Ultimate Spider-Man 2 Revealed to be Black-Hispanic
The Ultimate Universe’s next Spider-Man will be a half-black, half-Hispanic teen named Miles Morales. As revealed in today’s USA Today, the new Ultimate Spider-Man #1 will be the most radical next step in differentiating the imprint from the core Marvel Universe.
Brian Michael Bendis, one of the Ultimate Universe’s chief architects, will write the new series, debuting in September, with art from Sara Pichelli. But first, Morales will be introduced in this week’s Ultimate Fallout #4. The miniseries’ title refers to the repercussions felt in the superhero community over recent events including the death of Peter Parker.
“The theme is the same: With great power comes great responsibility,” Bendis told the newspaper. “He’s going to learn that. Then he has to figure out what that means.”
The notion of making Parker’s successor a man of color was partly inspired by the NBC series Community. Star Donald Glover had been campaigning via Twitter for consideration as the lead in the Sony reboot of the live-action film series, a role that was given to Andrew Garfield. Last fall, the season premiere featured Glover in Spider-Man pajamas. “He looked fantastic!” Bendis said. “I saw him in the costume and thought, ‘I would like to read that book.’ So I was glad I was writing that book.”
The Italian artist used Glover as the inspiration for Morales’ look much as the Ultimate Nick Fury was largely inspired by Samuel L. Jackson who went on to play Fury in the Marvel Universe film series beginning with Iron Man in 2008.
“It’s certainly long overdue,” Bendis said. “Even though there’s some amazing African-American and minority characters bouncing around in all the superhero universes, it’s still crazy lopsided.” It should be noted that the Spider-Man who operated with organic webshooters in the 2099 speculative future line of comics was a Hispanic named Miguel O’Hara. Morales will also be the product of a mixed heritage, much as Alonso himself is from a mix of cultures (his father is Mexican, his mother is British).
“What you have is a Spider-Man for the 21st century who’s reflective of our culture and diversity. We think that readers will fall in love with Miles Morales the same way they fell in love with Peter Parker,” Axel Alonso, Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief, told the paper. Parker’s supporting cast, including Gwen Stacy and Aunt May will figure in the early storylines.
Spider-Man was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1962 and by 1999 it was decided the series (and the larger Marvel Universe) was a little too insular for the casual reader. Then-president Bill Jemas decided a parallel line of books could take those core concepts and retell the stories using modern storytelling and characterizations. The Ultimate Universe was introduced in 2000 and was an immediate success, powered by Bendis and Mark Bagley’s Spider-Man. By 2010, though, the UU and MU were strikingly similar so things were dramatically shaken up in a series of cataclysmic events that shook the UU’s status quo, beginning with the wholesale slaughter of half the X-Men, including Wolverine. Those events continued to play out, leading to Spider-Man’s heroic sacrifice, taking a bullet from the Punisher, intended for Captain America.