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Why Miles Morales is a totally different Spider-Man than Peter Parker

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Stop me if you've heard this one before.

A brilliant teenager on the cusp of scientific exploration is bitten by a radioactive spider that gives him power far beyond that of normal people – but that power carries a great responsibility to do good, leading the teen to become your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.

No, we're not talking about Peter Parker, we're talking about Miles Morales, Marvel's other full-time Spider-Man, who is about to be the star of his own video game in PlayStation 5's aptly titled Miles Morales: Spider-Man.

Miles was introduced in 2011 in Marvel Comics' Ultimate Universe – a separate continuity that was based in an alternate reality that included alternate versions of many well-known characters, including Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Miles originally became Spider-Man after the death of his world's Peter Parker before eventually coming to the mainstream Marvel Universe when the Ultimate Universe was destroyed, where he now shares the identity of Spider-Man with Peter Parker.

But aside from their similar origins and basic powers, Miles and Peter are very different Spider-Men, in terms of their personalities, their supporting casts, their villains, and even their actual abilities.

With Miles Morales's PS5 game officially on the way for this holiday season, now is the perfect time to dig into who Miles Morales is - including all the ways he's a totally different Spider-Man from Peter Parker, with a host of powers, enemies, and stories that could find their way into the upcoming game.

His powers

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Having been bitten by a radioactive spider, Miles Morales, like Peter Parker, has the proportionate strength and speed of a spider, can stick to walls, has an uncanny spider-sense that warns him of danger, and even wields webshooters that were originally given to him by the Ultimate Universe's May Parker.

But as those who played Marvel's Spider-Man or saw Into the Spider-Verse may know, Miles has extra powers of his own that go beyond what Peter can do.

For one thing, Miles is able to camouflage himself and his clothing to blend into his surroundings, making him effectively able to hide almost anywhere – a stealth upgrade for an already sneaky powerset.

And of course, he's got his signature venom blasts – a power similar to the one possessed by Spider-Woman – which allows him to dose his enemies with bioelectric energy bursts. Despite the name, they don't really have anything to do with "venom" – but they do pack a wallop, and Miles has been shown to push the blasts to greater effect and larger distances the more experience he's gotten using them.

His friends

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Like Peter Parker, Miles Morales tragically lost his uncle as he was finding his path as Spider-Man – but unlike Peter, Miles's uncle Aaron wasn't exactly an upstanding role model. Instead, he was one of Miles's first foes – the Prowler, a master thief who stole the radioactive spider that later bit Miles, and even fought Spider-Man to a standstill, resulting in his death. Similar to Peter's Uncle Ben, he left Miles with a parting mantra  - that Miles, like him, would one day go bad.

But on the other side, Miles has his father – Aaron's brother – a New York City police officer who does his best to impart wisdom on Miles, and his mother who, unlike Peter's Aunt May, was able to figure out that Miles is Spider-Man early on.

Interestingly enough, Miles' mom was actually killed in battle in Miles's original continuity, but she came back when Miles moved from the Ultimate Universe to the mainstream Marvel Universe, where she now actively raises a superhero.

And of course, Miles has a best pal – Ganke, his roommate at Brooklyn Visions Academy, and his stalwart confidant in his adventures as Spider-Man. Aspects of Ganke's personality and their friendship were incorporated in Peter Parker's pal Ned Leeds as part of Marvel Studios and Sony's current Spider-Man movie franchise.

Miles also has an on-again-off-again relationship with Bombshell, an enemy of the Ultimate Peter Parker who later reformed as a hero and even made her way into the mainstream Marvel Universe.

His enemies

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Miles Morales has a whole host of enemies he's clashed with – some of whom, like Green Goblin and Mysterio, he's shared with Peter Parker. But Miles has his own arch-enemies as well, including a version of the deadly Sinister Six.

Miles's first personal enemy was his uncle Aaron Davis – aka the Prowler. In the Marvel Universe, Prowler is Hobie Brown and primarily operates as an ally of Spider-Man after a brief stint as a villain. But the Ultimate Prowler was much more vicious, even trying to kill his own nephew before dying in the Ultimate Universe. But as with Miles's parents and friends, journeying to the mainstream Marvel Universe brought Uncle Aaron with him.

Living up to his reputation, Davis stole one of Tony Stark's Iron Spider suits – high-tech suits built for Peter Parker during the comic book event Civil War – and embarked on a crime spree as the Scarlet Spider, recruiting his own Sinister Six in the process. This Sinister Six also included Bombshell in one of her villainous stints, Electro, Hobgoblin, Sandman, and the Spot.

His team

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Like Peter Parker, Miles has often worked with other heroes as Spider-Man. Though it took Peter years to join the Avengers before serving as a core member for years, Miles was a joiner early on. In the Ultimate Universe, he was recruited by SHIELD almost immediately, as they had a relationship with his universe's Peter Parker. Miles operated among the Young Ultimates – a team of youthful SHIELD heroes, including Bombshell.

And when he made his way to the core Marvel Universe, Miles joined a whole new team – the Champions, a squad of teen heroes dedicated to making the world a better place. Along with Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel, Sam Alexander/Nova, Viv Vision, Amadeus Cho/Brawn, and others, Miles is still part of the Champions, though recent events have made it illegal to be a teen hero in the Marvel Universe without direct guidance from more experienced heroes.

(Image credit: Insomniac Games)

With Miles Morales: Spider-Man undoubtedly looking to expand and escalate the world and gameplay of Marvel's Spider-Man, making Miles the protagonist is a perfect choice. Not only will players enter the game with a sense of who Miles is thanks to his involvement in the original - and Miles's world is full of new villains, new stories, and even new powers to ramp up all the things that made the first game great.

George Marston

Newsarama staff writer who learned to read from comic books and hasn’t shut up about them since.