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How Miles Morales became his own hero and redefined the mantle of Spider-Man

image of Miles Morales as Spider-Man
(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Miles Morales, the younger Spider-Man who currently operates alongside Peter Parker in Marvel Comics, is about to celebrate his tenth anniversary with the release of September 29's Miles Morales: Spider-Man #30 (opens in new tab), an oversized issue marking a full decade since Miles debuted back in 2011.

Miles' origins may reflect Peter's - 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 - but he's much more than a rehash of Marvel's most popular hero.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)
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In his ten years in Marvel Comics, Miles Morales has done a lot of growing up in just a short time. Beyond his roots stepping into the mantle of Spider-Man in an alternate universe, Miles has become a hero in his own right - stepping out of Peter Parker's shadow while also defining himself as the true heir of Peter's legacy.

Miles was introduced in Ultimate Fallout #4 (opens in new tab), an event comic set in Marvel Comics' Ultimate Universe  – a separate continuity that was based in one of the many worlds of Marvel's Multiverse, which included alternate versions (these days we'd call them 'Variants') 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.

That transition alone may sound like quite a lot, but that's just scratching the surface of Miles Morales' decade as Spider-Man, which has included branching out into cartoons, animated movies, and his own starring video game. 

Now with ten years as a hero under his belt, we're celebrating Miles Morales by looking at all the ways he's become his own standout hero, while also embodying all the things that make Spider-Man great.

His powers

image of Miles Morales as Spider-Man

(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 has even wielded web-shooters that were originally given to him by the Ultimate Universe's May Parker.

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

For one thing, Miles can 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.

In recent years, Miles has learned to use the energy that produces his venom blasts to replace his web-shooters with 'bioelectric thread.'

His friends

image of Miles Morales as Spider-Man

(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 there's 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  Miles' baby sister as well as a teen 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 of Miles Morales as Spider-Man

(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.

Aaron Davis has since become the Prowler again, working in the employ of the villainous Assessor, an evil scientist who is obsessed with Miles.

Echoing one of his mentor's most controversial stories with his own Clone Saga (opens in new tab), Miles was cloned by the Assessor, who sent three evil doppelgangers after Miles. Two of them, known as Selim and Mindspinner, died trying to kill Miles after the third clone Shift switched allegiances.

Shift has since become part of Miles' life, with the young hero accepting his clone as an ersatz 'brother.'

Weirdly enough, Miles is about to go toe-to-toe with Peter's clone, Ben Reilly, in December, as Reilly takes on the lead role of Amazing Spider-Man in the upcoming 'Spider-Man Beyond' era.

His team

image of Miles Morales as Spider-Man

(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 alongside Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel, Sam Alexander/Nova, Viv Vision, Amadeus Cho/Brawn, and others– the Champions, a squad of teen heroes dedicated to making the world a better place. 

Miles is still part of the Champions, though the events of the story Outlawed made it illegal to be a teen hero in the Marvel Universe without direct guidance from more experienced heroes.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2

(Image credit: SIE/Marvel)

Since he first took up the mantle of Spider-Man, Miles Morales has forged his own niche in the Marvel Universe which echoes some of the best, most compelling emotional beats of Peter Parker's storied history while putting a new spin on the man behind the mask, and the way he fits into the Marvel Universe.

Between his own Spider-Man: Miles Morales (opens in new tab) video game, his upcoming appearance in the recently announced Marvel's Spider-Man 2 game where he teams up with Peter to take on a new version of Venom, and the impending sequel to his high profile film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (opens in new tab), it seems like these ten years have just been the start for Miles. And with Peter Parker's 60th anniversary coming up in 2022, Miles has a great start toward his own sexagenarian celebration 50 years from now.

Keep up to date with everything Spider-Man-related with our listing of all the Spider-Man comic book releases planned for 2021 and beyond.

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)