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Miles attacks an enemy from behind in Spider-Man: Miles Morales

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All the villains in Spider-Man: Miles Morales, explained

The comic book origins of the video game’s bad guys

Image: Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment

Every good superhero needs a good supervillain to go up against, and Miles Morales is no different. Spider-Man: Miles Morales may be shorter than its predecessor, Marvel’s Spider-Man, but it still packs in the villains.

If you’re wondering who’s who in this motley rogues gallery, and what their comic book origins are, wonder no further. Here’s the comic book origin of every villain in Insomniac’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales.

[Ed. note: This piece contains spoilers for the plot of Spider-Man: Miles Morales.]

Simon Krieger, CEO of Roxxon

Simon Krieger leans forward in his big business boardroom chair and smarms evilly about Tony Stark in Iron Man: The Iron Age #1, Marvel Comics  (1998). Image: Kurt Busiek, Patrick Zircher/Marvel Comics

Created by: Kurt Busiek, Patrick Zircher
First appearance: Iron Man: The Iron Age #1 (1998)

In the movies, the deaths of Tony Stark’s parents were part of a plot by the forces of Hydra, but in the comics they were something much more mundane: Corporate sabotage. Simon Krieger was among the board members of Roxxon who orchestrated the murder of the Starks. Those board members were disappointed when it turned out that the young Tony Stark was pretty good at running the company all on his own.

Later, Krieger tried to kill Tony in a plot that involved impersonating him Face/Off style and trying to pay Iron Man to betray him (at a point when most people thought Iron Man was Tony’s mysterious bodyguard).

Krieger’s real function in Spider-Man: Miles Morales is as the head of Roxxon. In the comics, the energy corporation — largely composed of environmentally unsustainable holdings in oil and gas, but with a drive to get its fingers into every market — is a perennial corporate thorn in the side of the heroes in the Marvel Universe.

The Rhino

The Rhino punches through a wall with a SKRAK!. “It’s the Rhino!” exclaims J. Jonah Jameson, in Amazing Spider-Man #41, Marvel Comics (1966). Image: Stan Lee, John Romita/Marvel Comics

Created by: Stan Lee, John Romita Sr.
First appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #41 (1966)

One of Spider-Man’s most witless villains, Rhino is super strong, super durable, and super clumsy, deriving his powers from a mixture of gamma radiation and a bulked-up supersuit. There’s still a bit of pathos to the story of Aleksei Sytsevich, whose gimmick has often included that the suit is fused to his body so that he can never remove it.

He’s one of those villains who’s wavered back and forth across the line of supervillainy, sometimes barreling through walls with his suit-horns, sometimes doing his best to walk the straight and narrow.

In Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Rhino is back after getting a thrashing from Peter Parker in Marvel’s Spider-Man. He serves as one of the game’s main villains, and is, as usual, a pawn of forces much greater than himself.

The Prowler

Aaron Davis, the Prowler, looks on his stolen goods with satisfaction, as a spider crawls up his unknowing leg, in Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #1, Marvel Comics (2011). Image: Brian Michael Bendis, Sara Pichelli/Marvel Comics

Created by: Stan Lee, John Buscema, John Romita, Jr., Brian Michael Bendis, Sara Pichelli
First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #78 (1969), Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #1 (2011)

The Prowler alias has belonged to many people over the years, but it started with Hobie Brown, a hard-up teenager who planned to burgle places as a supervillain and then take off his costume and return the stolen goods for a reward. He was foiled in his very first attempt by Spider-Man, and then became a recurring ally of the wall-crawler.

Fittingly, Aaron Davis continues this flipflop between good guy and bad guy as Miles Morales’ supervillain/former supervillain/relapsing supervillain uncle. In some versions of Miles’ origin, the spider who delivered his fateful bite was stolen goods that Aaron was keeping in his apartment.

In Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Uncle Aaron continues to walk that line between good and bad. While Aaron certainly makes numerous in-costume appearances, the game also explores the relationship between Aaron and his late brother, Miles’ father, Jefferson Davis.

The Tinkerer

“He looks so harmless — and yet the Tinkerer is one of the greatest menaces I’ve ever faced!” thinks Spider-Man as the Tinkerer, an old, balding man with glasses, fires a ray at him from a weird techno gun, in Amazing Spider-Man #2, Marvel Comics (1963). Image: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko/Marvel Comics

Created by: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
First appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #2 (1963)

A villain who can create pretty much any gadget from any scrap of electronics, The Tinkerer — aka, Phineas Mason — is both a solo operator and an engineer for hire to other villains, making their outlandish gear, weapons, and gadgets.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales reinvents the Tinkerer as the leader of the Underground, a group of techno-henchman trying to take down the Roxxon Corporation.

The Kingpin

“At last,” cries the Kingpin, cigarette holder perched between his teeth, “With Spider-Man gone, the city is mine!” in The Amazing Spider-Man #51, Marvel Comics (1967). Image: Stan Lee, John Romita Sr./Marvel Comics

Created by: Stan Lee, John Romita Sr.
First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #50 (1967)

You know who the Kingpin is! He was in the first game — not to mention Netflix’s Daredevil series. Wilson Fisk is the crime lord of New York City, he’s built like a cube of disdain, and he’s a habitual threat to Spider-Man (though, arguably, he’s more Daredevil’s archnemesis).

He has a brief cameo in Spider-Man: Miles Morales, from prison, which is where we left him at the end of Marvel’s Spider-Man.

Venom

Venom snarls, with blood dripping off his claws, on the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #316, Marvel Comics (1989). Image: Todd McFarlane/Marvel Comics

Created by: David Michelinie, Todd McFarlane
First appearance: It’s complicated, but in 1984 or 1988 depending on how you count it

You also know who Venom is! The character started out as a freaky black costume Spider-Man got from a weird machine during a space war, and then turned out to be an intelligent alien looking for a partner in eating-living-flesh. The symbiote and Spider-Man broke up, and on the rebound the lovably violent goo-creature caught disgraced reporter Eddie Brock.

The two bonded over their mutual hatred of Peter Parker, and fought him for a bit, but have since settled into a kind of perennially down-on-their-luck anti-hero duo. Also there’s this whole thing with a space god going down right now, but don’t worry about that.

In the world of Insomniac’s Spider-Man games, it looks like the symbiote is being given a quite different origin, as an experimental treatment derived by Norman Osborn to keep his terminally ill son — Peter Parker’s best friend, Harry Osborn — alive. Spider-Man: Miles Morales reminded us that Harry’s symbiote is still floating around, and it seems likely that it’ll be a major element of the next Peter-focused installment of Insomniac’s Spider-Man franchise.