Since his debut, Miles Morales has been the source of controversy due to his framing as a successor to Peter Parker.
With the release of software developer Insomniac Games’ “Spider-Man 2” for PS5 on Oct. 20, came a legion of fiery Spidey fans and their hot takes. The game has received quite a lot of feedback from critics and players online, some spectacular, some not so much.
The heated debates have raged on for roughly two weeks now. Among those debates is the ever-present question of whether Miles Morales, created by Brian Michael Bendis, should take up the mantle of being the “main” Spider-Man in the game series going forward.
Miles was conceived as a successor to Peter Parker, and that’s a solid enough starting point for a strong black superhero, and the Spider-Verse films, as well as Insomniac’s Spider-Man games have done an excellent job at building atop that foundation for their interpretations of Miles. However, that’s my first major gripe. Conceptually, Miles came from “What if Peter had a successor?” and that’s fine, but why is that still all that Miles can be?
What does Miles really have that makes him stand out from Parker? For as much as I enjoy the Spider-Verse films, I’ve been thinking about how little those films have done to solidify Miles as a good standalone character. The cast of characters in the movie are a bunch of other Spider heroes whom he must look up to and idolize. Miles’ whole identity has remained this whole “I want to prove myself as Spider-Man” shtick in a massive multiverse where seemingly no other Spider hero needs to try so hard to earn the right to call themselves a Spider-Person.
People online have been at each other’s throats over whether Miles should be called “Spider-Man,” and while I would’ve said yes not too long ago, after sitting on it, I really do believe the next logical step is to push Miles away from the “Spider-Man” name.
There comes a point in our lives where we idolize people. We all have had role models at some point. Miles is like a lot of people in that way. But at some point, we eventually grow into our unique individuals and are stronger for it.
I want to see Black superheroes evolve, and I want to see Miles evolve. Give him his own name, his own city to protect. Give him his own recurring cast of unique characters that aren’t hand-me-down versions of Peter Parker’s cast (ever notice how Miles’ most noteworthy love interest is Gwen Stacy?), and for the love of all things, give the kid his own name.
No one complains about other Spider-heroes’ names. Miguel O’ Hara is Spider-Man 2099, Gwen Stacy is Ghost Spider, Cindy Moon is Silk, Ben Reilly is Scarlet Spider. But when people suggest Miles should get his own alias, people lose their collective minds.
I can only see him referred to as “Spider-Man (Miles Morales)” so many times before I question how keeping Miles in “I wanna be a Spider-Man too!” territory is beneficial to his character or Black superheroes. Let him grow, Marvel. Let him become his own thing and not just another cog in the Spider-Person machine.