Is Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Homecoming? The clues — big and small — keep piling up. The latest: the debut of Prowler from Marvel Comics.
What makes this new title intriguing is its timing. Prowler, a new ongoing solo comic featuring Peter Parker's sidekick Hobie Brown, a.k.a. the Prowler, launched in October 2016. Homecoming debuts in July 2017. Just nine months apart.
While that connection is not much when viewed through the narrow lens of comic book publishing, the book's timing suggests a much bigger picture. One in which we might see some version of the Prowler in #Homecoming.
And that’s a pretty big deal when it comes to Miles Morales.
The Prowler Is To Miles Morales As Uncle Ben Is To Peter Parker
Until recently, the Prowler was a pretty obscure Marvel Comics character. A quick read of the Prowler’s appearances since his debut in 1969 show that, as of 2006, the Prowler was basically back-burnered as a recurring character — until 2011 when the Ultimate Comics version of the Prowler became a prominent character in Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man.
This Prowler isn’t Hobie Brown, though. It’s Aaron Davis, the brother of Jefferson Davis, #MilesMorales’ father.
In the comics, Jefferson is lured into the criminal underworld by Aaron. Aaron, as the Prowler, is a thief who steals tech from OsCorp, Norman Osborn’s company. During a heist, Aaron accidentally picks up the radioactive spider that bit Peter Parker when it crawls into his duffel bag. Aaron delivers it to Jefferson's and Miles' apartment, where the spider escapes and bites Miles.
So you can see how important the Prowler is to Miles' eventual transformation.
Prowler's Prominence In The Mainstream Marvel Universe
Fast forward to 2015, when the Prowler took on a supporting role in the All New, All Different version of The Amazing Spider-Man.
This is right about the time we first heard casting news and rumors about Homecoming, suggesting much of the story was already known.
Another year forward and we get #TomHolland’s debut as Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War. A few months later, the first Homecoming trailer is released - right about the time Marvel Comics launched its Prowler comic.
Coincidence? Or corporate synergy?
In other words, is Marvel Comics sending the Prowler to center stage now so audiences know better who he is when Homecoming unspools?
Not that far fetched, since it’s happened before.
Audience? Malekith. Malekith? Audience
While ostensibly separate entities, #MarvelComics and Marvel Studios rely on one another to market both books and movies. More often than not, you’ll see this synergy manifest itself when, say, Captain America gets a shiny new uniform after The Avengers storms the box office. Or how comics today prominently feature Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and every other Netflix Marvel superhero. Heck, even Patsy Walker, aka Hellcat, from Jessica Jones got a solo title.
Occasionally, though, you’ll catch #Marvel Comics introducing a character to a larger audience before his or her live-action Marvel Studios debut.
Consider Marvel’s Rage of Ultron comic mini-series, which launched a month before Avengers: Age of Ultron hit the big screen. Or the recent return of the Wasp in her own solo comic, a new character in the comics who happens to be Hank Pym’s daughter. Sounds a little like Hope Pym, Pym’s MCU daughter, who co-headline’s the 2018 Ant-Man sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp. You could even choose any one of a dozen Prelude comics, published by Marvel prior to a new film’s debut.
But the best example is Malekith the Accursed.
In Thor: God of Thunder No.13, published September 2013, Thor faces off against the evil dark elf Malekith in a five-issue story arc. Two months later, Thor: The Dark World would debut, featuring Christopher Eccleston as Malekith.
Why wouldn't Marvel do the same thing with the #Prowler?
Everything points to Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Homecoming
So let’s run down all the clues we have so far.
- The casting of Abraham Attah, a 15-year-old Ghana-born actor best known for his role in Netflix’s Beasts of No Nation. Take a look at Attah and consider how closely he resembles Miles Morales. Makes you wonder if his not so creative character name, Abraham, is just a smoke screen.
- The casting of Donald Glover. Glover is the "real-world" father of the Miles Morales character in a lot of ways, since his quest to be Spider-Man inspired Miles’ comic book birth. Using him as anyone but Miles’ father, Jefferson Davis, is almost a crime. Recently, Glover was mum about his role, saying he was sworn to secrecy.
- The director’s reluctance to say whether we’ll see any Morales’ in Homecoming. At the end of 2015, Homecoming director Jon Watts was asked by Yahoo! Movies if Morales could show up in the reboot:
“I can’t talk about that, because, you know, that will reveal too much… We’re still writing the story…we haven’t finished all the way through the story yet, so who knows,” he said.
- Two actors - besides Glover - with undisclosed characters. No character name for Michael Mando, an accomplished actor who you could easily see play Aaron Davis. Neither for Tyron Woodley, though the actor’s credits suggest he may not be a main player.
Does the Prowler comic add more grist to the rumor mill? It certainly seems possible.
What do you think?