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Miles Morales Suffered A Tragic Family Death In Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man Comics

Contains spoilers for "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse"

Across the different Marvel timelines, one significant and unfortunate commonality often exists among most heroes anointed some variation of "Spider-Man" in their universes — they lose someone close to them, creating a defining moment of loss that often drives them to become a hero or to be a better one. Peter Parker lost Uncle Ben. Gwen Stacy's Spider-Woman lost her version of Peter. Ben Reilly lost his girlfriend (or thought he did), Janine Godbe. In the film "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse," these tragic moments are referred to as canon events – events that must happen to keep the universe in balance.

In the animated film, Miles Morales' canon event is the prophesied death of his father, Jefferson Davis. He's told his dad becoming captain on his Earth leads to his eventual demise. The news puts Spider-Man at odds with Spider-Man 2099 and the Multiversal Spider Society, with the young hero attempting to prevent the event from happening, regardless of what happens to the Multiverse as a result. However, in the comics, Morales didn't lose his father. Instead, the earliest adventures in the Ultimate Universe featured Miles losing his mother, Rio Morales, in one of the saddest storylines for the web-slinger.

Miles Morales mother suffered a tragic fate in the comics

In 2011's "Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man" #22 by Brian Michael Bendis, Sara Pichelli, Justin Ponsor, and VC's Cory Petit from Marvel Comics, Miles Morales deals with his father suffering a serious injury at the hands of the villain Venom (Conrad Marcus). The symbiote sets his sights on Brooklyn General, believing Jefferson Davis is the real Spider-Man. Miles arrives on the scene and uses a series of venom attacks to try to contain the killer monster. However, when Venom wraps his tendrils around Miles' head, Rio Morales shoots the symbiote, angering him. Venom covers Miles in his alien being, leading Rio to plead with him to let her son go. Distracted, Spider-Man manages to hit Venom with an electric charge, separating him from his symbiote. The police ended up shooting the villain dead, but accidentally shoot Rio at the same time.

Upon seeing his mother bleeding, Miles screams for a doctor's help. But, as she begins to lose more and more blood, she tells Miles never to tell their dad about his superhero persona before dying in her son's arms. Miles wakes up the next day and is reminded of his mom being killed in the shootout with Venom. In an emotional response, Miles takes his Spider-Man costume and rips it to pieces, crying out that he doesn't want to be Spider-Man anymore. 

The comic ends up being a brief endpoint for Miles' Spider-Man, with the next issue of "Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man" revealing he stopped being a hero after Rio's tragic death. The story parallels the classic "Amazing Spider-Man" #50 storyline, "Spider-Man: No More," where Peter Parker briefly gave up being a hero after the pressure of balancing his heroic and personal life became too much to handle.

How Miles Morales' mother returned in the main Marvel Universe

Despite dying at the hands of Venom, "Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man" #22 wouldn't be the last time Spider-Man saw his mother. In "Ultimate End" #5 by Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley, Scott Hanna, Justin Ponsor, and VC's Cory Petit, Miles Morales, who was back in the role of Spider-Man, tries to navigate a new normal when the Ultimate Universe collides with Earth-616 during the events of "Secret Wars." While the heroes defeated Doctor Doom in the cosmic battle for existence, the moment ended up giving Miles a chance to see his mom again. In the story, Miles' kindness to the reality-shaping Molecule Man (offering him a burger to eat) leads him to be rewarded with his mother's return when the Ultimate Universe and Earth-616 become one.

Readers got to see the reunion between Miles and Rio in "Ultimate End," with Miles waking up from the events of "Secret Wars" to his mother being alive. In shock, he hugs her while still struggling to fully comprehend what has happened. The comic started a new status quo for Spider-Man in the main Marvel Universe, with both his parents alive. Miles became the second main Spider-Man on Earth-616, while his relationship with his family changed forever after his mother's resurrection. He would be accepted as a co-Spider-Man by Peter Parker and quickly prove he belonged alongside the Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

The current status quo for Miles and Rio Morales

Rio Morales has remained an important presence in Miles Morales' life in the comics since she was brought back to life. While she returned without knowledge about her son's secret superhero life, Rio eventually learns the truth and continues to support her son, despite questioning the danger he continually throws himself in by being a hero. 

The Morales family expanded later, with Rio and Jefferson having another child named Billie. Despite being an infant on Earth-616, a future version of Billie from another dark dimension would be later introduced as the revolution-leading vigilante known as the Spider-Smasher. Miles encountered his older sister while looking for his uncle Aaron in his travels across space and time. Readers will learn more about Spider-Smasher in an upcoming "Edge of Spider-Verse" storyline.

Ultimately, Miles suffers a similar fate to the other Spider-People, losing one of his closest family members with the death of his mom, Rio. However, thanks to the Multiverse and the destruction of the Ultimate Universe, Miles got what few other spider-heroes have gotten: a chance to be with the person they lost again. And in the comics, one of his parents' deaths doesn't lead to the Multiverse falling apart, which is certainly a possibility with Jefferson's teased death in the films. If "Spider-Man: Beyond The Spider-Verse" does end up killing Miles' father, the comics could serve as a perfect way to bring the character back to life without the demise of the Multiverse while additionally bringing Spider-Man from his world to the main Marvel Universe.