Whatever a Spider Can: Secrets Behind Miles Morales’ Spider-Man Abilities
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse created a buzz around Miles that was undeniable. The movie was a critically-acclaimed success, winning both an Oscar, a Critic’s Choice Award, and a Golden Globe award for Best Animated Feature Film. As seen in the movie, Miles exhibits a wide array of superpowers, some foreign and some familiar to Spider-fans. Let’s take a deeper look into the Ultimate Spider-Man’s arsenal of spider-themed abilities.
A Historic Origin Story
Every hero has an origin story, and Miles is no different. Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli first introduced Miles Gonzalo Morales to the public with Ultimate Fallout #4, his debut issue, in August of 2011. However, he was conceptualized just a few months before historic November 2008 when Alex Alonso- once Marvel’s editor-in-chief- thought it would be something particularly special to break the mold and give audiences more of the diverse representation they wanted and deserved in the popular superhero universe.
Brian Michael Bendis drew his inspiration for Miles’ look and first appearance from a popular television show called Community, in which Donald Glover is seen in the season’s second premiere portraying Troy Barnes in Spider-Man pajamas (a scene which was an Easter egg in Into the Spider-Verse!). Sara Pichelli designed his signature black and red costume with a more modern, pop feel in mind, finding that it would be more in line with the rest of the story that way.
Whatever a Spider Can
Miles was bitten by a spider, that we all know for sure, but what powers did that spider grant?
Naturally, the ability to stick to walls and ceilings with his hands and feet comes with the Spider-Man package. Miles is able to navigate this ability to spider-perfect heights, scaling the sides of buildings and the ceilings of dormitories. Not only can he stick to walls, he can also move as quickly as a spider. Those who are fearful of these insects know just how fast a spider can move, but translating that into a human body grants significant speeds beyond even track athletes.
Being a superhero requires extreme stamina and durability, which Miles thankfully has now that he’s been chomped by an arachnid. Fatigue is much slower to catch up to this superhero, and that makes for very convenient crime-fighting skill. Miles can reportedly exert his body for several hours more than the average human before he begins to feel the effects of exhaustion.
Of the abilities visible and invisible, Miles’ ability to balance his equilibrium has got to be one of the coolest. He can balance on even the smallest objects, no matter how narrow, and not even wobble. This is something most people don’t think about; equilibrium is taken for granted, but Miles – and every Spider-Man – needs it desperately to navigate the world and safely save cities from harm. Just consider the dizzying heights and speeds encountered while web-slinging through town to catch criminals! Combined with his superhuman reflexes, he makes for a tough opponent.
Spider-Man and Venom
Two of the most fascinating abilities Miles exhibits are not powers that most other Spider-heroes have: his Venom Strike and the ability to camouflage. The venom strike is not actually related to producing venom at all, contrary to its name; it is a powerful bio-electrokinesis tactic that stuns the enemy by using the natural electricity in the body and directing it into a well-placed strike. This ability can be effectively utilized in combat to buy time, sneakily surprise foes, or even foil a villain and their plot.
Miles isn’t limited to using his venom strike on people; it also works on machines that might be sensitive to an overload of electricity, giving him the ultimate tool to ruin doomsday devices. Later on in his own solo comics, he discovers the Mega Venom Blast, powerful enough to leave him feeling absolutely exhausted in the shambles of half a building. It can only be triggered in extreme stress or with extreme concentration, so it takes a lot to get to this point.
Miles’ camouflage is among the more unique aspects of his character that really sets him apart from other Spider-heroes. This is a power of his that is highlighted, as no other Spider-Man appears to be able to replicate it naturally. Not only can Miles blend in with his surroundings perfectly, but he’s able to blend his clothes in as well, making this superpower very similar to invisibility. He can effectively use this power to hide from enemies and get a surprise sneak-attack in, or lie low and wait until people have left the scene of the crime in order to study the remnants of evildoings.
Good Ol’ Spidey Sense
Last but not least is that good old Spider Sense. Miles does indeed have it, and it alerts him of danger just as every other Spider-Man. Unfortunately, it seems that Miles’ version of Spider Sense is only able to alert him of immediate danger, and doesn’t have the ability to be very proactive.
In Into the Spider-Verse, we also see the Spider Senses coming into play when Miles encounters other Spider-Men, including but not limited to Spider-Gwen, Peni Parker, Spider-Ham, and Spider-Noir in his debut film. In this instance, it seems to play the role of an ‘alert’ that the others are similar to him, in that they all also possess Spider powers.
Miles Morales is an amazing part of the Marvel universe, and his jump to the silver screen as a part of Sony’s Spider-Verse was a smashing success.
His powers run the gamut from traditional web-slinging and wall-climbing to unique abilities like Venom Strikes and camouflage, making him a whole new type of hero. He’s incredible and formidable as a superhero, but what makes Miles special is his message to all of us: anyone can wear the mask.
What Spider-power featured in the Marvel Universe is your favorite? Let Your Geek Sideshow and tell us in the comments!