The Spider-Man symbol has officially become the opposite of Superman

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Warning: Contains spoilers of Miles Morales: Spider-Man #39!

Marvel’s Spider-Man has a character that represents the exact opposite of his own Superman, as the image of Miles Morales has been corrupted and distorted in a dark dystopian future. This symbol has come to mean many different things in Marvel’s New York: triumph for the citizens and arrogance for the press, namely J. Jonah Jameson. Now in Miles Morales: Spider-Man #39, the spider symbol stands for fear and oppression — for very tragic reasons.

In previous issues, Miles Morales successfully defeated his doppelgangers in his own clone saga. Unlike the infamous Peter Parker clone saga in the 90s, Miles was forced to fight three: leader Selim, psychic Mindspinner and the incredibly strong Shift. In the end, Miles lured Shift to his side and subsequently sent the Mind Spinner and Selim—at least, he thought so. Traveling to the dark future, Miles and Shifa were shocked to see Selim as the new ruler of Brooklyn, now known as the Spider Empire.

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In Miles Morales: Spider-Man #39, written by Saladin Ahmed with art by Alberto Foch, Miles and Shift team up with a small resistance movement that resists Selim and his troops. Ganke, now a much older resistance leader, tells Miles about his younger sister Billie, who is now a fighter herself. “All this evil shit that Selim was doing… he was doing it under this spider symbol,” says Ganke. Billie grew up amidst the oppression of the Spider Empire—and learned to hate this symbol along with everyone else.

This is in stark contrast to the Superman emblem, which acts as a symbol of hope in the DC universe (in some cases, this symbol is a Kryptonian symbol of hope, as well as the family coat of arms of the House of El). Miles Morales has always been a hopeful character and, despite his age, often makes more mature decisions than Peter Parker. Unfortunately, Selim has achieved what no other clone has ever been able to do before: trample Spider-Man’s name into the mud and teach citizens to be afraid even of the possibility of his presence.

This may well be a deceitful tactic on Selim’s part. If Miles ever threatened the Empire, Selim would do everything possible to prevent Miles’ costume and abilities from inspiring people. Miles, who has a generally good relationship with New Yorkers, would have despaired. But giving up in the face of superior forces is not the style of Miles Morales and not the style of Superman — and therefore, despite the fact that his symbol is used against him, this Spider—Man is still as much a hero as the Man of Steel.