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Marvel has turned Spider-Man Miles Morales into a vampire (and they tell us it may be permanent)

Miles Morales has gone full vampire, and we can’t help but wonder what the long-term plan is.

Miles Morales Spider-Man vampire
Image credit: Marvel

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Something strange has happened to Miles Morales.

In case you haven’t heard, Marvel is currently in the midst of a vampire invasion known as Blood Hunt. The heroes vs. vampires epic has had a few plot twists, including a betrayal by Blade, lots of gory action, and Spider-Man turning into a vampire.

That’s right, Miles Morales is now a vampire, and it looks like this isn’t a one-off thing. Why did Marvel turn Miles into a vampire, and what’s their long-term plan? Let’s sink our teeth into this one…

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Blood Hunt #3 and Miles Morales: Spider-Man #21!

Keep up to date on Popverse's Marvel coverage, with these highlights: Disney CEO Bob Iger is promising Deadpool & Wolverine will be MCU's biggest movie "in a long time", how Marvel Studios is now working "much more closely" to sell Marvel comics, how Marvel Comics' boss said it was lost in 2023 (and how its finding itself again), Inside Marvel Comics' plans to fix its pricing issues, Overgrown children of the atom: Marvel's X-Men can't evolve past their '90s commercial peak, and the biggest outstanding questions of the Marvel Studios' movies & TV shows.

How did Miles Morales turn into a vampire?

Blade turns Miles Morales into a vampire
Image credit: Marvel

Before we go any further, some of you might be wondering when and how Spider-Man became a vampire. Blood Hunt #2 (written by Jed MacKay and penciled by Pepe Larraz) ended with Miles suddenly turning into a vampire, with no hints of what caused the transformation. Miles is seen with the other heroes throughout the issue, but we never see him get bit by any vampires.

Related: Spider-Man isn't the first Marvel hero turned into a vampire... Storm, Wolverine, Jubilee, Captain America, and more beat him to the blood punch

If you’re opening up Blood Hunt #3 (written by Jed MacKay and penciled by Pepe Larraz) looking for answers, then you’ll be disappointed. Doctor Strange puts an enchantment on Miles, keeping the boy’s vampiric urges at bay. However, the boy still has elfish ears and vampire fangs. Miles explains that Blade told him to go after Bloodline (Blade's Daughter), but that’s the extent of it.

The answers come in Miles Morales: Spider-Man #21 (written by Cody Ziglar, penciled by Brent Peeples and Daniel Picciotto). During a flashback, we see Blade meet up with Miles to discuss the Blood Hunt crisis. Miles is unaware that Blade is the secret villain behind the vampire invasion, and by the time his spider-sense warns him, it’s too late. Blade takes a bite of Miles’ neck, transforming the young hero into a vampire

If someone was just reading Miles Morales: Spider-Man, they would probably be confused. It looks like Blood Hunt is essential reading for Miles fans.

Marvel goes all in on vampire Spider-Man

Miles Morales: Spider-Man #23 cover
Image credit: Marvel

I’ll be honest, I originally wrote off Miles Morales’ vampiric transformation. The Blood Hunt crossover had already seen Doctor Strange and Black Panther turn into vampires, so Miles’ turn at the end of Blood Hunt #2 didn’t phase me. I assumed this was one of those crossover plot developments that would be resolved before the end of the storyline. In fact, when I wrote up my weekly roundup of Marvel news, I said that the biggest development for Miles was a date with Kamala Khan.

Then Marvel sent a press release. The promotional message indicated that Spider-Man’s transformation was a big deal, and it would be lasting beyond Blood Hunt.

“Miles Morales’ harrowing transformation and pivotal mission for Blade’s vampire army will be one of the most dramatic ramifications coming out of BLOOD HUNT. Not only will it be explored throughout in the main event series and tie-in issues of his current ongoing solo series, Miles’ vampiric infection will continue to impact the character moving forward in Cody Ziglar and Federico Vicentini’s run. Don’t believe us? See for yourself in the cover where Miles sinks his teeth into his fellow vigilante and girlfriend—Starling,” Marvel writes.

The press release also included a statement by Miles Morales: Spider-Man writer Cody Ziglar. “"I’m looking forward to having Miles juggle the pressures of being a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man with the added threat of not knowing if he'll snap at any moment. Being stuck in a constant aggressive fight or flight mode when you can lift ten tons will present some interesting dilemmas for our boy,” Ziglar writes.

This statement was accompanied by the cover to Miles Morales: Spider-Man #23, which shows a vampiric Miles preparing to bite Starling. The issue will go on sale August 14, weeks after the conclusion of Blood Hunt.

When you look at the language in the press release, and the release date of Miles Morales: Spider-Man #23, it appears vampire Miles will continue to be a thing once Blood Hunt is over. In fact, it might even be the new status quo. That’s…an interesting and surprising move.

Marvel’s version of permanent is different than our own

Vampire Miles Morales attacks Bloodline
Image credit: Marvel

Before we go any further, I should note that Marvel has a different definition of the word ‘permanent,’ than most people do. Many times, when Marvel talks about a permanent status quo change, it’s usually undone sooner or later. Most of the big status quo changes have been undone.

Jean Grey died…but then she came back.

Spider-Man revealed his identity to the world…and then used a magic spell to make them forget.

