‘Spider-Man: Miles Morales’ — Cool Stuff You Didn’t See… Deep-Cut Easter Eggs, References, Etc.
The following was originally intended to be presented as a video for my YouTube channel, Superhero.VG. Scheduling didn’t allow for it, though, so I went with a shorter version…
If you’d like to check out everything else, please do read on…
So, you found those references to Big Wheel and Dazzler? That’s cute.
Hey, Chris Baker here, and this is my humble promise to you with this Miles Morales piece: You’re not going to find anything on YouTube or anywhere else with deeper-cut Easter eggs and more in-depth comicbook knowledge as it relates to the game than what you’re reading now. Items like what each of these individual words link to have already been covered by countless others (this in particular is one of the greatest Easter-egg homages ever, in any medium), and I’m not going to repeat them unless I feel I have something to add — which, as luck would have it, I often do.
More Dazzler Than You Realize
Here’s a fun one to get started — Dazzler.
You may have seen this reference in Rick Mason’s fix-it shop to Dazzler’s real name, Alison Blaire.
And you almost certainly grabbed this time capsule and thought it was cool that Alison and her fellow mutant musician Lila Cheney got a shout-out from Miles in a Spider-Man game — I know I did.
But here’s something I haven’t seen anyone else talk about — if you look at the ticket itself, you’ll find multiple further Easter eggs…and probably a few I can’t pinpoint myself.
See that AL0130 in the upper left?
Alison Blaire — that’s the AL — debuted in issue 130 of The Uncanny X-Men in 1980.
Next to it, the STM232 is a little tricky because…
…it’s backward initials for Marvel Tales: Spider-Man #232, which featured an awesome Todd McFarlane cover for a Spider-Man/Dazzler crossover. Incidentally, this is actually a reprint of…
…Marvel Team-Up #109, which doesn’t seem to be referenced here.
Then, over to the right there’s this random 34X — very possibly a callout to…
…All-New X-Men #34, among several issues when the displaced-in-time original X-Men also found themselves in the Ultimate universe and hung out with Miles.
And that’s not all. The Deep End here was also referenced in Peter’s game as hot nightclub where Harry Osborn hangs out — they’ve graduated to full-scale arena based on this ticket.
But The Deep End actually originates in The Amazing Spider-Man #546, which kicked off the Brand New Day era in the comics.
It’s very possible some of the other letter/number combos on the ticket mean something — maybe pertaining to Lila? — but I couldn’t find anything. Lemme know if you do.
Oh, I did find it kind of amusing that the ticket was sold on the 25th anniversary of a very non-Marvel movie that’s the subject of what’s possibly my favorite video on my Superhero.VG YouTube channel. 🦇
Bill the Lobster (but Where’s Don?!)
Lila was part of the New Mutants comics, and a late-‘80s spinoff of that book was called Fallen Angels. By now, you’ve probably heard about maybe the most obscure character referenced in this game — wait, no, there are several others we’ll get to in a bit — but he’s certainly the most crustaceous…Bill the green lobster.
There’s really not much more to this Easter egg than what it is at surface level, but after skimming through every Bill appearance, I’ve gotta say his fellow cybernetically enhanced lobster — a blue one named Don — appears to have gotten the shaft.
They’re practically claw-in-claw in Fallen Angels, always seen together. At least until Devil Dinosaur takes bad step and…
The List of Roxxon Employees
Looking for some characters more obscure than Bill the Lobster? Look no further than this laundry list of Rick Mason’s coworkers at Roxxon.
There are quite a few differences here, but keep in mind Earth-1048 that is the PlayStation Spider-Man universe is definably different than mainstream Earth-616 — so it’s okay to twist characters’ roles, especially when they’re minor.
First, there’s Ella Sterling, who actually does kinda look like Phin Mason in the 2018 Department H comics.
However, there she’s actually an archaeologist in Canada who is funded by Roxxon — she’s not a QA Lead.
In that same Department H series, Ella befriends Sonia Sung — she’s HR at Roxxon in the comics, not an engineering lead.
Let’s just use traditional captions for the rest of these guys and gals…
Hello, My Name Is Simon…
Of course, there’s one major Roxxon executive in the Miles game, and that’s Simon Krieger. Funny thing is, some of the nobodies on the list we just reviewed have more comicbook appearances than Krieger does — and they largely have a lot more to do with Spider-Man.
Simon Krieger only appeared in both issues of a rather excellent two-part 1998 miniseries scripted by the legendary Kurt Busiek called Iron Man: The Iron Age. In it, we see him in a VP role with Republic Oil & Natural Gas, treated as precursor to Roxxon in the story, but I think it’s been retconned to have been a subsidiary. He’s the guy all the other execs turn to to sabotage Stark Industries so they can take it over.
I found it really interesting that the idea that Tony’s parents were murdered via a not-so-accidental car wreck actually came from these guys, which would later be adapted to the Winter Soldier for the MCU.
