Marvel comics has been teasing for a while that there will be an all-new character taking over the costumed identity of Spider-Man over in the pages of Ultimate Spider-Man and today they have made the official reveal.
The character’s name is Miles Morales, and he is a just your regular teenager from New York who will learn that with great power comes, well, you know the rest. The big surprise that is making waves around the comics community is that the character will, shock upon shock, be half-black, half-Hispanic. The character will make his first appearance in the pages of Ultimate Comics Fallout #4, out in stores on August 3, 2011 and will then go on to star in the new Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1, which comes out on September 14, 2011.
Check out the preview images from Ultimate Comics Fallout #4 here below.
Fallout #4 features stories written by Brian Michael Bendis, Jonathan Hickman, and Nick Spencer with art by Sara Pichelli, Salvador Larroca, and Clayton Crain. Once Ultimate Spider-Man relaunches, it will be written by Bendis and will be drawn by Pichelli.
The news was initially released on USA Today, and if you made the mistake of venturing into the Comments section (which, shame on you to begin with) you may have seen some particularly disgusting reactions to the news. Honestly, I don’t see what the big deal is. After the events of Death of Spider-Man, we knew that a new character was going to be taking over, so that’s not really a surprise. The only thing to be “shocked” about is the character’s ethnicity, and what difference does that really make? The story was always going to be about a new character trying to live up to the model of heroism that was established by Peter Parker. It doesn’t matter what the background of the character is, that’s all just set dressing. What’s important is how the writer will tell that story.
You could argue that Marvel is pandering to a portion of the audience that is asking for more culturally diverse characters, and that’s certainly possible. I can’t tell if Marvel is pandering with this story because I haven’t read it yet. If the story is executed well, it’s not pandering. If the story is poorly written and it’s obvious that the character’s race was changed just to try and get a few readers interested, then yes, they would be guilty of pandering to that audience. If the most interesting thing about the character is his ethnicity, then he’s a crappy character, and it does get me a little worried when Marvel makes the character’s ethnicity the center of their advertising. However, I think that Bendis is going to be able to make the character unique, and that his ethnicity will just be one facet of the character. I have to reserve judgment on it until I’ve read the story.
So my message is, calm down. It’s just comics. If you don’t like the direction that Marvel is taking Ultimate Spider-Man in, stop reading. It’s as simple as that. If you’ve been reading Ultimate Spider-Man for a while, you should have a certain amount of faith that Bendis will tell an interesting story with interesting characters. If this move prompts people to read Ultimate Spider-Man for the first time, awesome! Bendis is a great writer and Pichelli is a great artist who is just emerging in the business. She’s going to be a big name in a few years, so get in on the ground floor.
If you’ve been reading the series, will you still be picking up Ultimate Spider-Man, and if you haven’t been reading it, will this get you to take a chance on it?