WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Spider-Men II, #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli, on sale now.
It was five years ago that Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli’s conclusion to the first Spider-Men miniseries put forth the idea that Miles Morales (“Ultimate” Spider-Man of the former Earth-1610) had a counterpart on the more familiar and mainstream Earth-616. Judging by Peter Parker’s reaction after a mundane internet search, there was a story behind this other Miles, and now that story has finally begun to be told in Spider-Men II #1, by the same creative time.
Of course, circumstances are a little different now that Miles and Peter share the same world, but that merging hasn’t altered that there are still two individuals named Miles Morales running around, although the two aren’t as similar as many might have assumed.
Mysterio’s trans-dimensional doohickey, the device that originally teleported Peter to Miles’ world, leading to the first-ever meeting of two Spider-Men, is still in place and is once again causing trouble for the pair. When the eerily familiar purplish glow appears over the New York skies, both Spider-dudes swing to the scene, only to encounter an unexpected foe emerging from the dimensional portal: Taskmaster, albeit sporting an altered look from that seen currently in other titles, but still with the obviously villainous intent to kill both Spider-Men. This penultimate page gives way to a far quieter epilogue in the posh neighborhood of Bloomfield Hills, where Taskmaster’s appearance is relayed to none other than a “Mister Morales” – a decidedly older version of Miles, and one shown to have a badly scarred face, for reasons yet unknown.
Like Peter and the younger Miles, the adult figure presumed to be Miles is clearly surprised by Taskmaster’s appearance, and reluctantly reconciles with having to return to New York, after apparently vowing never to do so. The two pages pose several questions that don’t have time to be answered this issue, but presumably will be explored within the context of the miniseries.
Because the other Miles’ name so readily came up in a Google search, it stands to reason he’s a public figure of some kind, and his comfortable and quiet lifestyle indicates that, whatever it was he was known for, he’s apparently given it up, or at least is trying to. If he knows of villains like the Taskmaster, this perhaps implies some kind of job working in the presence of the caped crowd – perhaps as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (an interesting scenario, considering Miles’ father briefly held that role), or possibly at some kind of incarceration facility, a la The Vault. And, just as Peter was older than his own Earth-1610 counterpart, the idea that this version of Miles also being older than his doppelganger is perfectly plausible.
Mysterio’s contraption comes with a few questions of its own – originally constructed as a bridge between dimensions, the notion that no other alternate Earths exist any longer leads both Spider-types to question what exactly it now bridges to. Clearly, the arrival of the Taskmaster, and an unwanted giant robot head before that, shows it’s a bridge to somewhere, although not a very pleasant place, by all indications. There’s no sign of Mysterio, but his device has plenty of mysteries by itself – given the Taskmaster’s different look, could the device still be connected to other unknown alternate worlds, and conceivably brought forth an alternative version of the supervillain? Or might a potential supervillain prison be one that exists outside of this dimension – perhaps accessed by Mysterio himself?
When the Taskmaster arrives, Peter jokingly asks Miles if there might be another Spider-person somewhere who might be able to help. That quip would be especially interesting if it turned out to be prophetic, leading to a third, or perhaps even more, incarnations of Spider-Man to turn up. How the Spider-Men, and the other Miles, deal with the Taskmaster are likely developments in Spider-Men II #2, on sale Aug. 16.
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