One of the most popular new characters to debut in the Marvel Universe over the last five years is Miles Morales. Not only did Miles have to follow in the footsteps of the Ultimate Universe Peter Parker after the latter’s death, he had to win over readers and fans to prove himself worthy to call himself Spider-Man. Now, after appearing in various volumes of his solo series, animation and an upcoming feature film, it’s safe to say Miles has done just that.
The person who’s guided the majority of Miles’ comic adventures is his co-creator, Brian Michael Bendis. Along with fellow co-creator, Sara Pichelli, the prolific writer introduced the new Spider-Man to the world in the Ultimate Universe, had him meet the original Peter Parker in 2012’s Spider-Men crossover, brought him to the Marvel Prime Universe following 2015’s Secret Wars, and coordinated a reunion with Peter in last year’s Spider-Men II. Now, after signing an exclusive contract with DC Comics, Bendis time as the primary writer for Miles Morales is fast coming to an end.
Before he departs, however, Bendis appears to be prepping Miles for a life-altering decision. The first clues were sown in the pages of Spider-Man and its Generations one-shot, and with the finale of Spider-Men II, we may be poised to see the teenage hero follow in his father’s footsteps as he transitions from web-slinging to super-spying.
Spider-Man No More?
Over the better part of 2017, Miles began to question whether or not he should continue to follow in Peter Parker’s footsteps as Spider-Man. Between his mother discovering he’s Spider-Man and the beating he took at the hands of the gangster Hammerhead, Miles is finding it hard to juggle his personal and superhero lives. Right when Miles feels like he’s “out of sorts,” Ganke offers up an answer to what’s going on with his best friend.
Ganke’s line of thinking makes sense. “You’re Spider-Man because [Peter] was Spider-Man first,” Ganke explains to Miles. What if Miles was the first person to be bitten by a radioactive spider (or in Miles’ case, a genetically altered spider)? Would he have automatically chosen to suit up and become everybody’s friendly neighborhood Spider-Man without Peter’s example? These questions have Miles reflecting on what it is he truly wants out of life. Yes, he’s pretty good at being Spider-Man, but perhaps he’s destined to carve out his own superhero legacy.
Bendis kept this plotline moving in the Generations: Miles Morales Spider-Man & Peter Parker Spider-Man one-shot. This adventure saw Miles transported through time to interact with a college-aged Peter. The idea for the one-shots was that heroes would be sent to the past to learn a valuable lesson from their mentors, essentially serving as a springboard for Marvel Legacy.
Miles found a younger Peter Parker during one of the lowest points of his early career. Aunt May was dying of a rare blood disease, and Doctor Octopus held the cure. During their fight, Doc Ock dropped an entire underground water laboratory down on Peter. Somehow, Peter found the strength to power out of the harrowing situation and get Aunt May the cure in time to save her life. The iconic shot of Peter lifting the rubble took place in Amazing Spider-Man in 1965, and was recreated in the cinematic film Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Before the one-shot ends, Miles comments that perhaps the reason he was sent back to the past was to experience how being Spider-Man was something personal to Peter. “Spider-Man is yours,” Miles says. That sure sounds like a person who is beginning to reconsider the line of work he signed up for. Additionally, as Miles slips Peter’s mask back into his sleeping hands, a panel shows Peter instinctively clutching the mask tighter, with a visible “SQUEEZE” sound effect. It’s as if Bendis and artist Ramon Perez are reminding the reader that being Spider-Man is everything to Peter.
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