Miles Blackheart

Writer Brian Michael Bendis has a tricky job ahead of him. He is trying to establish Miles Morales as the Spider-Man, but he wants to do it in a short amount of time. While the first issue of Spider-Man was admittedly a fun read, the second issue shows some of the challenges Bendis’ social-justice project presents.

SM #2 begins with Spider-Man — the original — asking Miles who or what took out all the Avengers, yet retreated when he entered the fray. As the two are discussing the matter, along with whether or not Miles should continue to go by just “Spider-Man,” the demon Blackheart returns from the spirit world and essentially takes Peter Parker out of the fight with a single blow. Miles uses multiple venom blasts and Captain America’s shield to quickly dispose of the villain.

“You did this?” Tony Stark asks as he regains consciousness and stumbles forward. Even Bendis knows this is absurd, so he has Miles reply, “Well, uh, I mean it was more like a group effort.”

Miles IronMan Falcon

There is only one problem with that line: It wasn’t a group effort. Everything about the first two issues — including the cover, with Miles triumphantly standing with Cap’s shield over helpless Avengers — screams, “Respect this Spider-Man! Respect him! Seriously! Please?”

The reason for the cheap shortcut comes soon afterward, when word spreads of the new Spider-Man. A girl calls Miles “black Spider-Man” and this annoys him.

“I don’t want to be the black Spider-Man. I want to be Spider-Man,” Miles tells his friend Ganke.

“Okay, poof, you’re Spider-Man,” his friend replies.

If only it were that easy — but it’s not.

Readers can simultaneously appreciate Bendis’ mastery of the craft of writing while acknowledging that Miles is getting an embarrassing assist in the credibility department.

Miles SM2

Fact: In a world where Peter Parker exists, he will always be seen as the Spider-Man. Any derivative of him can never be the Spider-Man because Peter Parker was and always will be the original. Readers can either call Miles “black Spider-Man” because he is black, or because he chose to wear a black costume.

At the end of the day, it is bizarre to arbitrarily make Captain America black, Thor a woman, and Spider-Man a black guy when the original characters — who are still popular — are something else. Many Marvel readers get this, despite the creators’ best efforts to brainwash them otherwise.

Is Spider-Man a good book? Sure. So far. Is it worth spending $4.00 on? Yes. Will I ever consider Miles Morales the Spider-Man? No — because he’s not. He’s a Spider-Man (a good one), who came after Peter Parker.

I look forward to reading the third issue of Spider-Man. I just hope Bendis doesn’t have Miles taking down Ultron to prove the character’s worth.

 

Advertisements

About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

30 comments

  1. I liked the issue, but I hate that Marvel is giving out subliminal messages about all of their changes are good ideas. In the scene where the internet girl is mentioning Thor being a woman and Captain America being Black, makes me think Marvel is saying “Look! we’re so diverse now! Aren’t we interesting? Aren’t we?” It kind of feels like they’re forcing it down our throat. And do you think that Miles is a little too overpowered? Not even Batman takes down a enemy that quick and that clever. That Sting and Invisibility is starting to be a bit of a hassle.

    Also what is with Miles’ Mom? He gets bad grades once and all of a sudden she’s going crazy and calling the Grandmother? I’m gonna end up hating her before this arc is over I fear.

    1. I liked the issue, but I hate that Marvel is giving out subliminal messages about all of their changes are good ideas. In the scene where the internet girl is mentioning Thor being a woman and Captain America being Black, makes me think Marvel is saying “Look! we’re so diverse now! Aren’t we interesting? Aren’t we?” It kind of feels like they’re forcing it down our throat.

      I think Bendis’ actual position is more in line with Miles. If a similar scene was in ASM, you can bet on it that Slott would be in favor of the in-your-face social justice YouTuber. Bendis is all about Marvel’s plans, but I think he’d rather accomplish it with little fanfare. He’d rather have it more under-the-radar.

      “And do you think that Miles is a little too overpowered? Not even Batman takes down a enemy that quick and that clever. That Sting and Invisibility is starting to be a bit of a hassle.”

