Marvel has unveiled another makeover: Add Spider-Man to the ranks of super heroes with a little soul.
In case you didn’t get the memo, Peter Parker is dead! But not to worry, Marvel has seamlessly slipped in Miles Morales in as his replacement. Marvel.com announced that the half-Black, half-Latino teen from New York will make his big debut as he unmasks himself when Ultimate Fallout No. 4 hits stands today.
According to USA Today, Miles first appearance in Marvel’s Ultimate Universe is nothing terribly impressive as he’s only breaking up a fight. It’s great that he doesn’t stand for injustice, but what makes him qualified to be the next web slinger? That’s precisely the question that Marvel will answer when the Ultimate Spider-Man series reboots in September.
In the new series, readers will find out how Miles came to acquire his own arachnid abilities as they flip through Ultimate Spider-Man No. 1. But another fundamental theme will carry over from one Spidey to the next.
"The theme is the same: With great power comes great responsibility," writer Brian Michael Bendis told USA Today. "He’s going to learn that. Then he has to figure out what that means." Miles will also have some of the same Spidey skills that Peter had, such as the ability to shoot webs from his hands, and he’ll be getting a few pointers from Aunt May and Gwen Stacy.
If Marvel had to appoint a new Spider-Man, though, why was it so important to the comic publishing house change his race? "We knew it had to be a character that represents the diversity—in background and experience—of the twenty-first century,” Marvel Editor in Chief Axel Alonso explained in a statement. Offiicals at the company said this was neither a publicity stunt nor a way to pander to ethnic readers.
Brian revealed to the Associated Press that actor Donald Glover’s campaign actually spurred the decision to make Spider-Man Black. But it was an idea that had already been bouncing around at Marvel for a while anyway. "[Marvel COO Joe Quesada] and I talked about it at great length—what if he was an African-American and how interesting it would be," Brian said. He later revealed to the Daily Mail that Marvel wouldn’t rule out the possibility of making Miles gay, either.
While Marvel is trying to figure out Miles’ sexuality, writers still have their hands full with the change. Miles’ age and ethnic background will also color his view of the world, which means that writers have a whole new way to explore Marvel’s Ultimate Universe.
"I’m now sitting with a pile of legitimately new Spider-Man stories to tell and that is the best news a writer could have," Brian told AP.
This is not the first time that Marvel has dipped one of its White characters in some brown ink, though. Back in 2009, Nick Fury was made over to look like Samuel L. Jackson, who had then signed on to play the character in nine movies for Marvel Studios. He was most recently seen in Captain America: The First Avenger.
Those who just can’t let go of Peter Parker as their friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man can read the Amazing Spider, which is set in a Marvel universe in which Peter is still alive. Marvel’s Ultimate Universe runs in a completely separate reality, meaning that alternate story lines can be explored.