Cinemagoers are by now pretty well acquainted with the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man known as Peter Parker, but may be surprised to learn that he is far from the only character to claim the superhero mantle.
Soon we will all be introduced to various Spider-Men and Spider-Women as we go tumbling Into the Spider-Verse, the upcoming animated feature from Sony that's set to bring a new approach to the comic book movie. Leading us through this web-slinging multiverse is a young man named Miles Morales, voiced by The Get Down's Shameik Moore.
So, who is this mysterious newcomer?
Introducing: Miles Morales
Miles Morales is the first African-American character to become Spider-Man, and was rightly celebrated for this victory in diversity. Not only that, Morales has proven to be a compelling character in his own right, his differences breathing new life into the beloved character, as well as giving a different perspective to the web-slinging heroics and everyday life of a kid in the Big Apple.
Before being given his own series in Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man back in 2011, Miles made his first appearance in print during the Ultimate Comics: Fallout arc, taking up the mantle of Spidey following the death of Peter Parker at the hands of the Green Goblin.
Initially sporting a costume similar to Parker, Morales ultimately decided to change his look after being told the red and blue duds were in poor taste. Emerging in a red and black ensemble, Morales has etched his own legacy as the heroic wall-crawler, all the while honouring his predecessor and the lesson that with great power comes great responsibility.
What are his abilities?
Bitten by a radioactive arachnid as Parker was, Miles shares many similarities with his well-known counterpart, including his ability to stick to walls, increased strength and agility as well as 'spider sense' – the ability to sense danger before it happens.
If that's not interesting enough for you, Miles is also imbued with a few powers that Parker lacks, including the ability to camouflage and a 'venom strike' that allows him to paralyse his adversaries with a single touch. Throughout his many adventures, Miles has used these extra tricks to get out of some notably sticky situations, and his powers no doubt offer all kinds of visual possibilities when it comes to his own spin-off movie.
With regards to Spider-Man's preferred method of transportation, web-swinging, Morales was gifted Parker's old web-shooters by Aunt May, although how this will play out in the Spider-Verse movie remains to be seen.
He's got a complex family history
Unlike Peter Parker – indeed, unlike many comic book superheroes – Miles Morales has the privilege of both parents… at least for a while. Born to an African-American father and Puerto Rican mother, Miles has the unenviable task of keeping his crime fighting dalliances a secret from them both, a hugely difficult task considering his father is a cop on the New York Police Department.
To make things more awkward, not all of Miles' family are on the side of justice, with his uncle Aaron Davis being quite the legend amongst the New York criminal underbelly. Known as The Prowler, Davis is a master thief with very few morals and sets in motion the events that lead to Miles' life-changing spider bite.
Interestingly, Davis exists in in the separate Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in live-action form, having appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming as played by Donald Glover. The amusing scene where he's confronted by Tom Holland's Spidey contains a crafty reference to his "nephew" being endangered by villain The Vulture's (Michael Keaton) weapons, a neat allusion to Miles and the Spider-Verse.
Miles Morales making his cinematic debut is a cause for celebration, as he has already proven in the pages of Marvel comics to be every bit as captivating and heroic as the more famous Peter Parker. So far, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse looks to be a very different movie for the crime fighting web-head and giving audiences a different Spider-Man to guide us through it is a stroke of genius.
Here's hoping this is only the beginning of Miles Morales' big screen career, one destined to kick off on 14th December. In other news, click here for the lowdown on Spider-Man: Far From Home, released in July 2019.
Jon Fuge is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.