On June 11th, with the announcement of PS5, Playstation released a trailer for a new Spider-man game. The surprise for fans was not that the film featured a different kind of spider to what audiences are normally used to. Yes, Brian Michael Bendis’ Miles Morales Spider-man was finally getting his own game.
Of course, a lot of question arose from this announcement. Would this be a sequel or a standalone side game to the previous PS4 Insomniac game? How will Miles Morales differ from Peter Parker both story-wise but also with gameplay? What villains and other heroes might feature in this new game?
I hope that they do Miles Morales justice. The character created in 2011 is probably one of the most popular superheroes of colour ever created, and definitely one of the most popular and successful superheroes of colour created in the last decade.
While I first came to love this version because he was someone who looked like me taking on the legendary mantle, Sony’s Into The Spiderverse made me love the character all the more. What makes Miles great, like Kamala Khan (Ms Marvel), is that he is always trying to live up to this great responsibility of being just like Peter but instead learns how to do it his way becoming a Spider-man completely different to Peter, being his own Spider-man. This is kind of what the MCU is trying to do with its Peter and Tony relationship but Peter is still completely overshadowed by the stardom of Iron Man thus far.
Hopefully, the same won’t happen in the game and Miles can shine with his own villains and heroes, not just friends and enemies of Peter. Plus as an Afro-Latino, he is the perfect role model for today’s audience, like Peter was when he was first introduced as a working-class hero. Maybe one day, children will be growing up seeing Miles as Spider-man.
If you are unaware about who Miles Morales is, here’s a brief summary. Miles Morales debut in 2011 after the death of Peter Parker in an alternate universe than the main Marvel comic storyline. Upon being bitten by a spider, he decides to take over where Peter left off, becoming a new Spider-man and the rest is history. While the comics mostly focuses on the storyline of Miles trying to live up to the Spider-man name, what was truly special in Sony’s Into the Spiderverse, was the fact that he became his own Spider-man not just another Spider-man. Plus Miles stands out due to his heritage, being born to a Peurto Rican mother and African-American father which brings a whole other angle to the Spider-man story.
On to the actual storyline of the game, the first thing I want to talk about is what is going to be done with Spider-man. When Miles is originally introduced in the comics, his emergence comes with Peter’s death and a similar thing happens with Into The Spiderverse. However, I don’t think this will be done in the game both because it would be overdone (like Uncle Ben dying) and Peter doesn’t need to die for Miles to take on the mantle.
Into The Spiderverse showed the beauty of having a Peter to show him the way, like the mentor Peter never had but I think the game will instead be throwing Miles into the deep end by having Peter called away forcing Miles to look after the city in his place. In addition, in terms of Uncle Ben inspiration through death that has technically already happened with the death of Miles’ dad, Jefferson Davis, in the first game. This has set up a perfect role model for Miles to look up to as Jefferson, despite not having powers risked his life to save Peter twice, the second time being fatal. I hope we get to see Miles cope with this death and see how this shapes him as a different kind of Spider-man. I am also looking forward to seeing him use his other abilities such as venom blast (electric shock) and camouflage.
I think the perfect villain/antagonist is the Prowler. Not only is he one of Miles’ most popular villains, apart from maybe Miles’ scary dragon version of Green Goblin, but he would also work perfectly for the storyline. The Prowler aka Aaron Davis is Miles’ uncle and in the comics, he’s the first family member to work out Miles’ identity. Unfortunately, he is also a cat burglar. He is never really a big boss type of villain, always working for one criminal boss or another but he is also cunning and looks out only for himself. In the comics, he manipulates Miles into helping him with his criminal activities, which is why he’d make a perfect antagonist.
Miles is still starting out and learning how to be a hero which could see him being manipulated by his uncle. Furthermore, in the comics, Miles finds out that his father Jefferson used to carry out criminal acts with Aaron when he was younger before leaving that life and his brother behind him. I feel like this plot could add a conflicting point for Miles as he tries to live up to the memory of his father. In the trailer, we see a short scene where someone moving superfast is being chased by Miles which could actually be the Prowler.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the Prowler is big villain material, or at least not enough to fit a full game. He may be the final boss in an emotional fight towards the end of the game and pop up throughout but he doesn’t have the underlings or the organisation for it to fit a game, yet he may be part of the organisation that are the main villains of the story, a bit like the Prowler in Into The Spiderverse.
As for who the other villains might be, we could get some d-list villains that Miles’ journey starts in the comics such as Kangaroo and Batroc the Leaper. I kind of want to see Bombshell in the Miles Morales story; a mother and daughter villain duo where the daughter eventually falls for Miles and tries to be a hero or have Gwen Stacy, Peter’s first love, introduced hinting at Ghost Spider maybe eventually arriving on the scene. Maybe even bring in Venom and the symbiotes as a reference to Venom’s friendship in the comics with Miles. I guess we’ll find out more as time goes on.
Finally, I guess the last question is what is going to happen with the main characters of the previous game. Mary Jane, Norman Osborn, Doctor Octopus etc. I don’t think any of these spidey characters will show up or be that prominent in the Miles Morales game and instead will be saved for when Miles rejoins Peter, or a Peter Spider-man sequel game. With the death of Aunt May in the first game, a massive character in Spider-man lore, it feels like they are closing off that story for now and as I said before, these characters will make Peter’s Spider-man and Peter’s story overshadow Miles. They might show up for a scene or 2 but won’t be quite as big. Of course, we may still have Norman’s private military group and Silver Sable show up and Miles might have to communicate with Captain Yuriko Watanabe. However, I don’t think we will get an answer to what was in that green vat in Norman’s lab in this game.
Looking forward to the comic book and Into The Spiderverse tie-ins in the game and finding out how Insomniac turns Miles into his own Spider-man, not just a diverse version of Peter. This representation is important but it also must be done well.