Much like the Krieger of the game would, though, comic Krieger is the type of guy to hire a saboteur for Stark Industries…who in this case just so happens to be called the Saboteur (I’d like the schematics on THAT outfit).
Not so much like the game’s version, he’s also a master of disguise, nearly convincing the world he was Tony Stark saying nasty things.
But that plan failed …
…and he was killed in prison.
Interestingly, the whole time he never so much as mentioned a Spider-guy…though we did get these two amusing cameo panels.
But while we’re talking Iron Man, did you catch the shout-out to Stark Enterprises in the Oscorp Science Museum? They built this engine…
…which itself looks an awful lot like a certain G-bomb…
…that eventually led to the name of this special move for Miles.
And while we’re reading stuff at the museum, we also get references to Callisto Aerospace — which near as I can tell is only found in the so-apparently-bad-I-never-watched-it Inhumans TV show, of all things. (It’s adorable that Reddit thinks a repurposed Lockjaw statue to paperweight is cool…).
There’s also Momentum Labs here, from a 2016 episode of Agents of SHIELD called “Meet the New Boss.”
Rick Mason…Secret Agent?
One person who probably wished he had had a new boss in Miles’ game was Rick Mason, who led the project to create Nuform in the game’s universe.
There is a Rick Mason in Earth-616 — heh — and he is indeed related to Phineas Mason, the Tinkerer. Only thing is, Rick isn’t Phineas’ older brother…
…he’s his son. He’s also no kind of scientist. Let’s let the back of his introductory graphic novel describe him for us, shall we?…
Kind of different, huh?
Side note: I do think we’ll get a bit more of a traditional Rick Mason in the Black Widow movie…which I’m sure we’ll all see…eventually.
As far as I can tell, there were no actual references to “the Agent” in the game — but this hotel and the ads for it all around town ad were kind of along the same lines, I guess? (I could be wrong, but I don’t recall seeing “The Agency” in Peter’s game.)
One thing both Rick Masons do have in common — they both die. Though comic Rick Mason eventually does rise from the dead. Because comics.
Of course — and if you caught my September video that fully explains the comic origins of Nuform, you know this already — the Nuform created by the game universe’s Rick is a form of clean energy, differing from the comics, where it’s a form of synthetic vibranium. Black Panther has some issues with this, so he joins Spidey and Iron Man to stop Roxxon in The Vibranium Vendetta.
Of course, my dorky brain was trying to tie what I knew there into this story, and I was predicting the female Tinkerer might have actually been Shuri. Oops…
Actually, hold on a second. Here’s another easy Easter egg that everyone knows already — but be sure to read the subtitle…
So, basically, it stands to reason that Shuri’s impressive work inspired Phin — so in a way, Shuri was part of the Tinkerer. Yeah, yeah, that’s a stretch. Anyway…
A Few Bits of Randomness
More on Phin in a bit, but first a few other things…
I don’t think enough people recognized the Daily Grind Easter egg in the first game (Doc Ock’s mug above — which no one seemed to recognize back then, instead focusing on Peter’s AIM mug)…
…so I’m going to go ahead and call out the holiday-themed update. If you don’t know, this is the coffee shop in Spidey comics where Peter Parker’s clone Ben Reilly used to work (that’s Ben in the Doc Ock shot above).
The Daily Grind plays second fiddle to the Coffee Bean, though, which has been part of Spidey comics since the ’60s — yet it doesn’t have any shops in the game, likely due to a major American chain of the same name…
Some fun stuff from the Twitter feed (read the captions)…
And speaking of real people and Insomniac, here are some other nods I caught to actual people from Insomniac.
I’ve seen some folks point out the name Ben Urich on the back of this book — pretty easy to spot the journalist for any seasoned Spidey fan — but Arfmann Publishing is named for Ben Arfmann, lead writer on the game. Incidentally, I have no idea what anything else on this book or the book itself is referencing, and I really feel like I’m missing something here. Any ideas?
Meanwhile, Muhammed Allen here is an environmental artist adding the artistry of his name this environment — just as Internal Communication Specialist Gretchen Kirsch is there as well.
Expanding the Universe
I don’t think any real people are involved with this movie poster, but we can clearly see that Me, You and the Dog is from the director of Kate and Kevin — a movie poster from Peter’s game. That’d be Karla Wright, who…isn’t from the comics, near as I can tell.
One thing I did notice this time, though, is that the Deep End — yeah, that’s right, the venue that Dazzler played — coproduced this with the Blind Spot, which is another bar from the Brand New Day era of comics.
Also referenced in the first game, Henrietta and the Monkeyhead have graduated from Club Citrine to Radio City Music Hall, apparently usurping the Rockettes, who would normally own the venue during the holiday season. Good for them.
