So, in Ultimate Spider-Man 160, Green Goblin finally killed Peter Parker, finally giving the people what they would have loved to see in any of the films – Willem Dafoe (or James Franco, either works just fine) beating the smirk off Tobey Maguire’s face. Who knows, maybe it was a deleted scene from Secretariat the general public wasn’t privy to.
So now what? Who will take up the famous red and blue pjs? Or rather, the new black and red costume?
The Ultimate universe’s new Spidey is Miles Morales, a half-black, half-Latino young fella – a smart, progressive move by Marvel.
Smart, because it will certainly move some comics. Maybe not as many as the last issue with a half-black well-loved young fella on the cover, but it will certainly make headlines, and that always guarantees sales. Ask Marilyn Manson; it worked well for him in the ’90s.
Progressive because, despite what North Americans claim, we are not past skin colour yet. The Thor protests, the hunt for Obama’s birth certificate and the existence and success of the Tea Party have all proven that. One day, a beige superhero will not even be a news item. But right now, it is, and the more moves that mega media outlets like Marvel make to ensure race doesn’t matter, the closer we get to a world where everyone is on equal footing.
Granted, a non-white superhero isn’t a first in comics, there have been approximately a billion. But never before has one so big been killed and replaced with a half-black, half-Latino teenager (although that would be one hell of a Superman run). And you know what? It’s refreshing.
Looking past the skin colour, it is refreshing just to see someone knew rocking the web shooters. Miles Morales affords Brian Michael Bendis the opportunity to construct a wholly new Spider-Man myth. New characters interacting with familiar ones, new one-liners, maybe some new villains, all of the ways Morales’ tale can be stretched – should be a breath of fresh (taxi exhaust-free) air.
Still, it’s early to gauge the public’s response, but it should be interesting to see the praise and backlash. At the very least, we can expect a completely backwards misinterpretation courtesy of Fox News.