Spider-Man Miles Morales–Prequel novel springboards the webslinger into the PlayStation game

Review by C.J. Bunce

Comic book readers knew him first when he was created in 2011 from the mind of Brian Michael Bendis in the pages of Marvel Comics, then in 2018 Miles Morales took the world by storm in the groundbreaking animated movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, one of the best animated films that year.  A new novel for teens fleshes out the young superhero as he moves to a new neighborhood and experiences a new generation’s take on the teen angst once exhibited in the comics pages of newspapers everywhere by his mentor, Peter Parker.  Spider-Man Miles Morales: Wings of Fury is a prequel novel (not a comic book) to the new PlayStation game Spider-Man: Miles Morales from Insomniac Games and Sony, but it’s a story that can appeal to anyone beaten up and battered around by life and circumstance.

Part of the quickly expanding universe of Marvel novels from Titan Books, Spider-Man Miles Morales: Wings of Fury easily fits into the events following the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse animated movie.  His father having been killed in the line of duty, Miles’s mom is moving across town in New York City to a new neighborhood in Spanish Harlem, meaning Miles is moving into a dorm for his private school back in Brooklyn.  Miles is adjusting to the changes thanks to his friend and new roommate, Ganke, and Peter Parker, who looks in on him and tries to guide him in the way of the web-suited hero types.

The key theme of the story is staying the high road, especially when confronted with battling your enemies, not stooping to using your enemies’ methods to fight your battles.  Miles’ struggles are in part those of any mixed race teen living in a big inner-city metropolis.  He’s nearly arrested because of his skin color, which causes him to assess what makes himself different from the other Spider-Man in town.  But he acknowledges that also means he’s the new superhero, so he tries to bring in the old pro, although that’s not always often enough.

The plot parallels the coming of age growth of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially in Spider-Man: Homecoming.  That Spidey had a mentor in Iron Man, while Miles has Peter.  The villain is also Vulture, and as in Spider-Man: Homecoming, his only real relationship with a girl is with Vulture’s offspring–here it’s Vulture’s granddaughter instead of his daughter as in the movie.  The parallel threads work because in its essence Miles Morales is another incarnation of the same Peter Parker readers have known for nearly sixty years.

Author Brittney Morris populates the story with many New York City references that will likely appeal to readers in the city, but will probably get lost on everyone else.  But that local flavor also reflects that this is a kid with his own quirks and preferences who could be living in any town.  It’s a definite plus that the novel skips the origin story for Miles, despite being the first novel in the Titan library of Marvel stories, as it allows readers to jump into the action.  It also will have a familiar vibe for fans of David Liss’s Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover novel.  Miles’ inner monologue is easy to read along with, and although this is targeted at young teen audiences, it will appeal to Spidey fans of any age.

A good read for fans of the character and anyone interested in the new game, Spider-Man Miles Morales: Wings of Fury is available now here at Amazon.  The PlayStation game is available here at Amazon, and you can pre-order Spider-Man Miles Morales: The Art of the Game now here at Amazon.

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