SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Spider-Man #21 by Brian Michael Bendis, Nico Leon, Justin Ponsor, Jason Keith and Cory Petit, on sale now.
Miles Morales is growing up fast. When we were first introduced to him only a few short years ago, he was an inexperienced thirteen year old trying to fill the shoes of Spider-Man but as one Marvel’s biggest breakout characters of the last decade — arguably tied with Ms. Marvel — we’ve seen Miles grow into a confident young adult who is Spider-Man through and through.
Recently, in the pages of his eponymous solo title, Miles has been struggling with this growth and wondering what kind of man he’s going to grow up to be. The legacy of his criminal uncle weighs heavy on his mind, as does that of his super-spy father — coupled with several views at several different iterations of himself in the future, it’s a lot for a Spider-Man to handle, no matter the age.
Just like many young adults hoping to find meaning and purpose for who they will eventually become, Miles decided to get away from it all and explore another culture — in his case, that meant hitching a ride to Japan with roughly $400 to his name. Naturally, because this is a superhero comic book, that meant he immediately fell in with high-powered — in every sense of the word — Chinese gangsters and ending up infiltrating the vice den of the Iron Man villain Tomoe, also known as The Techno Goblin for her Inhuman ability to control technology and bend it to her will. The interesting wrinkle came last issue when someone left Miles a present in the form of a tuxedo and a gun, so he could go in James Bond-style.
However, Miles is not James Bond and quickly realises he is in way over his head, and calls his dead — on-again, off-again S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jefferson Davis — for advice. See, Miles and Jefferson know about each other’s secret lives — a plot point which has recently caused a lot of friction for Miles’ mother Rio, who recently discovered both bits of information at the same time — and Miles believes that his father supplied him with the tuxedo to infiltrate the Techno Golem’s lair. Miles is wrong. His dad immediately advises him to ditch the suit because it’s likely laced with nanotech, listening to everything Miles says and tracking his every move and Miles switches out to his classic Spider-Man duds only to come face to face with Tomoe.
It’s a rite of passage in a Brian Michael Bendis comic that at some point you’re going to have to fight a room full of ninjas, and Miles leans on his experience of watching Jackie Chan movies with his uncle Aaron to strategize how to take on such a large number of enemies. Miles is like Peter Parker in many ways, but one way he isn’t is in how he grew up in a Marvel Universe filled with mentors and each of those have imparted some wisdom to him that he can call on in a pinch, even his dirtbag super-criminal uncle. However, when Tomoe swings at him with a giant energy sword it seems like that might be too much for Spider-Man to handle, but he’s able to channel his venom blast through the sword, creating a shockwave taking out the Techno Goblin and her techno ninjas.