      Yes. Invisibility on top of everything else is a bit much. If this guy can just poke his enemies with venom any time he’s in a jam, it gets rather lame. Blackheart takes out She-Thor, but not Miles? Ummm, okay.

  2. Sounds like Miles is close to becoming a Mary Sue in order to make people like him more. Taking out Blackheart more or less by himself? C’mon, Bendis, we all know that’s BS.

    He’s not only a Spider-Man that came after Peter, he’s one that came MUCH AFTER Peter and several others. This is the main problem when you make 15 versions of the same character and have them running around at the same time. The fans are going to take it upon themselves to figure out a way to tell them apart. What else do they want people to call Miles? Spider Jr.? Urban Spidey? PC Spidey?

    “Hey, do you read Spider-Man?”
    “Eh. I dunno, Slott’s Peter kinda sucks.”
    “No, I mean Spider-Man.”
    “2099? Yeah, I don’t like his new suit, but I’ve always loved him.”
    “No, Spider-Man!”
    “…Kaine? But his book was cancelled…”
    “No, man, the BLACK Spider-Man!”
    “OMG YOU RACIST.”

    Give me a break…and Miles whining about wanting “to be THE Spider-Man” is a little..egotistical, at best. He hasn’t dealt with a fraction of the crap that others wearing the webs have dealt with.

    1. “He’s not only a Spider-Man that came after Peter, he’s one that came MUCH AFTER Peter and several others. This is the main problem when you make 15 versions of the same character and have them running around at the same time.”

      Exactly. This is why I was so annoyed at some of Slott’s comments when Spider-Verse came out. He said something to the effect of (I’m paraphrasing), “Whatever Spider-Man you like most is Spider-Man.”

      If you clone an army of “spider-men,” then it just gets stupid. In the 90s I think they started doing that with Venom symbiotes.

    2. And in the end he killed the only Spider-Man that we all loved MC2 Peter Parker. However Tom DeFalco is such a good writer that gave hidden messages to the fans of Spider-Girl that she wasn’t the real one.

      I feel like that is trend with Slott, if there is any Spider-Man that is better written or more loved than mine that Spider-Man is gonna die all in favor of his pet projects.

      Case and point : Kaine Parker, Peter Parker MC2, Assassin Spider-Man, Ben Reilly (I know he didn’t write Scarlet Siders however he was dictating Spider-Verse).

    3. “Exactly. This is why I was so annoyed at some of Slott’s comments when Spider-Verse came out. He said something to the effect of (I’m paraphrasing), ‘Whatever Spider-Man you like most is Spider-Man.'”

      Isn’t that true, though? You seem to regard the 616 version as the real deal. I’d swear in a court of law that the Ultimate Spider-Man (Peter, not Miles) is the real version, and 616 is just a (messed-up) parallel universe counterpart. Others would have different opinions on which version they like the best. I guess I don’t understand what bothers you about that specific statement.

    4. “I don’t understand what bothers you about that specific statement.”

      It bothers me because the 616 version is the original Spider-Man. You can scream all day until you’re blue in the face that Ultimate Spider-Man is the “real” Spider-Man, but “your” Spider-Man would never exist without “my” Spider-Man.

      So yes, please, put us in a court of law together and I promise you that I would win that “case” hands-down.

    5. Granted, I think I can understand Miles’ problem. Remember, he came from a universe where Peter died, and he took his place. He may not be completely used to this situation.

  3. I did like aspects of this issue, you can so tell Bendis wants a Spider-Man dealing with the legacy of Mehpisto as badly as everyone else does by having Miles beat up his son in a decisive manner. I feel like it was a half-finished book and it took me by surprise when I reached the end of it after only a couple of scenes had really passed. The consequences again of Bendis’ decompressed trade-writing style.

    I’m a little concerned about the use of Black Cat in the series coming up, especially after the recent issue of Silk sort of gave her some sense of nobility again (working on a cure for the Goblin serum), and now she’s going to apparently put a bounty on Miles’ head in the next few issues. Bendis is often accused of poor research and continuity hiccups, and this looks like another one of them.

    1. “Bendis is often accused of poor research and continuity hiccups, and this looks like another one of them.”

