Spider-Men

In honor of this summer’s SPIDER-MEN II by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli, we here at ComicsVerse decided to take a look back at the first SPIDER-MEN miniseries as well as Miles Morales’ role in the Spider-Man legacy in general. SPIDER-MEN introduced Miles Morales, the Spider-Man of the Ultimate Universe, to Earth-616’s Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man. Miles began his quest to live up to the Parker legacy in his first appearance. Even if others accepted him, Miles felt the need to keep proving himself, especially after some early setbacks and tragedies. This quest changed when he became a part of Earth-616. What Miles doesn’t know is that he already proved himself to be a worthy successor to Peter Parker.

An Awkward Start

In Miles’ first appearance, ULTIMATE FALLOUT #4 by Bendis and Pichelli, Miles dresses up in Peter Parker’s costume. The Peter Parker of the Ultimate Universe died not long before this. He inadvertently revealed his secret identity to the world right before he died. Miles saved some civilians from The Kangaroo, only to be told multiple times that his costume was in poor taste. At the end of this tale, Miles realizes that perhaps he shouldn’t wear the costume.

Spider-Men
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Miles never wanted to be Spider-Man. In ULTIMATE COMICS: SPIDER-MAN, a radioactive spider bit Miles shortly before Peter passed away. The turning point came when he witnessed Peter’s death and realized he could have done something to help. Both Miles and Peter lived by the motto “with great power comes great responsibility.” Miles’ need to live up to the Parker legacy began here. Even after he changed his costume to something unique, people still berated him about this. Parker’s allies in the Ultimates, Nick Fury and Peter’s female clone, Jessica Drew, scolded Miles when they first met him. Even after eventually gaining their trust and blessing to be Spider-Man, Miles still felt somewhat uneasy about stepping into Peter’s proverbial shoes. Then came the dimensional rift.

READ: Here are some Ultimate characters we think should join Miles in taking the jump to Earth-616!

SPIDER-MEN: A Meeting of the Webheads

After a battle with Mysterio, the Peter Parker of Earth-616 finds himself transported to the Ultimate Universe. Moments after landing in this strange new Earth, Peter literally bumps into Miles while swinging through the city. In classic superhero tradition, Peter attacks Miles while questioning his identity. Miles quickly realizes this is Peter Parker, and Peter doesn’t seem happy about Miles taking up the Spider-Man legacy. After a quick battle, Miles knocks Peter out with his venom blast, a power neither Peter ever had. Miles decides to take Peter to Nick Fury, and the truth comes out about Peter being from a different dimension.

After gaining Peter’s trust, Miles tries throughout the SPIDER-MEN series to prove himself. When Mysterio first attacks, Peter tells Miles to stay back. Peter wants to deal with Mysterio himself. After one of Mysterio’s illusions catches Peter by surprise, Miles decides to prove himself by confronting Mysterio. He grabs hold of Mysterio and attempts to wallop him until he stops the hallucinations. Peter realizes a medallion emitting psychotropic gas causes the hallucinations and destroys the medallion. Mysterio creates a minor explosion while Miles is still on top of him.

Spider-Men
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Miles narrowly avoids certain death or at least a crippling injury. Much like many other heroes before him, Miles gets a bit too headstrong and gets himself in over his head. While the explosion could have killed him, it doesn’t. It serves as a learning experience for the budding Spider-Man. Peter Parker had to learn these same lessons as well, so Miles was on the relatively correct track.

READ: We reviewed a recent issue of Miles’ SPIDER-MAN series!

SPIDER-MEN: Peter’s Blessing

The rest of the SPIDER-MEN series focuses mainly on Pater Parker meeting the Ultimate Universe versions of Aunt May and Gwen Stacy. Much like Miles’ quest for Peter’s acceptance, Peter feels the need to gain this Aunt May’s acceptance. Peter craves some long-needed closure about his heroic endeavors since he kept his dual identity a secret to Earth-616’s Aunt May. Even though May never outright says how proud she is, she hugs Peter. Just that simple gesture clues Peter into her acceptance of his heroic lifestyle. With this in mind, Peter goes to battle Mysterio once and for all.