Also talking music, CODB here is at about the same place on the map where the legendary, now long-shuttered club CBGB used to be. CODB…is that a reference to a certain late Wu Tang Clan member?…
The Tinkerer: Game vs. Comics (and Rocket Racer)
Anyway, let’s get back to the Tinkerer. Even though the character is vastly different than in the comics — most notably being a teenaged girl named Phin Mason rather than an elderly man named Phineas Mason — I really like how Insomniac managed to weave core elements of the character into this universe’s iteration.
Just look at some of her weapons of choice — while Phineas might not do much wielding of fancy blades, he does enjoy employing bolas into his creations…
Actually, right here, this chase has Phin acting a lot like one of Phineas’s more infamous clients — Rocket Racer. Odds are, we’re never going to get that lame villain into this universe, so this is your next best bet.
In fact, I’m close to positive that these souped-up Rollerblades are a Rocket Racer reference, even though he used a skateboard — simply because Rocket Racer’s whole schtick was the Tinkerer’s handiwork.
To that end, I see a lot of people thinking it’s cool that one of the Time Capsule items is the even more infamously awful Spidey villain Big Wheel. The thing most of them don’t seem to appreciate, though, is that — much like Rocket Racer — the Big Wheel tech was created by the Tinkerer…to kill Rocket Racer, funny enough. It’s not some random reference, and I think that’s worth pointing out.
And I do think there’s that degree of thought behind these time capsule Easter eggs, which is why I’m inclined to not believe this is a reference to the evil mutant Mastermind, who originated in The X-Men #4, as some are suggesting this is. There’s no connection between Mastermind and the Tinkerer — nor between Mastermind and a hard drive — so this has gotta mean something else. Right?…
Then again, the Tinkerer had no connection I’m aware of to the fictional Gem Theater, which is prominent in this game. Rather, that was the base of operations for Power Man and Iron Fist for a long time. It also wasn’t exactly so grand in the comics…
One location they did nail, though, was the Tinkerer’s workshop. The building is very similar to what we saw in the Tinkerer’s first appearance, which is echoed in later appearances as well.
He’s also got a thing for clocks in the interior.
Speaking of Tinkerer’s first appearance, here’s a fun Tinkerer-related Easter egg you can find at the Gem Theater in the game. Check out the customer ID number — the Tinkerer’s first appearance was in The Amazing Spider-Man #2…with a cover day of May 1963. Incidentally, I find the date of this invoice kind of interesting — November 1, 2018 was pretty much right when the latter part of Peter’s game would have taken place. I don’t think there’s an actual link there — just a fun coincidence.
One really weird thing about that first Tinkerer story was that it was all about him working with aliens to overthrow the Earth, which was later retconned to be a scam — but I’m pretty sure Stan Lee was thinking aliens the whole time. Anyway…do you suppose that’s what “Spacebound” is referencing here? If it is actually referencing something, that’s all I can come up with.
And one more random Time Capsule bit: Here, touring Oscorp is linked to something called Project Pegasus. Depending on what reality you’re talking about, Project Pegasus means something a little bit different, though Oscorp is never involved.
In the mainstream Earth-616 comics, it’s in New York’s Adirondack Mountains and has doubled as a project to research alternative forms energy and…as a superhuman prison — because of course those things go together. In the Ultimate universe, Project Pegasus was a secure SHIELD facility in Wyoming where mysterious objects often with unexplained power were kept safe.
It’s more or less the same thing in the MCU, with NASA and the U.S. Air Force also involved in addition to SHIELD. Here, Project Pegasus was founded by Howard Stark after he secured the Tesseract, and it played a pretty major role in Captain Marvel. But you probably remember it best as the military base that falls apart when Loki escapes at the beginning of The Avengers.
Miles’ Amazing Friends
Let’s end things with a couple quick fun bits concerning Miles’ friends.
First, we have Ganke. In the comics, he’s a much chubbier fellow, and few would argue that he directly influenced the character Ned in the MCU. Well, now things have come full circle. Just check out Ganke’s “alias”…
And finally, we have Miles’ most amazing friend, Peter.
First, we can see in his closet that he still has Peter’s Midtown High shirt from a trailer for the first game. (Then again, it’s mentioned that Phin went to Midtown High — maybe it’s hers?)
But what I really loved was the exchange the two had after the campaign was over, where the above was stated.
You see, I really got into reading Spider-Man comics right around when the first movie came out, which was in the prime of the legendary run of writer J. Michael Straczynski. And of course, one of the defining status quo changes for Peter during this era…
…was that he was now a school teacher. It felt perfect for him — arguably even more so than photographer.
Now, is this suggesting that the next time we play as Peter Parker, he’ll be playing hooky from teaching to go save the city? I actually wouldn’t be surprised. I guess we’ll find out in two or three years. In fact, I’m calling it now — Tuesday, September 5, 2023.
Thanks for joining me today. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Anything you’re disappointed I didn’t cover? Anything I didn’t see that you have? Hit me!