The second trailer for ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ (2018) has been released and has more given us more information regarding the story. In it, we now know the Kingpin is involved in an experiment with a technology capable of breaching the impossible and normally unbreakable barrier between parallel Universes.
Before we launch into the discussion, have a look at the trailer itself. If you’re watching on your desktop, pause the SCIFI.radio stream while you do so.
Ready? Here We Go ..
Using the Many Worlds Interpretation, the Marvel Universe has been broken into hundreds of parallel worlds, featuring Marvel’s experimentation with new characters, or new ways of remixing old characters.
Whenever Marvel feels their prime Universe getting stale, they create a new Universe, giving them the opportunity to revise, remix, remake and mashup different characters in hopefully new and exciting ways. Sometimes they migrate those characters to the main/canon Universe and there is much rejoicing. Some of the most famous of these experiments include: The Age of Apocalypse, the ‘Ultimate Marvel’ Universe, and the ‘Marvel 2099’ Universe.
Who is Miles Morales?
Miles Morales, is one such character, a hero which “migrated” from another Universe. Miles was created by Brian Michael Bendis, for the parallel Earth commonly called the ‘Ultimate Marvel’ Earth.
Ultimate Earth is also known more specifically as Earth-1610. In the comics, Ultimate Earth was an experiment in recreating the Marvel Universe from whole cloth. Rather than introducing characters across a window of thirty years, on this Earth, a single origin story was woven for all of these characters simultaneously and brought together with adult sensibilities with more modern expectations. This was a darker, more dangerous, less idealized Marvel Universe. It was a bold experiment and to some, one of Marvel’s more successful ones.
African-America and Latino, Morales lives in his world’s Brooklyn and will be bitten by a radioactive (or transgenic depending on who you ask) spider which will cause a transformation giving him a host of superhuman abilities similar to the original Spider-Man, with a few variations. On Earth-1610, he is the second person to have the name Spider-Man as Peter Parker did live and die while Miles was learning how to use his powers.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse appears to be set on a world similar to Earth-1610 but on this world, Peter Parker doesn’t appear to have ever existed. It also appears to fold in another comic series saga called “Spider-Verse” where we discover a means of traveling between worlds meeting variations of Spider-Man, some recreated from stories previously told, like Spider-Man 2099, others recreated from stories told in the canon comic Universe, and placed elsewhere for storytelling convenience (such as the Six-Armed Spider-Man who first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #100 but would later reappear on Earth-92100.) Try to keep up.
In the comic “Spider-Verse” multiple versions of Spider-Man from various media are under attack from one of Spider-Man’s most terrible villains, the Totem-destroying Morlun and his family, called the Inheritors.
The Morlun saga is one which redefined the Spider-Man canon, indicating his powers weren’t just scientific but magical or iconic in nature, connected to a spider-totem, a mystical ideal version of a spider embodied in a man, and Morlun was obligated to destroy such totems across the Marvel Multiverse.
Who are these other Spider-Folk in “Spider-Verse”?
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse appears to be fusing these two major sagas (Ultimate Marvel and the Spider-Verse Saga) together to create this movie from whole cloth, with neither being completely enacted, just pieces of each story telling something completely new. Hence, in this new reality, Miles is the only Spider-Man of his Universe, Peter is presumably from the canon Marvel Universe, and the subsequent Spider-Allies are from their own related, but slightly different Universes. Easter egg hunters, rejoice!
With the number of animated series and parallel Marvel Universes Marvel has created in the past, we are looking at a fusion of all of those properties in this new movie story, perhaps best thought of as a kid-friendly version I call “Spider-Verse Lite.”
I am hopeful they will do enough writing to merge all these stories together in a cohesive enough fashion, that you don’t need to know ANY of the background I just relayed in order to keep up. The story appears to include Peter Parker (presumably from Earth-616), Miles Morales (a still nascent Spider-Man) from Earth-1610 where presumably Peter Parker is already dead, if he ever existed. Hey Pete, you need a shave… It also seems to be including a number of other characters from the Spider-Verse saga including:
SP//dr Suit (Peni Parker) Peni is the daughter of Peter Parker who dies utilizing his technological suit and has decided to take on the mantle even though she is still not an adult. This suit appears to be a more child-friendly version of that character.
Spider-Man Noir, a version of Spider-Man from the 1930s who is waging a one-man war on crime in his Universe. Bitten by an illegally imported and highly-venomous spider, while secretly investigating a smuggling ring of ancient spider statues, he gained superhuman abilities. This Spider-Man was far more lethal than other versions of the character. Not only was he equipped with the standard suite of spider-powers, he was also a crack shot and willing to use a variety of firearms to deadly effect to avenge the deaths of Ben Parker and his reporting mentor, Ben Urich. He is likely an homage to another, more lethal, Pulp Era character called The Spider, complete with hat.
Spider-Gwen (Gwen Stacy) is from a Universe where she was bitten by the radioactive spider rather than Peter Parker. Instead of a shy young woman, she grows up to be smart, bold, adaptable and outspoken. Daughter of police detective George Stacy, she is being sought for the murder of Peter Parker, who was accidentally killed by Gwen after he injects himself with a serum he believed would give him superpowers and stop bullies from harassing him. She is also appearing in the Marvel animation series ‘Marvel Rising’ as the Ghost Spider.
Peter Porker the Spectacular Spider-Ham: Peter Porker existed on Larval Earth, which was an anthropomorphic universe where animals have intelligence and his world resembles the Marvel Earth-616 except with animals. Peter started life as a spider who was bitten by a radioactive May Porker and was transformed into a pig with spider-powers. He dedicates himself to fighting crime as the Spectacular Spider-Ham. This character is a strange but welcome addition to the lineup, considering most of his comic career has been nothing more than the opportunity to make jokes about the Marvel Universe. Porker’s origin is recounted in Peter Porker the Spectacular Spider-Ham #15.
Porker first appeared in the one-shot humor comic book Marvel Tails: Starring Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham #1 (1983), which was then followed by an ongoing bi-monthly series, Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham under Marvel’s Star Comics imprint. I’m certain his inclusion is both for levity and to balance the grim addition of Spider-Man Noir, a version of Spider-Man who is dark and brooding, but stylishly dressed.
All this information is great, but will it be GOOD?
If they can fuse these two major stories together, the Spider-Verse and the Earth-1610 Spider-Man as the lead, it appears there is enough fun and excitement for anyone who has been a fan of Spider-Man and particularly Miles Morales to last until they make a new movie featuring him. If we’re lucky. I suspect this movie will decide Miles’ fate in that regard.
Thaddeus Howze is an award-winning writer, editor, podcaster and activist creating speculative fiction, scientific, political and cultural commentary from his office in Hayward, California.
Thaddeus’ speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals. He has published two books, ‘Hayward’s Reach’ (2011), a collection of short stories and ‘Broken Glass’ (2013) an urban fantasy novella starring his favorite paranormal investigator, Clifford Engram.