EDITOR’S NOTE: With the opening of “Amazing Spider-Man 2,” Comic Riffs contributor David Betancourt is focusing on facets of Spidey’s world. Today, we talk with Ultimate writer Brian Michael Bendis about his Miles Morales relaunch.
AFTER YET another earth-shattering event that saw the world almost end and major heroes die in Marvel Comics “ultimate” universe, there is only one sure thing: Miles Morales is the ultimate Spider-Man.
It’s been nearly three years since Morales was introduced to the comic-book world after the death of the ultimate universe version of Peter Parker/Spider-Man. In that time, Morales has gone from an inexperienced and reluctant hero (even going so far as not putting on his Spidey-suit for more than a year, after his hero-status cost his mother her life) to a leader of other teen heroes (helping form a new teenage Ultimates team) who is accepting of his role as the all-new Spider-Man.
“I am gigantically relieved that people took to Miles, because there’s a lot going on with the creation of Miles that could have blown up in my face,” said co-creator Brian Michael Bendis, who has been writing Morales’s adventures since the character debuted in 2011.
Morales gets a relaunch this month, starring in “Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man,” a new series that features an older, more mature but still very inquisitive Spider-Man who is still learning on the job.
Bendis says that in this new series, Morales must step up to fill the void left by the many departed heroes who lost their lives in the mini-series “Cataclysm: The Ultimates’ Last Stand.”
“There’s been a power shift in the ultimate universe. Some heroes have gone away and there’s a hole that needs to be filled, and Miles had a choice to either stand up and fill that hole or not,” Bendis told The Post’s Comic Riffs.
“He decided to [step up] and it’s a major life decision that you can never back down from, and that’s where we are in the relaunch of the story starting very soon.”
Although that’s a daunting task for a Spider-Man who’s still figuring things out, it pales in comparison to the other major event that Bendis says Morales will face while under his bug-eyed mask: teenage romance.
“We’re heading into the romantic teenage years, where [Miles] is going to have a girlfriend and make a lot of dumb mistakes that you make because you were in love with somebody and you don’t know what the repercussions are, even though Peter Parker already died for them,” Bendis said. “But you’re a teenager and you’re going to do what you’re going to do.”
Miles will have to decide whether to let his girlfriend, Kate Bishop, know of his secret life as a wall-crawler, or continue to come off flaky as he explains missed dates and multiple bruises.
Bendis says that Miles will have one advantage Peter Parker never had while dealing with his dating issues: access to Peter’s former love interests.
“What’s cool is that he has Spider-Man’s girlfriends around. So the very first issue, he’ll go to Mary Jane and say, ‘Should I tell my girlfriend I’m Spider-Man,’ and she immediately has a flashback of Green Goblin throwing her off of a bridge. We’re going to see Peter’s world through Miles’s eyes to see what decisions he makes based on that.”
Morales must also cope with the loss of his parents. His mother suffered an unexpected death by a villain he was in battle with, and his father, though still alive, abandoned Miles after he revealed that he was Spider-Man.
“Something happened way before Miles was born to his father that rattles him to his very core and we don’t know what it is yet,” Bendis said.
“And Miles was hoping that just being honest with his father would get them to a new place, and instead his father just abandoned him. So Miles is without a mother and a father,” Bendis said. “It’s a very unique Spider-Man story because they’re just dealing with a different family dynamic. Loss is a part of it. Power and responsibility is a part of it, and it’s just unfolding differently for Miles than it did for Peter.”
One other family dynamic that Morales never dealt with within the pages of Ultimate Spider-Man, but which was a controversial issue upon his debut, is his biracial background. Bendis says that the half-black, half-Puerto Rican Spider-Man he helped create continues to inspire a very diverse group of supportive fans.
“Literally, my every day is filled with people of all different racial makeups and backgrounds coming to me and saying the nicest things in the world,” Bendis said. “It’s never not emotional. It’s always something very impassioned and very human. I’m overwhelmed by the response.”
You can follow David Betancourt on Twitter at @adcfanboy.