After the final battle, Peter only has a small window of time before Mysterio’s portal between universes closes. He takes this time to thank Miles. He tells Miles to keep the legacy going. After Miles shyly asks if he has Peter’s blessing, Peter gives an affirmation. After Peter walks through the portal, Miles is left speechless and awestruck. Nick Fury speaks with Miles after the portal closes. He tells Miles that he’s earned Peter’s blessing. He then says that Miles has to keep earning that blessing. This sentence guides Miles through all of his journeys after SPIDER-MEN.

It’s the End of the World as we Know it

Miles takes Fury’s words of encouragement to heart for the rest of the ULTIMATE COMICS: SPIDER-MAN book. He helps Captain America stop a Hydra takeover. Unfortunately, after this battle, Miles faces a major tragedy, one which almost stops him from living up to Peter’s legacy forever. After a battle with Venom, Miles finds his mother dying on the sidewalk, caught in the crossfire when the police opened fire on the symbiote. After telling him how proud she is, she dies. This breaks Miles so much that he gives up on being Spider-Man for an entire year. In MILES MORALES: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, Jessica Drew finally encourages Miles to take up the mantle again, just in time for Miles to get the surprise of his life.

Spider-Men
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Miles finds himself face-to-face with the Ultimate Universe Peter Parker standing in his room. After getting knocked out by Parker, Miles believes this Peter is a clone. Before he can do anything about it, Norman Osborn, the Green Goblin, goes on a rampage similar to the one that caused Parker’s death. Miles and the seemingly newly revived Peter defeat the Goblin this time around. Peter reveals that he is the real Peter Parker and gives Miles his blessing. Miles has now received the blessings of two Peter Parkers, basically cementing his legacy as the new Spider-Man. Of course, in true Parker — and now Morales — luck, not long after receiving Peter’s blessing, Miles finds himself face-to-face with the end of the Ultimate Universe in the lead-up to the SECRET WARS event.

READ: Learn more about the Ultimate Universe with this analysis of the “Ultimate Clone Saga”!

A Whole New World

During the SECRET WARS event, Miles stows away with some survivors of Earth-616 and the Ultimate Universe. Eventually, he ends up meeting Molecule Man, the individual who’s been powering Dr. Doom’s Battleworld. Throughout the series, Molecule Man keeps asking for food due to his hunger. Doom never obliges. Miles, upon meeting Molecule Man, reaches into his pocket to find an old burger he happened to have in his costume before the worlds ended and hands it to Molecule Man. In return, Molecule Man grants Miles his greatest wish: resurrecting his mother.

After SECRET WARS ends, Miles and his immediate family and friends are transported to Earth-616, due to the Ultimate Universe ceasing to exist. Miles now has a new problem: making a name for himself in a world where Peter Parker still lives and actively works as Spider-Man. Luckily for Miles, Peter happens to also become a jet-setting CEO of a major corporation, fighting crime all over the globe. Miles becomes not only the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man which New York needs in the wake of Peter’s lifestyle but also a rebellious teen hero. After being an Avenger for a few months, Miles, along with other teen heroes including Ms. Marvel and Nova, create the Champions. Miles has already carved a new name for himself, since, unlike Peter, he becomes a team player while still learning the ropes as a hero.

SPIDER-MEN II

Spider-Men
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Now that Miles has lived in the 616 Universe for years, what will SPIDER-MEN II bring to the table? Miles hasn’t interacted with Peter all that much since moving to this universe. While we know that the book will pick up on a long-dormant plot thread about the Miles Morales of Earth-616, what we don’t know is if it will pick up on some of the themes of the last book. Will we find out what Peter thinks of Miles now that he’s a fully-established teen hero in his own dimension? Only time will tell. Find out the answers in the issues of SPIDER-MEN II this summer.

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