      That may be true, but after Slott’s treatment of Black Cat it seems hard to believe Bendis would do a worse job. 😉

    2. But sometimes he outright ignores continuity in favor of his stories.

      Invincible Iron-Man, Bendis said it himself that Tony remembers that MJ and Peter lived with him in avengers tower however Tony and MJ doesn’t remember that time.

      Bendis made Peter the comic reliaf of the New Avengers so he may do whatever the hell he wants with Felicia in order to suit his own story.

  4. Kind of interesting how the comic has Miles wanting to be known as just “Spider-Man” instead of “black Spider-Man,” given that that’s how the character has been marketed to the public in real life. I can’t remember any other real selling point ever being used (and I honestly don’t think Miles ever really evolved beyond being a replacement Spider-Man, anyways, so how else could be be marketed?).

    I’m really curious how long 616 Miles will last. He’s not the “real’ Spider-Man, doesn’t have a real niche, with “Spidey” providing an alternative teen Spider-Man comic (that actually has Peter, and so is about the real deal instead of a substitute), and lost his only defining trait of being a legacy superhero. All there is is the strength of the character, which is pretty weak. He does have his fanbase and isn’t a hated character, but in his original series he was the only active Spider-Man. Now, he’s just one of many, and I don’t think he has enough clout to compete with Peter.

    1. Yeah, that moment did kind of hang a lampshade on how terrible Marvel has become about diversity mongering.
      Having a new character take up the mantle can work, but it generally only works if the other character is dead or no longer superheroing.

    2. “Yeah, that moment did kind of hang a lampshade on how terrible Marvel has become about diversity mongering.”

      I don’t think the problem here is that a black character is “replacing” a white one (who cares about that, if the new character is a good one?). I think it just boils down to the fact that Marvel is screwing up the Peter Parker Spider-Man, and the related comics indirectly suffer.

      I’m under the impression that the Miles comics are being partially marketed to Spider-Man fans who don’t like Slott’s latest experiment and want a more traditional “Spider-Man.” However, I suspect that most of those readers are like me; we want Peter Parker to be himself again in his classic status quo. If there was a comic that had Peter acting like himself (as opposed to aping Tony Stark) along side the Miles comics, I’d doubt that Peter fans would be complaining about Miles.

  5. Heh, so i guess one thing we can mark DC at being better than Marvel with is the “legacy character” the two most infamous being Flash and Green Lantern.

    Which is a shame because if I was ever going to pick any Marvel heroes to get the legacy treatment, it would be… well ok Captain America first but following him: spider-man (insert here plug for spider-girl which was AWESOME). But after years of comics everybody should know now that to get a legacy character to work takes TIME and you can’t rush it, the harder you try, the faster it flops.

    Of course one can’t help but experience shades of “Knightfall” where Bruce Wayne was paralyzed for a time and another guy took over as Batman.
    . . .
    Except back then the new guy was a parody (or straight example) of the grim-dark 90s hero being all badass with EXTREME armor and stuff. Today we have SJW favorite groups being the “in thing” so we’re getting a legacy character from there. . .

    OMG I just realized Marvel today has just become DC from the 90s! Does that mean DC has become 90s Marvel? Well we’d have to have some kind of clone saga for tha–
    http://www.dccomics.com/comics/superman-the-coming-of-the-supermen-2015/superman-the-coming-of-the-supermen-1

    Game over, man! Game over!

    1. “Heh, so i guess one thing we can mark DC at being better than Marvel with is the ‘legacy character’ the two most infamous being Flash and Green Lantern.”

      Well, most Marvel characters aren’t designed to allow legacy characters in the first place. Personally, since I tend to latch on to the character’s civilian identity, I’m not a really big fan of the legacy character idea in general (although Dick Grayson as Batman is better than Bruce Wayne as Batman, so it can work).

      “Which is a shame because if I was ever going to pick any Marvel heroes to get the legacy treatment, it would be…spider-man (insert here plug for spider-girl which was AWESOME).”

