Disclaimer: This is an opinion piece on Marvel’s ‘What If… Miles Morales Become Thor?!’, not a news story.
What If…? continues its successful run with the launch of a new limited series entirely focused on ‘what if Miles Morales became [another Marvel superhero]’. Out of the four issues released, we’ve seen MIles become Captain America, Wolverine, The Hulk and Thor. In the fifth issue, the four alternate versions will come together to form a new Miles-only version of the Avengers.
The most recent issue, What If…? Miles Morales Became Thor?! sounds like an easy concept to conquer, but unfortunately, the comic is plagued with many… choices… that have caused it to be met with widespread criticism.
The issue has been facing ferocious backlash for its handling of the reimagining of Miles, and it’s not hard to see why. The issue is filled with odd language and artistic liberties that have led many to label the new character “Hood Miles”.
In this new universe, the World Tree (the home of the nine realms) has grown beyond its borders, and now Brooklyn has become Asgard. We’re invited to explore this “Dope-Verse” section of the multiverse where “Asgard is his hood.” And that’s just the first two pages…
Some problems that many have called out include Miles’ Mjölnir being covered in graffiti tags, his catchphrase being ‘hammer time’, and then there is this glorious moment:
While the comic isn’t without its merits, the artwork is pretty good, and the new version of Odin looks pretty badass, but the designs are ultimately let down by Luigi Zagaria and Paco Medina’s decision to spew graffiti across their Asgard-Brooklyn hybrid. But the real issue obviously lies with the writing.
‘What if Miles Morales Became Thor?!’ is written by Latino writer Yehudi Mercado. While having a Latino writer help continue the ever-growing stories of Miles is important since the character is Latino, the issue lies with the fact that Mercado, a white Latino, clearly has no real idea of how to write Black characters realistically or even appropriately. After all, Miles is Afro-Latino, and his African-American heritage is as equally important as his maternal Puerto Rican heritage.
If this issue has done anything, it has shown that comics involving Marvel’s characters of colour need to be vetted a lot more closely.
Mercado has taken to Twitter to make some “statements“, but he has only deflected the very valid criticisms the comic has faced with weird jokes:
and a tweet where he completely ignores the reason Brian Michael Bendis co-created Miles Morales in the first place:
Miles Morales as Thor is a wonderful idea, and hopefully, we see another version of this character, but sadly this one isn’t it. With the awkward freestyle rhyming sounding more like Dr. Seuss, and the stereotypical nature in which Black characters (especially Miles) have been written, it is easily one of the most jarring reads I’ve had with Marvel in a long time.