⚡ Thunderdomer ⚡
True & Honest Fan
- Feb 3, 2013
In the original Spider-Man game for PS4, the main low-level villains Peter Parker fights are drug dealers. This isn't the case Spider-Man: Miles Morales; instead, Miles busts up arms dealers.
While these fights essentially are the same in terms of combat mechanics and their relevance to each game's main narrative, this is more than a surface-level change. In fact, it has significant implications, addressing the personal history of each character, as well as real-world concerns.
The original Spider-Man, Peter Parker, was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko and has become a household name. Most people know Peter as the awkward nerd depicted in the movies but are less familiar with most of his classic comic stories, such as his struggles watching his friend Harry Osborn succumb to addiction.
Miles Morales was created by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli as part of the Ultimate Universe and became Spider-Man after the Ultimate Universe's Peter Parker died. He was bitten by one of the same spiders that also bit Peter, granting him similar powers, plus bio-electricity and invisibility. Miles's mother is Puerto Rican, and his father is a Black cop who dislikes superheroes, giving him a very different perspective and family dynamic than Peter had growing up. As a Black LatinX superhero, Miles's very existence has been treated as a political act (both by the real-world fandom community and other characters within the Marvel Universe). When Insomniac Games decided to make Miles stop weapons deals instead of drug deals, it was an equally political decision.
In the original PS4 Spider-Man game, Peter Parker comments about how much he hates drugs and regularly interrupts the nonviolent crime of drug dealing by using extreme super-powered violence. He also jokingly calls himself "Spider-Cop" and works alongside the NYPD in ways that many fans have found distasteful, given the real NYPD's regular use of excessive force against young BIPOC and LatinX men--acts of violence exacerbated by the War on Drugs. Since Peter's friend Harry Osborn battled with addiction, he has a reason to dislike drugs. However, these actions and others have resulted in the game being decried as copaganda.
Miles's relationship with the police is a little more complicated, considering his father's job with the NYPD. Unlike Peter's law-and-order approach to superheroics, Miles is primarily motivated by helping his community. He frequently tells criminals not to act up in his neighborhood. That neighborhood, Harlem, has been subjected to police violence because of the Drug War, as has his old neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales actively works to be more socially conscious than its predecessor. One of the two main villains is the Roxxon Corporation, which is gentrifying Harlem and whose paramilitary thugs try to gun Miles down in a scene reminiscent of real-world police killings of unarmed Black men. Miles tries to stop Roxxon for the same reason he tries to stop weapons dealers: they threaten people's safety in his community.
There is also a basis for his dislike of weapons dealers rooted in the comics. After Miles was incorporated into the main Marvel Universe, the weapons designer/dealer Ceres Goldstein became one of his recurring villains. She provided equipment to the mob boss Hammerhead and gave his uncle Aaron a new Prowler suit, forcing Aaron to return to crime.
Given his experiences in the comics and his experience as a young biracial man growing up in New York, it makes sense that Miles would have different priorities than Peter. But he cares about keeping his community safe from harm, which is why he fights arms dealers.
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