I have a deep love for Miles Morales and his rise to fame. Miles is definitely the most relatable modern-day Spider-Man. However, his stories often leave a lot to be desired. Much of his origin mimics Peter Parker’s tale of power and responsibility. Not to mention the fact that Miles’ stories involve very few original characters or themes that aren’t tied to the original Spider-Man.
So, it’s safe to say that while he’s an amazing Spider-Man to follow, he’s certainly not the most interesting. Well, then who is? That crown goes to the often-forgotten Anya Corazon aka Araña, who is better known these days as Spider-Girl. It’s sad to see that Anya Corazon doesn’t have the recognition that many of the other characters in Marvel’s Spider-family have. In fact, she didn’t originally start out as a character connected to Spider-Man at all. Instead, Anya’s origin is unique and stands out as something completely original.
Anya started out as Araña. She wasn’t bitten by a radioactive spider, nor was she a victim of genetic experimentation. No, Araña’s was just a half Puerto Rican, half Mexican girl who one fateful day found herself caught in the middle of a battle between two mystical clans – the Spider Society and the Sisterhood of the Wasp. The battle almost takes her life until a mage from the Spider Society decides to save her by making her a hunter, giving her a kick-ass exoskeleton and your average spider powers.
Pretty damn cool, right? And Anya’s story dives deep into this age-long battle between the Spider Society and the Sisterhood of the Wasp. What I like about Anya’s origin is that she doesn’t just get powers and decides to be a hero. Instead, Anya is thrust into the new world and niche corner of the Marvel universe that we haven’t seen before. There she learns her own version of responsibility, and you’ll find she’s naturally inclined to do the right thing.
The world of the Spider Society is fascinating as is Anya’s journey once she becomes a hunter. It starts with Anya’s origin, then dives into some great revelations about both groups and Anya’s place in it. Even after her initial arc is over, Anya’s place in the Marvel Universe is further defined, teaming up with Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers at the time), Young Allies, and others until she eventually becomes Spider-Girl. She even has some big roles in the stories like Spider-Island and Spider-Verse. In fact, there is a lot about Anya and Miles that are similar. Both come from diverse backgrounds and later connect and are mentored by Spider-Man.
That backstory and initial character arc is the biggest difference between her and Miles. Miles’ whole story is about living in Spider-Man’s legacy, which means fighting the same villains and following the same story beats. And while Miles’ origin will always be one of the best origin stories and opening character arc’s around, much of his success lacks originality. Aside from characters like Uncle Aaron (who is just a redux of the original Prowler), most of Miles’ foes are Peter Parker’s hand-me-downs like Green Goblin and Venom. Even his stories are old Spider-Man stories that just feature Miles like “Sinister Six” or the upcoming “Clone Saga.”
Now, Anya hasn’t had as much exposure as Miles but there is something so rich and intriguing about what’s been done with her so far. For one, her sense of right and wrong aren’t built from tragedy, instead it’s built from the influence of her father, a journalist willing to expose corruption. Also, her stories step into the world of mysticism and secret organizations manipulating events and institutions from the background. It’s a solid foundation that original character arcs can be built on and stand apart from the kind of tales we already know.
The sad part is that Marvel has scaled back on Anya’s character and story over the years. Anya’s powers (like her exoskeleton and camouflage) were taken away, only to later be replaced with traditional Spider-powers. The Spider Society and Sisterhood of the Wasp are used as minor details in other stories. Even the transition from Araña to Spider-Girl has made her solo stories more in line with Spider-Man, putting her against foes like Kingpin, Hobgoblin, the Kravinoffs, etc. She’s essentially run into the same problem Miles has.
That being said, the point still stands. Anya is the more interesting Spider-character. There is still so much mystery to the Spider Society and Sisterhood of the Wasp that it’s begging for writers to pick her up and further explored. I feel like there are still so many interesting things Marvel can do with that and Anya, even as Spider-Girl. There’s a deep lore to dive into and the same can be said for Miles. What do you think? Am I wrong? Do you think Anya has a more interesting story than Miles? Let me know what you think.