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Fans upset with depiction of Miles Morales in Marvels’ What If series

by Kesean Cleveland
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Marvel Comics is facing backlash for their comic “What If…? Miles Morales #4” as many have called out how the issue perpetuates harmful stereotypes about the Black community.

The comic follows Miles Morales, an Afro-Latino superhero from Brooklyn, New York, in a world where he becomes the mighty Thor instead of Spider-Man. The issue is written by Yehudi Mercado and is the only one in the “What If…? Miles Morales” series to not be written by a Black author.

 “What If…? Miles Morales #4” is part of Marvel’s upcoming 60th-anniversary celebration of Spider-Man. Morales is an alternative Spider-Man from the Ultimate universe that has since been brought into the regular Marvel continuity. The series has currently seen Miles become Captain America, The Hulk, and Wolverine.

In the fourth issue of the comic series, Miles lives in a hybrid of Asgard( Thor’s home world) and Brooklyn. In this hybrid city, all buildings are covered in graffiti, shoes hang on power lines, and cars are pulled by goats. The comic opens with Odin’s Crows rapping about the Miles Morales Thor as he gets ready and walks down the street. A major problem fans have with this depiction involves the introductory narration of this new Asgard which states, “Of all the five realms, Asgard is his hood“.

Backlash after portrayal of Miles Morales in Marvel’s What if Series

The introduction to Asgard is not the only thing comic fans have had a problem with regarding the comic. In the book, Thor’s hammer Mjölnir is covered in graffiti and Miles says “Hammer Time” whenever he calls upon it.

 In a panel of the comic Miles can also be read saying “By Odin’s fade, I command you, shield this lost son of Freyja from your might as your grace flows through him” as he is attacking one of his enemies. There are plenty of other examples besides these of characters talking in slang and using African-American Vernacular English (AAVE).

Miles is not the only character in the comic with Black stereotypes portrayed on him. The comic sees Frost Giants (recurring antagonists of Thor) wearing gold chains, and having locs and different Black hairstyles. Odin (King of Asgard) can also be seen wearing Timberland boots in the comic.

With all of these factors, many readers have started to question why nobody at Marvel thought to stop this project and instead published a piece of media that was insensitive to many people.

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