Ben Grimm was permanently cured of being the Thing….until he wasn’t.

Even if Jed MacKay, Cody Ziglar, and Marvel editorial are 100 percent committed to this new direction, it’s inevitable that it will be reversed at some point in the future. A new editor or writer might want to return Miles to his traditional status quo, complete with a new storyline called ‘Back to Basics.’

(When you get a chance, go on Amazon and search ‘Marvel Back to Basics. You’ll be surprised how many storylines have that title.)

It’s also possible that this vampire thing will be over this year, and Marvel is just using the press release to get fans excited about the storyline. To be fair, that’s what a press release is for. Either way, when Marvel says this is a status quo change, and implies that it’s permanent, I’ll remind you that the X-Men have attended multiple funerals for Jean Gray, a character who is still alive.

Why is Marvel changing Miles Morales into a vampire?

Vampire Miles Morales/Spider-Man
Image credit: Marvel

Whether the change is permanent or not, we can’t help but wonder what Marvel is thinking. Miles Morales is one of Marvel’s most recognizable characters, rivaling Peter Parker. Why mess with a good thing?

I’m speculating, but it’s possible that Marvel editorial wanted to do something to make Miles a more unique character compared to Peter. That’s the reasoning Marvel gave when they turned Ben Reilly into the villainous Chasm. Writing in the Amazing Spider-Man #93 (2022) letters pages, Nick Lowe broke down the reasoning.

“I wanted to thank... and apologize isn’t quite the right word... to the Ben Reilly fans out there. Ben is an incredible character who didn’t really have a place in the Spider-Landscape anymore. Peter Parker isn’t going anywhere, and Miles Morales is here to stay, so Ben has been a challenge for us, and we thought this story gave us an opportunity to not only give Ben a last run as Spider-Man and to do a rare thing in the world of superhero comics – a tragedy. With most of our characters locked into eternal roles, a truly tragic story is very rare, and we hope we did Ben justice with it,” Lowe wrote.

While this letter was about Ben Reilly, it can easily be applied to Miles’ current situation. Marvel may have decided that turning Miles into a vampire would set him apart from the rest of the Spider-Verse.

I’m of two minds about this move. On the one hand, I think it complicates Miles in a way that isn’t needed. He’s Brooklyn’s Spider-Man, struggling to navigate his teenage years while saving the world. He’s also managing his personal relationships with his friends and family. That’s a simple concept and adding ‘struggling to overcome vampire urges’ is one ingredient too many. It’s too big of a character development, causing it to overshadow some of the things that make Miles’ story so special.

On the other hand, if Cody Ziglar can pull this off, this has the potential to be the most interesting Miles Morales comic book storyline since the Ultimate Universe ended. This opens up new struggles for Miles, putting the hero in uncharted territory. I don’t like what it does to his ongoing status quo, but if written well, it could all be worth it.

Vampire Miles Morales seems like a bad idea, but it might wind up becoming one of the greatest things that’s ever happened to the character.

Corporate synergy

Image credit: Sony/Marvel

While we all love believing that storytelling is driving these characters, in reality Marvel is ruled by corporate synergy. The next time a big Marvel film comes out, pay attention to the comics that are being published at the same time. For example, the film Amazing Spider-Man (2012) features the Lizard as the villain. Check out the comics Marvel published the month the film was released and look at who the villain in Amazing Spider-Man was.

That’s just a small example, but if you look for the patterns, you’ll see that Marvel Comics make an effort to tie-in with the films. This isn’t necessarily a bad business decision, since the films are seen by millions, and any of those viewers could become a new comic reader. Either way, the pattern is so predictable that when Ms. Marvel died last year, cynical fans noted that she would probably be back before The Marvels hit theaters.

They were right.

With that in mind, let’s remember how successful Sony’s Spider-Verse films are. Those movies have made Miles Morales a household name. The first one won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature, and the sequel was nominated for the same category. These films are a big deal, so I don’t think Marvel Comics is too eager to move Miles further away from his cinematic counterpart.

Marvel wants young fans leaving the theaters after Beyond the Spider-Verse to pick up a comic without being too confused. Seeing Miles Morales as a vampire might confuse a new reader. Then again, it might intrigue them. In the age of YouTube recaps, maybe a new reader won’t be intimidated by all the continuity.

Plus, maybe Marvel believes in the new direction enough that they’re willing to go ‘all in’ on vampire Miles.

Maybe, but I doubt it. In fact, Popverse is betting that Spider-Man’s vampire days will be over by the time Beyond the Spider-Verse hits theaters. Some vampires are defeated by a stake through the heart, but for Miles his stake will be corporate synergy.

Advance review copies of Blood Hunt #3 and Miles Morales: Spider-Man #21 were provided ahead of release by Marvel.

Marvel has a surprisingly long history of turning characters into vampires, what's up with that?

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Joshua Lapin-Bertone avatar
Joshua Lapin-Bertone: Joshua is a pop culture writer specializing in comic book media. His work has appeared on the official DC Comics website, the DC Universe subscription service, HBO Max promotional videos, the Batman Universe fansite, and more. In between traveling around the country to cover various comic conventions, Joshua resides in Florida where he binges superhero television and reads obscure comics from yesteryear.
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