WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Spider-Man Annual #1 by Bryan Edward Hill, Nelson Blake II, Alitha E. Martinez, Mark Bagley, Roberto Poggi, Carlos Lopez and Cory Petit, in stores now.
Miles Morales debuted in the Ultimate Universe, an alternate reality detached from the continuity of the regular Marvel Universe. However, while the new Spider-Man's popularity grew, interest in the Ultimate Universe as a whole dwindled. For that reason, Marvel decided to get rid of the alternate reality as part of the 2015 event series Secret Wars, by writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Esad Ribic.
More than that, Secret Wars saw the end of the Marvel Multiverse itself, and ended with Reed Richards and the Molecule Man combining their efforts to create it anew. The result was a slightly different Marvel Universe that was very much like the one we knew before, with a few significant alterations. One of the biggest changes brought Miles into the main Marvel U, sharing the responsibility of protecting New York City with Peter Parker.
Although it first appeared that Miles had no memory of the Ultimate Universe, the character would later show he did indeed remember his other life. In the years since, it's remained unclear whether the Secret Wars restructure simply shifted Miles' existence into main Marvel continuity from that point on, or if he had a whole new past as part of the 616 Universe. And while this week's Spider-Man Annual #1 reveals a new moment from Miles' past, is does little to clarify the uncertainty surrounding it as it appears to take place during the era when Skrulls impersonated many of Marvel's greatest heroes.
Secret Invasion, by Brian Michael Bendis and Leinil Francic Yu, was the big Marvel summer event of 2008. The story revolved around the Skrulls revealing themselves after secretly infiltrating the Earth, even sneaking their way into the ranks of the Avengers. The shape-shifting aliens nearly successfully invaded the planet, but they were ultimately pushed back by Earth's Mightiest Heroes.... and Norman Osborn.
It was a pretty big deal at the time, back when there was no Marvel Cinematic Universe and no line-wide reboots or relaunches around the corner. It's also an event that unfolded three full years before Miles Morales would debut in the Ultimate Universe, in Ultimate Fallout #4, by Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli.
In 2015, Miles was retroactively made a part of the regular Marvel Universe, so you can be forgiven for wondering when, exactly, the events of Spider-Man Annual #1 are meant to take place. Even with MArvel's ever-shifting timeline, it doesn't seem like Miles could be around during the Secret Invasion, so what is he doing there, suiting up for the very first time to fight Skrulls? The issue itself doesn't offer a clear answer, though it does present us with two possibilities.