Spider-Man is dead. Long live Spider-Man! Marvel Comics announced today that a new webslinger will appear in this week’s Ultimate Comics Fallout #4. According to the Associated Press, the new Spidey is Miles Morales, a mixed-race teenager of half-black and half-Hispanic descent. It’s an intriguing shake-up for the Spider-Man character; Marvel superheroes tend to be personified by one iconic alter ego, as opposed to, say, the DC Universe, where roughly one million people have been the Flash. (This is the part of the post where I am contractually obligated to note that this new multi-ethnic Spider-Man is actually part of the “Ultimate” side-universe, and that good ol’ lily-white Peter Parker is still toodling along in the mainline Marvel universe. Comic books!)
Writer Brian Michael Bendis has always brought his distinctive sensibility to Ultimate Spider-Man, so I believe him when he tells the AP that making Spider-Man a black character is not just a PR stunt. (Bendis references Community star Donald Glover’s online plea to be cast as Spider-Man, a classic case of what-might-have-been.) And I’m kind of stoked to see Bendis striking out so completely on his own with the new character – it feels like, after years of cannily reworking old Spidey mythology, he’s embarking on his own mythmaking journey. Still, I’m always a bit skeptical about completely new secret identities – I’m a survivor of the Ben Reilly era – so let’s just cross our fingers here.
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