Miles Morales has a lot on his plate. Between school, a crush, and being a superhero, he’s pretty full up on things to worry about. But when a glitchy superpower and a sketchy history teacher get him in trouble at school, Miles has to worry about strange nightmares and newfound concerns about what his family’s past means for him. And above all, Miles has to set things right – before he gets too caught up in his own head.
At the risk of sounding too much like an English teacher, I really loved the theme of struggling against the past in Miles Morales: Spider-Man. This book really shows how every character’s struggle with moving beyond the events in the past drove the events of the present. Miles’s fear of becoming like his father and uncle once were paralyzes him, forcing him to evaluate his every move time and time again, hoping that he’s truly doing the right thing. Miles’s father’s past motivates him to watch out for Miles as himself and as Spider-Man in order to protect him. His history teacher glorifies slavery, which drives his blatant racism and the way he treats Miles and his classmates. All of them have to face the past in one way or another, then accept it in order to move into the present.
Through all of this, I love that Miles remains a high school kid. Sure, he may be facing school troubles that are a little more supernatural than usual, but he’s still just a teenager. He’s almost as worried about confessing to his crush as he is about the problems Spider-Man faces in the city. He’s as human as he is a superhero – which makes him all the more real.
Yours in love and literature, Page.
Content warning(s): racism, glorification of slavery, violence, death
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