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Spider-Man: Miles Morales - Representation At Its Fullest

Spider-Man: Miles Morales - Representation At Its Fullest

PlayStation has released unbelievable titles in the past few years, like God of War and The Last of Us Part II. Fans of games and comic books alike were all excited when PlayStation had their hands on Marvel’s Spider-Man. The game proved itself to be one of the best games of 2018 and left many wanting more. With Miles playing an intricate part in the first game, it was only a matter of time before PlayStation would keep quiet on the next installment. While seen from a mile away, it was welcomed nonetheless when Miles Morales swung his way into the gaming verse. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is more than just another Spider-Man game; it is the opportunity for players to be superheroes through a different lens.

Origins of Miles Morales

Miles Morales’ origin is historical and creative, taking the risk of introducing a new character to the Spider-verse. Spider-Man’s conception was always one of relatability that one could easily see themselves donning the costume. Many relate to Peter Parker’s life of being a young high-schooler who doesn’t think they could ever leave their mark on the world. For decades, Peter Parker, as Spider-Man, was someone many kids read and watched, believing that they too could help those around them even without the spider powers. That they also could be superheroes. Despite Peter Parker inspiring so many young kids worldwide, it's difficult to ignore that some could not fully see themselves as web-slingers.

Back in 2008, while at the precipice of America electing its first African-American President, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Sara Pichelli found that it was time to relook one of Marvel’s icons. Miles’ integration into the gaming world is significant because no longer does one get just to read or watch him, but you get to be him. It should not go unnoticed that people of colour couldn’t wait to get their hands on this game. To be able to see someone of the same hue be Spider-Man.

Marvels Spider Man Miles Morales 04 PS5 Fidelity 2

As Miles Morales

Being Afro-Latino, Miles brings an entirely new culture to the Spider-Man games, and they spend time showing a biracial and bilingual household. This aspect is crucial as there isn’t too much representation of bilingual families in many videogames. Through the game, you hear Miles speak specific Spanish phrases while you’re beating up mobs, and almost exclusively spoken between him and his mother. The game makes a considerable effort showing both of Miles’ cultures and does not let you ignore them. His affinity towards science and how he applies his knowledge throughout the game is a critical reflection. While still a teenager, he and his childhood friend Phin created an energy converter featured in an Oscorp exhibit. He also, with the help of his friend Ganke, creates his gadgets and suits. All of these point towards having a genius-like intellect.

Miles’ science-orientated mind has always been critical in the comics as young Black and Latino kids are invalidated for their affinity to STEM academics. The lack of representation in those fields, and the constant discouragement from society, even teachers, can make young kids of colour hesitant to pursue a career in those fields. Just seeing Miles as intelligent as he is, validates those kids who are smart like him and attempts to ease the decades-long damage of disregarding science affiliated Black and Latinx people.

As Spider-Man

Throughout the story, Miles is a bit disheartened at his inability to match Peter. Miles is seen as too hard on himself for not being the Spider-Man that he thinks he should be instead of himself. His conversation with Ganke about being Spider-Man is meaningful to children of colour who feel out of place. We play this game with the illusion that we could be Spider-Man too. Miles struggles with that early on in the game and doesn't truly see himself as Spider-Man. There could be several reasons why he feels like that. It could be because he has never had to fight the same types of villains that Peter has fought, or that he has too much to live up to as Peter has been Spider-Man for a long time. It could also be the game’s way of calling back when Miles Morales was inked and written, the backlash that Marvel received for having an Afro-Latino Spider-Man.

Critics found it as pandering for Marvel to have someone like Miles be the new Spider-Man, completely ignoring that Black and Latino people exist and want to see themselves swinging through New York City too. Miles faces many obstacles with people not truly seeing him as Spider-Man; he has to build trust and show that he can be reliable to his community. When Miles saves Harlem from Roxxon and their poisonous Nuform, serves his community as both Spider-Man and Miles, he finds his way of connecting to the people who live amongst him. He gains the trust and appreciation of those he has saved, and they show that he belongs to the neighbour with various gestures. This offers an important message, especially to those who could not get behind Miles being Spider-Man, that there are no limitations to who can be a hero. No matter what they look like.


Insomniac Games took its time paying attention to creating empowering women of colour. In a world and community where representation for women of colour is almost non-existent, they made sure to include several women who play essential roles in the game’s story. Rio Morales plays a massive part in this game and Miles’ life. Her time as a teacher influenced Miles’s academic pursuits. After her husband’s death, an esteemed teacher turned politician, Rio Morales, decides to take up the mantle to voice her community needs.


Rio Morales For City Council2

Rio Morales

While watching the game’s story unfold, you get a glimpse into what Rio Morales is all about. She isn’t just the mother of Spider-Man; she’s solidified herself within a role that is just as important. Building her career as an educator, she eventually found her calling directly amongst the people. As a woman of colour in politics, she’s thrust herself into a position where people who look like her lack the most representation. The game isn’t silent about her running for office nor are they silent about the importance of voting in general.

A rally scene in the game shows you just how much she’s needed and how excited Harlem is to have her running for a city council seat. Her fight against Roxxon is significant and highlights some real-world companies knowingly allowing toxic substances to infiltrate marginalized communities. Rio is a down-to-earth character, not just because she isn’t superpowered, but because of her humanity and compassion.

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Ever since the trailer for the game was released, people were excited about the story the game was going to tell. Miles Morales as Spider-Man, after all this time, has been influenced by his heritage as Afro-Latino. Everything that the game shows and expresses were done to highlight Black and Latino culture. For instance, Harlem has a large and historically African American culture, and it’s displayed extensively, showing that the team paid attention to every detail.

Insomniac Games isn’t silent about how important it is to have someone like Miles, nor should they be ignored. This should not be taken as a political issue because it isn't. Representation isn’t political. Representation is about people and whether those who need to be represented are. Latinx lives are not political. Black lives are not political.

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Kasey B Burgess

Kasey B Burgess

Staff Writer

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