      Why Spider-Man? Of all the superhero characters invented, he’s one that (in my opinion) can NOT become a legacy character (“Spider-Girl” or a hypothetical comic starring Annie May Parker are the lone exceptions because in that case, its Spider-Man’s kid).

    2. Because at heart Spider-man is about, “Great power – great responsibility” and there are rich story possibilities in seeing different characters exercising their responsibilities when being given the great power of spider-man (which works because it’s power greater than ordinary men, making it “great” but in the comic book world, it’s not the cosmic or over-the-top power of beings like Thor or Hulk or Silver Sufer, thus allowing it to remain very close to the ground).

  6. Yeah, I’m quite dismayed at Marvel’s forced diversity agenda. It doesn’t encourage me to buy books with characters clearly superimposed upon the original ones. It’s almost like Marvel are saying “we know these characters on their own aren’t going to be popular enough, so we have to force them upon you this way.” If that is Marvel’s mindset, then it’s a pretty poor business plan.

    Marvel’s print division would have a fairly extensive marketing department, probably larger than ever since the 60’s when Marvel’s iconic super heroes were first conceived. Why can’t Marvel’s modern think tank market new original diverse characters? Is it that much of an effort to do today? Characters like Black Panther & Falcon became popular in the 60’s with a lot less marketing strategies. New diverse characters would have a myriad of marketing strategies available to them today.

    Overall, I think diversified characters are essential in comics, but not at the expense of long established popular ones.

    I’ve also felt that Miles would be a better unique character if he had a new code name, one that he can take ownership of. He may have been a replacement Spider-Man in 1610, but I will never accept Miles as Spider-Man in 616. A new codename for Miles could even be a milestone that Bendis works towards in the development of the character. 🙂

  7. This is why the book titled SPIDEY is the best book on the market for Spider-Man. It is a TEEN Peter Parker bookj that harkens back to the classic Marvel “done in one” stories with an underlying subplot of its own. It is a TERRIFIC read for people like me who UNIVERSALLY DESPISE Dan Slott and see straight through the systemic brainswashing that is affecting even the most generous of modern day comic book creators. Problem is a lot of creators in my area are largely of that left wing systemically “oppressed” group of black, transgender, asian racial and social groups so to them they see Miles as their “champion” compared to Peter Parker. That said I DID say this to one of them, a transgender comic creator (she to he) and they said as a response: “I totally believe that, but since I like them both I don’t really care,” which just makes me throw my hands up and go “oi…”

    1. I’ve yet to check out the “SPIDEY” title, only because I don’t want to read any more TEEN stories. Is it well written? I used to buy Marvel Adventures:Spider-Man for my kids. This may be a good reason to get them reading Spider-Man again. They’re currently perusing through my Vol 1 ASM. 🙂

      I would prefer to read about a mature 28 year old Spider-Man, a formidable, independent, resourceful and victorious super-hero. Doesn’t look like that is going to happen anytime soon.

      I would also love to see a return to a Spider-Man who uses wit and sarcasm wisely and sporadically, not one who acts like a goofball, jokes around too much and makes cheesy pop culture references.

      I want to read well crafted, intriguing and sophisticated stories, the kind that encompass the drama, the action and humor with a slice of realism, but IMO, the ASM title, nine years post OMD is still suffering from Ganser syndrome.

    2. I’m not too high on SPIDEY, but I can understand it’s appeal to people who want a little more of that flavour that’s been missing since the heyday of Ultimate Peter and Marvel Adventures, the latter of which I loved to death.

      Still, there are several options better than Slott out there which I appreciate, in particular the woefully undervalued newspaper strip. I understand how people can be cynical and harsh towards it, I am myself sometimes when the story takes an absurd turn or drags on way too long (looking at you Clown 9 and Namor arcs), but lord does it have a great handle on the marriage and a more durable take on Mary Jane.

  8. “Because at heart Spider-man is about, “Great power – great responsibility” and there are rich story possibilities in seeing different characters exercising their responsibilities when being given the great power of spider-man (which works because it’s power greater than ordinary men, making it “great” but in the comic book world, it’s not the cosmic or over-the-top power of beings like Thor or Hulk or Silver Sufer, thus allowing it to remain very close to the ground).”

