The mantle of Spider-Man is one of the most recognizable icons in the world. A few months back, we highlighted the first iteration of Spider-Man: Peter Parker. This month we take another swing at Spider-Man, but this time around we’re talking about Miles Morales. This young half African-American, half Puerto Rican character first swung into prominence 7 years ago, when Brian Michael Bendis and Sarah Pichelli created him.
Miles’ introduction came off the Death of Peter Parker storyline, in the Ultimate universe, and slowly he crept his way into everyone’s heart. This month, Miles will take center stage in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and will headline his new solo run written by Saladin Ahmed with art by Javier Garron. With the Miles hype being all around we thought we’d give you an easy entry point into who he is with this Character Spotlight.
Once again, all stories highlighted here are available through Marvel Unlimited. This article should give you a beat by beat idea of Miles’ personality traits and the best stories about this young exciting hero who paved the way for many legacy heroes today.
#1 Miles Morales: All-New Ultimate Spider-Man & Spider-Men
Miles Morales’ introduction is one of the strongest superhero introduction in recent years. Brian Micheal Bendis and Sarah Pichelli created a phenomenon and the fact that he is headlining a movie only 7 years after his creation is a testament to that. His original solo run started off with a bang pitting Miles against his uncle Aaron Davis, the Prowler. The action and drama truly highlight his personality and how much he is torn between his family and doing the right thing. He also has an aspect of familiarity with classical Spider-Man themes such as balancing his real life with his superhero life. His original first 12 issues feel like a fresh step towards the future that paid off. The writing is not only amazing but seeing the artistic prowess of Sarah Pichelli, Chris Samnee, and David Marquez is worth reading any story.
Normally, I would have separated Spider-Men in a different point since it’s a different story, but Marvel collected both the start of Miles’ run with Spider-Men in a volume that I deem a quintessential Miles Morales must read. If you go through Comixology you’ll have to get the issues highlighted below since the collection is unavailable. Spider-Men is the comic where Miles from the Ultimate Universe meets the famous Earth-616 Spider-Man: Peter Parker. Their adventure despite being short and sweet is an important milestone for Miles (pun, fully, intended). It’s during this adventure he truly comes into his own as Spider-Man since he gains Peter’s approval.
#2. Venom Wars + Spider-Man No More
Miles having been written almost solely by BMB is a hard character to get into without reading his entire continuity. Choosing the stories from his library without confusing readers is hard, but some are just too influential to past by. I urge you to skip the Divided We Fall and United We Stand arcs because of how heavily tied to other books and continuity they are. However, if you can easily ignore tidbits of continuity and really enjoy the core of a story I urge you to dive into Venom Wars and Spider-Man No More.
These two stories are collected in two different trades, volumes 4 and 5 of Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, but I choose to put them in the same point because they heavily play on each other. The ultimate universe Venom is probably one of the most boring characters ever because he is basically generic goo monster #3105, but his impact on Miles life is undeniable. The fallout of Miles’ encounter with Venom is easily the best part, but seeing how things go down is a crucial element of it. I would recommend getting both volumes which close out Miles’ first solo run. After that, Miles Ultimate universe adventures are generally forgettable. Yes, important events happen, but the way it’s handled and glossed over is not worth it. Once again, to enjoy Miles’ story without reading everything you need to be able to ignore continuity.
#3. Miles In The Main Marvel Universe + Sinister Six Reborn
Post-Secret Wars Miles Morales is confusing if you’ve read the stories above. I know it sounds weird to give you a list that will confuse you, but the stories mentioned earlier can’t be passed if you’re a Spider-Man fan. So here’s the spoiler-free quick run-down: All the bad stuff that happened to Miles… gone because of Molecule Man and now he’s part of the main Marvel Universe. Feel confused? Welcome to comics! Jokes aside his debut in the main Marvel Universe wasn’t bad, but it was nothing extraordinary either. If you have no intention of reading the stories I mentioned above (which I advise against because they are totally awesome) then pick up issue #1 of Spider-Man 2016 read until #21 then pick up #234 (because legacy numbering) and go until #240. The 2016 series was a good jumping on point for new readers, but I don’t recommend it because of the events and crossovers it involved with. Overall, they bog down a story that should have been meant to allow new readers to jump into reading Miles as Spider-Man. This is why I recommend jumping a little later on when things truly revolve around Miles and the people he cares about.
In case you don’t want to jump all the way back you can start off at issue #15 up to #19 (Volume 3 of Spider-Man 2016). The reason I feel this story is an important one to go over is because of the implication with his friends. A defining trait of Miles is his attachment to his friends and how he would do anything for them. The tension from his showdown with Hammerhead and his following battle with the new Sinister Six embodies an important aspect of the young web-slinger’s personality. Another great reason to pick up these issues is because of the gorgeous Patrick Brown covers. You can honestly skip issue 20 and 21 and jump straight into volume 4 (#234 – #340). These two issues don’t bring anything out of the story and Miles’ “soul searching” journey in Japan always struck me as filler. The only potential important aspect ends up being ignored and left on a huge cliffhanger because Bendis was leaving for DC.
#4. Champions #24
This particular story might not be as quintessential as the others, but I still think its an important one. First and foremost, it displays an important issue that deserves to be discussed in today’s political climate. Most importantly, it deepens the aspect of Miles which made the story above important. His dedication to the people around him is unrivaled. Also, in classic Spider-Man fashion he takes the weight of the world on his shoulder and when he can’t protect others it hits him hard. Jim Zub’s run on Champions has been amazing I would urge you to read all of it, but if I had to pick one issue that showcases Miles’ personality it would be this one.
Collect: Champions #24 available on Comixology or at your local comic book store.
Miles Morales’ short history limits me in terms of Extra Content, but if you do want more I recommend Secret Wars despite not being Miles centric it actually impacts his future quite a bit. Another story to check out might be Spider-Man Annual #1. The reason I don’t really recommend it has nothing to do with quality and more to do with Marvel forcing continuity too hard. Bryan Hill did the best he could with what he had in this story. The cards were stacked against him because there was no real way to top Peter Parker’s death as a reason for Miles to decide to use his powers to help people. Honestly, it didn’t thrill me, but if you love continuity you should check it out.
The Ultimate Spider-Man’s history is a short one, but his impact is felt. He’s a cultural and financial success; the impact he has been having on young people of color is undeniable and with him headlining his own movie his prominence will only increase. Miles is also headlining his new solo run, written by Saladin Ahmed with art by Javier Garron, which will be released on Wednesday, December 12th. So, if you’re not in the mood to catch up on old comics or want a taste before you jump in I suggest you check it out. Hopefully, this spotlight gave you the tools to navigate a familiar yet new part of the fantastic Marvel Universe.
Vincent is Canadian and a raving Cyclops apologist and a lover of all things geek Marvel and Star Wars are his specialty. He is well versed in DC, Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. He’s always wanted to be a writer and Do You Even Comic Book? is his first foray into that adventure.