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    Ultimately, the issue with Miles Morales

    Ultimately, the issue with Miles Morales

    Normally, I would put a preface of SPOILERS INBOUND! or something to that effect. But considering that the death of Ultimate Marvel’s Peter Parker was all on every news institution imaginable  (like, even on Fox News everywhere), I feel that would be a bit unnecessary. What I am going to do is tell you what you need to know so that everything else makes sense.

    So, way back in the prehistoric era of 2000, Marvel decided to try out a “rebooted univserse” of their comic book lines. The idea was if there were offshots of their comics that pretty much started over at Page 1, there would be a new audience that would have no issue just jumping in. Turns out they were right, and after Ultimate Spider-Man came out a whole crapload of new lines in the Ultimate universe – although that mostly consists of just the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and the absurdly awesome Ultimates/Avengers.

    In 2011, Marvel killed of Ultimate Peter Parker and replaced him with the 13 year old half African/half Latin American Miles Morales. Now you know everything you need to know.

    So this is about more so the death of Ultimate Marvel’s Peter Parker, and less so than Miles Morales. But I feel that one cannot talk about the former without talking about the latter. After all, the entire reason that Brian Michael Bendis decided to kill off Peter Parker in the first place was because he wanted to have a black Spider-Man. It was originally going to happen in 2009, during the critically panned Ultimatum crossover arc, but they decided against it and pushed it off to 2011.

    And at its root, that is the biggest problem with killing off Peter Parker. It wasn’t because they felt it was right for the story to end, or for any other creative choice. They just wanted a black Spider-Man.

    “The Death of Spider-Man” is the six issue arc that sets the stage for Peter’s demise. In many ways, some comparisons can be drawn to the 2012 film “The Dark Knight Rises”. Both deal with the fall of a hero, but whereas Peter Parker’s demise is entirely biological (he dies) , Batman’s death is idealogical (Wayne retires from the cloak and fakes his death). However, “The Dark Knight” has that theme at its very core. The idea of death and resurrection, and how a symbol is eternal, is at the very core of the film. The entire film just resonates with a sense of fatality. With “Death”, the concept of Peter Parker having to wrestle with the mortal consequence of his actions is only put into place halfway through the run, and even then it is barely touched upon. There is no thematic connection in the arc with the finale – ultimately, Peter just dies. Because he does.

    Well, that isn’t entirely true. he does have to face off against a fair amount of his Rogues Gallery, but at the end he dies. But his death has no thematic or narrative resonance with the arc. It doesn’t feel like a conclusion to Peter Parker’s story. In fact, it feels like he was going to wake up in a hospital bed in the next issue. There’s no real indication that he is going to die – he had faced worse odds and lived after all! Hell, he had even gotten shot and he didn’t die from that before. So why would he now?

    Because Bendis wanted to make room for Miles Morales.

    What is even more mind boggling is that, chances are, Peter won’t stay dead forever. This is Marvel people – they killed off Captain America once and they brought him back again. In superhero comics, death isn’t the end so much as it is just the characters taking an extended nap. In the New Ultimates Jeph Loeb had recently brought Thor back from the dead, and in the middle of “Ultimate Fallout” Thor reminisces on his lost heroic comrades that are now celebrating their new lives in Asgard – including Peter Parker. There is no reason for us to think that Peter won’t find his way back onto the mortal plane. If they wanted to – and in due time they will – they could find a way for Peter to be alive again and put on the Spidey suit.

    Now, some people may read this and think that I am venting some anger over Peter being pushed aside for a boring new character. That is not true – Miles is a good character. He is as relatable as a 13 year old can be, he has a good arc and is written fairly well. But Bendis does not use his background to his fullest – ultimately, his skin color makes no difference on his perceptions of being a super hero. What is the point of having an African Spider-Man if you aren’t going to take advantage of that?

    I suppose that is my biggest issue with the whole thing. Not that Peter Parker was killed, but that he was killed for a character that does nothing new with being Spider-Man.

    May 27, 201342 commentsRead More