    Okay, natewinchester, that’s a fair argument. I’d disagree on the grounds that the “Spider-Man” persona has always been tied to Peter; he didn’t become a superhero because he got superpowers. He did it because he made a bad decision by letting Dennis Carradine go that fateful day. Ever since, the comic has often been about how his personal life and superhero life overlap. In other words, you can’t separate Spider-Man from Peter, so making him a legacy character doesn’t work, since its a different superhero using the same name, and there’s no logical person to hand it off to (unlike Batman where the Bat is a symbol and there’s a chain of accession built in).

    But, hey, you did explain yourself well, and it’s a position worth considering.

  9. “It bothers me because the 616 version is the original Spider-Man. You can scream all day until you’re blue in the face that Ultimate Spider-Man is the “real” Spider-Man, but “your” Spider-Man would never exist without “my” Spider-Man. So yes, please, put us in a court of law together and I promise you that I would win that “case” hands-down.”

    Just because something’s the original doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily better then other versions, or even the most “accurate” one. For example, take Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The trademarks of the characters (the different-colored masks, pizza, Michelangelo being the jokster) are not from the original comics, but the ’80s cartoon adaption. But those cartoon elements are still included even versions that try to go back to the roots because those are recognized as part of the “real” characterizations. (Or in the Spider-Man franchise; the idea of the Venom symboite being a corrupting influence on the host is not part of the 616 comics. That was invented for the early ’90s Spider-Man cartoon, but is today if you were faithful to 616 Venom, fans would probably grumble about you getting the character wrong.)

    The Spider-Man character has grown beyond the original comics into different forms of multimedia, as has Marvel. Today you’ve got Marvel fans who’ve never picked up a comic in their life and probably never will, but are eagerly waiting for the “Civil War” movie or are tuning in to follow “Agents of SHELD” or “Agent Carter,” or are following the”Ultimate Spider-Man “cartoon, or are maybe even checking out some of the old novels from the ’90s.

    While I don’t think Slott should be using his “any version you care about is the real one” to justify his mutation of the 616 comics (since it’s a red herring; the question is does his writing fit the 616 character), the point that no one version is the only one that matters is a valid one. There are fans, like me, who were introduced to Spider-Man through other versions and have no interest in 616 for various reasons. I think you’re getting hung up on the quote meaning that 616 doesn’t matter, where I’m reading it to mean that the character has expanded and been retold so many times that different fans have different versions that they hold on to. And how is that a bad thing?

    (Also, for what it’s worth, the original Raimi movies, by coincidence or design, were far closer to the Ultimate comics that the 616 ones, the Webb movies were officially based on Ultimate, and the upcoming MCU movies are stated to be taking the most inspiration from Ultimate, too. So, basically, USM has been and will be the primary factor in defining the character on the big screen, which will define the default version of the character, as far a pop culture and laypersons are concerned. Is it possible that 616 Spider-Man is no longer relevant? The fact that ever since “OMD” the only place that you can find stories that resemble the classic set up are in adaptations and alternate universe comics is really telling.)

    1. “Just because something’s the original doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily better then other versions, or even the most “accurate” one.”

      I never said 616 Peter was “better” written than other versions (especially under Slott). I said that 616 was “the” Spider-Man because he is the original. That is an important fact that should not be dismissed in any conversation about character.

      Once someone agrees with the premise that “any” character who calls himself Spider-Man is “the” Spider-Man, then it’s “game on” for anyone who would want 616 Peter dead and gone. No thanks. I will never agree to that premise.

      “For what it’s worth, the original Raimi movies, by coincidence or design, were far closer to the Ultimate comics that the 616 ones.”

      That is somewhat laughable, given that USM began in 2000 and filming for Raimi’s Spider-Man began in 2001 (i.e., scripts were written and production began before USM even existed). On top of that, it is well known that Raimi loved Spider-Man as a kid. It’s obvious he drew heavily from the original 616 Universe but had to update certain aspects for a modern audience.

    2. “I never said 616 Peter was “better” written than other versions (especially under Slott).”

