’s Super Soldier Serum, his mutated blood became a precious commodity that others tried to re-create. When the super thief Prowler stole a vial of solution which had successfully replicated the stuff, he unwittingly brought along an infected spider that went ahead and bit his nephew, Miles. The proportionate power of an arachnid, and a side career of costumed adventuring, swiftly followed for the kid.

We say “kid” because Miles was just 13 when he took up the Spider-Man identity, being a few years younger and smaller than Parker has usually been depicted at the start of his wallcrawlin’. Miles also differs from his predecessor in that, pretty much from the beginning, his friend Ganke has been a confidant who knows his secret identity. Interestingly enough, Ganke seems to have been combined with the character Ned Leeds in the cast of Homecoming. More strikingly, though, Miles’ uncle’s criminal career as the Prowler (which included a past partnership with Miles’ father) has made super-villainy an even more personal concern for this Spider-Man than it’s been for the original.

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Eventually, a multiverse-shaking crossover event, “Secret Wars,” folded the Ultimate universe into Marvel’s regular continuity. Now, a 16-year-old Miles co-exists with a grown-up Peter Parker, and the two Spider-Men enjoy a unique partnership. While the latter gallivants around the globe, Miles assumes his prior crime-fighting duties around New York City.

Whiles Miles has only been in this role for a short time, so far, he’s already been involved in some huge events. After joining the Avengers, he’s a central figure in the mega event “Civil War II.” A seer from the enclave of mysterious Inhumans foresees that Miles will murder Captain America, and the anxiety around that prediction contributes to the fracturing of good relations in the costumed cape community. Fittingly, one more wrinkle of the multiverse sees Miles later having a romance with a Spider-Woman (better known as “Spider-Gwen”) from another reality who’s a reincarnation of Peter Parker’s old, deceased girlfriend.

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Realities actually crisscrossed at a few angles during the creation of Miles, too. His debut in comics coincided with Donald Glover’s campaign to play Peter Parker in Sony’s last movie reboot, the Amazing Spider-Man. And his stories were subsequently inspired by the discussion that Glover’s bid stirred up. While the role ultimately went to Andrew Garfield, art imitated life imitating art–or however you want to phrase it–when Glover got to play Miles in the multiverse-crossing Web Warriors iteration of the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon series. No word yet on whether the future “young Lando” will be reprising the role for this animated film, though.

Are you excited for Miles’ big Hollywood close-up? Share your thoughts in the talkback.

Image Credits: Marvel

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