Miles Morales worked hard to prove himself as a worthy successor to Peter Parker as the Ultimate Spider-Man. In his brief time as Spider-Man, he faced the Kangaroo, Electro, the Scorpion, the Prowler and even joined the Ultimates to help them fight Hydra. He faced many hardships in his time as the newest web-slinger, but suddenly he disappeared and wouldn’t return for a whole year. What could have been so bad that Miles would choose to ignore the call about power and responsibility that is the epitome of Spider-Man for a year? That would be watching his mother Rio Morales die in his arms, a casualty in his brutal battle with Venom.
In this parallel Marvel dimension – meant to introduce new readers to modern re-imaginings of classic Marvel characters without having to read decades of back issues – Peter Parker has died and Miles Morales must fill the void. After being given a costume and one chance from Nick Fury, thirteen year old Miles struggled to prove himself worthy of the legacy Peter left behind while juggling his schoolwork and obligations to friends and family. After helping the Ultimates win their war against Hydra, the escalating danger and drama hit a breaking point when this universe’s version of Venom began to attack the Morales family, operating under the mistaken idea that Miles’ father, Jefferson, was Spider-Man.
In the ‘Venom War’ arc by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli, Miles’ co-creators reunited to tell a story that would have just as big of an impact on Miles’ life as the death of his Uncle Aaron. After blowing up the remains of Oscorp, Venom arrives at the Morales home, where his fight with Spider-Man accidentally injures Jefferson in the process. As his father is rushed to the hospital and Venom escapes, Gwen Stacey and Mary Jane Watson arrive to educate Miles of Peter’s previous battles with the symbiote creature and Miles realizes the battle is far from over and goes to protect his parents.
Venom attacks the hospital, hurting police and patients in his search for Spider-Man, and gets his wish when Miles arrives. Their battle is prematurely ended when the unstable Venom tries to absorb Miles, distracted by Rio Morales’ plea to give her back her son, having figured out Miles’ secret identity. Miles not only manages to escape but uses his Venom blast to discombobulate the symbiote, whose host is gunned down by the arriving police. Unfortunately, Miles’ mother is shot during the crossfire and she admits to knowing Miles’ secret and begs him to not tell his father before dying in his arms.
The death of his Uncle Aaron traumatized Miles, especially since he was falsely accused of killing him for a while, but the death of his mother broke him in a way that only Peter Parker could have understood. Waking up the next morning and learning it was not a bad dream, Miles’ grief and anger over her death caused Miles to blame himself, tearing apart his costume and choosing to not be Spider-Man for an entire year. Despite protests from his regular and superhero allies, Miles would eventually return to the role, but the death of his mother would cast a dark shadow over Miles Morales for the remainder of his career as the Ultimate Spider-Man.