      Okay, understood.

      “I said that 616 was “the” Spider-Man because he is the original. That is an important fact that should not be dismissed in any conversation about character.”

      I do find this to be the catch-22; right now, I’d argue that USM is far more faithful to the source material that current 616 Spider-Man, which is the continuation of that source material. Because of that, I find it hard to see any relevance with the 616 version when talking about the character, since that version really has nothing to do the “real” Spider-Man now, much less the versions that hold any meaning to me. I’m also kind of suspicious that that the non-616 versions of Peter Parker are the chance that the classic take on the character (him as a married blue-collar superhero and normal person) will survive Marvel and Slott’s botching of the 616 comics.

      “Once someone agrees with the premise that “any” character who calls himself Spider-Man is “the” Spider-Man, then it’s “game on” for anyone who would want 616 Peter dead and gone. No thanks. I will never agree to that premise.”

      Ah, I think I see the difference now. I was talking about alternate versions of Peter Parker, not different characters trying to take the Spider-Man mantle Dread Pirate Roberts-style like you seem to be. As I mentioned in a previous comment, I don’t think Spider-Man can be a legacy character that way, unless its his daughter taking up the mantle. I suppose that continuities where other characters were the ones bitten by the spider instead (like “Spider-Gwen”) also work technically, but then there’s the problem that I’m not interested in reading it.

      Thanks for the clarification on your end of things.

      “That is somewhat laughable, given that USM began in 2000 and filming for Raimi’s Spider-Man began in 2001 (i.e., scripts were written and production began before USM even existed).

      I am aware of that. I did specify that it was probably a coincidence. But the funny thing is that the Raimi movies have a LOT of similarities to Ultimate in their presentation. The first movie and first trade paperback feature Green Goblin. Mary Jane’s personality runs a similar spectrum, she’s Peter’s only serious love interest, took Gwen Stacy’s place at the bridge, and she briefly dated Harry Osborn before she and Peter got together. Gwen Stacy is NOT someone Peter is interested in (despite Mary Jane’s fears). “Spider-Man 3” gives Venom the “Eddie Brock, Jr.” name invented for Ultimate. There are a few others, but it’s a really similar set-up in a lot of ways. I should know. I’m a big fan of the that trilogy and the reason I’m also an USM fan is because of the strong parallels.

      So, for people who had seen any of the movies and want to check out the comics, yeah, I would say start with USM. It’s closer to the big screen versions, which I found made it easier to get into it. Your mileage may vary, of course.

      “On top of that, it is well known that Raimi loved Spider-Man as a kid. It’s obvious he drew heavily from the original 616 Universe but had to update certain aspects for a modern audience.”

      Yeah, certainly. I’m sure that a lot of the similarities (like the genetically engineered spider, giving Mary Jane a girl-next-door personality and making her Peter’s love interest from the start, and Green Goblin being the first supervillian) were because both of them were trying to make updates and consolidate the most iconic and notable elements from the decades old franchise, and they picked the most logical solutions.

      Sorry if I wasn’t clear about how I thought the movie and comic intersected.

    3. “I do find this to be the catch-22; right now, I’d argue that USM is far more faithful to the source material that current 616 Spider-Man, which is the continuation of that source material.”

      And the surest way to allow that to continue to happen is for me to shut up and just accept it. Why do you think Dan Slott “rage-reads” this blog, as another commenter said? Why do you think he is so upset with Spider-Man Crawlspace? It’s because both venues are willing to shine a giant spotlight on how ridiculous ASM has become.

      The sustained effort on this blog to push back against the nutty things Slott says and does regarding Peter Parker has had an impact. I know this from my blog stats (e.g., growth in readership, trackbacks from other websites), and his own reactions to the blog. I don’t expect someone whose love for Spider-Man began with USM to understand all my defense of 616, but I know that the vast majority of readers who are around my age or older get it. If I can convince guys like you of a few key points along the way, then I see that as a bonus.

      “Sorry if I wasn’t clear about how I thought the movie and comic intersected.”

      No need to apologize. 🙂 I’m always happy to hash things out with you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s