Marvel Comics has managed to unite readers across every possible spectrum with their latest issue of What If…?, as near absolutely everyone found themselves either baffled or offended over the publisher’s take on an Asgardian version of Miles Morales.
Written by self-professd Mexican-Jewish author Yehudi Mercado as part of the current volume’s overarching answer to the question, as put forth by the publisher, “What if Miles Morales was based on a different Marvel hero other than Spider-Man?”, the latest issue of What If…? sees Miles take up the role of the mighty Thor.
Though Marvel undoubtedly expected to receive a wave of praise for their latest attempt to milk their half-black, half-Latino replacement for Spider-Man – originally conceived as part of the Ultimate universe before being eventually transported over to the 616 as part of the publisher’s Marvel Now initiative to ‘diversity’ their line’ – they were instead met with a wave of criticisms over Mercado’s writing.
Drawn by Luigi Zagaria, this iteration of Miles is a caricature of African-American stereotypes, with the black Asgardian wearing sneakers that look like Air Jordans, having his version of the hammer Mjolnir covered in graffiti, and talking in ebonics – to the point where most of his dialogue is either poorly written original raps or references to popular rap songs.
The page which drew the brunt of fans’ ire was one wherein Miles, walking through the graffiti-tagged Brooklyn otherwise known as this universe’s Asgard, takes in the sights of his neighborhood whilst expositionally rapping to himself.”Of all the five realms, Asgard is his hood,” reads Mercado’s dialogue. “For miles you can see he’s just that good.””The rainbow bridge takes him on his quest, the Bifrost Line goes north, south, east n’ west,” it continues. “From Jormungandr to the Wrecking Crew, he stuck Gullinbursti in the Asgard zoo.”Mercados’ Miles further asserts, “But he is low key when he wants to be, name on marquees, like his Uncle Loki.””Odinson, he’s the son of gods and kings, got so many wins, check out all those rings,” the young hero concludes. “He’s formally known as a prince for sure, his subjects and friends, they just call him Thor.”
Another page (as seen in this article’s featured image) shows Morales summoning his hammer with the command, “Hammer Time!”, an obvious reference to the M.C. Hammer rap song from the early 1990s, “U Can’t Touch This”.
At one point during the story, Miles travels with his Uncle Loki to Jotunheim – in this universe an ice-covered version of Flushing Meadows – wherein he confronts the realm’s dreadlock-and-chains-wearing Frost Giants.
Not only that, but during the fight, Miles’ battle cries are all embarrassing ‘references’ to hip-hop lingo, with the young hero crying, “Time to spin these hits,” “Now that was a banger!” and “Right up to your face and diss you!”