What If…? Reveals Miles Morales Couldn’t Handle the X-Men

The following contains spoilers for What If...?: Miles Morales #3, now on sale from Marvel Comics

Thanks to titles like What If...?, creators have been able to showcase how a tweaked origin could radically alter the future for countless Marvel characters. This even extends to passing off iconic origins to different figures, showcasing how other characters may have tried (or failed) to meet the challenges that defined the heroes and villains of other worlds.

What If...?: Miles Morales #3 (by Anthony Piper, Edgar Salazar, Chris Sotomayor, and VC's Cory Petit) revealed that a variant of Miles Morales could, with some help, overcome the traumas that defined Spider-Man and the Hulk at the same time. But even in a good mental place, Miles Morales is scared of another distinct origin.

What If...? Miles Morales #3 revealed that in one world, the Prowler was recruited to rob Bruce Banner of his Gamma research before he ever got the chance to be exposed to it. This means it wasn't Banner who became the Hulk of this timeline, but an unsuspecting Miles. Luckily for Miles, his general temperament and friendship with Gankee Lee helped him contain his rage for an extended period. But upon seeing his uncle murdered, Miles transformed, giving in to his rage and killing his world's version of Abomination. In effect, this variant of Miles went through two origins in quick succession, suffering the loss that defined Spider-Man while being overcome with rage like the Hulk.

Notably, neither of these possible origins necessarily defined this version of Miles. Taking therapy with Doc Samson, Miles discovered the ability to not just control his rage (giving him a level of restraint as he transforms into his Hulk form) but to move on from his loss. Unlike Peter Parker, who threw himself into a life-long mission upon the death of his family members, Miles instead came to terms with his emotions. This also allowed him to overcome his personal rage. This will likely mean Miles is able to process his grief better than Peter, allowing him to better differentiate between his personal life and any potential life as a hero.

Basically, Miles was exposed to abridged versions of both Spider-Man and the Hulk's origins and was able to not only deal with them but overcome them. The issue ended on a far more stable Miles as he made peace with himself and his actions. However, despite this impressive show of maturity and growth from Miles, he admitted that he's glad he doesn't have to get involved in the origin story of the X-Men. It seems the Xavier Institute also exists in this timeline as well, serving as a home and school for young mutants.

But Miles specifically kept his newfound powers a secret from his parents, fearing they'd think he was a mutant. None of this stems from any apparent anti-mutant bias, but instead seems focused on the fact that Miles is genuinely horrified by the kinds of challenges that await students at that school. He's not wrong either, as he cited the Sentinels that regularly attack the student body. This was not even addressing the problems presented by foes like the Reavers, the Purifiers, the U-Men, and numerous other threats to mutants.

Even in a world where taking therapy and facing your personal fears can more or less upend a traumatic origin, the X-Men have it rougher than almost anyone else. It's a quick but effective point, forcing Miles (and the reader) to note just how dangerous things really can get for the mutant population. In all honesty, Miles is probably lucky he didn't find himself in the X-Men's orbit, especially as a Hulk, as it's unlikely he would have found anything resembling peace as a student of the school.

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