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Background

I've only watched "Into the Spider-Verse" (and loved it!), as well as the Sam Raimi movies and the first "Amazing Spider-Man". Not sure if the other movies are relevant, but I'll be using "ITSV" as my point of reference. I haven't read any of the comics, but I've been searching all over the wikis, reading forums, and Googling articles, but I can't figure this out. The weirdest thing for me is that no one else seems to be asking this (not even from fan theory sites or behind spoiler tags):


Main Questions (tl;dr)

Why did the spider that bit Miles Morales end up giving him vastly different and non-"spider-like" powers, namely Venom Blast (electricity) and invisibility, compared to Spider-Gwen, Peter Porker, etc.?

On top of that, why did none of them think it was odd that Miles had not only all of their common powers but two more on top of that?


NOTE: I recognize that there might be small differences across the other Spider-People (like mechanical or organic shooters), but electricity and invisibility seem really out-of-place for doing "whatever a spider can", at least for me. Plus, some other Spider-People have a few unique powers, but they usually come from additional sources like already being a psychic mutant (Madame Web), additional substances, etc. I just want to focus simply on the formulas of "spider + radiation = Spider-Person" or "lab-engineered spider => Spider-Person", which match the ones in "Spider-Verse" and many more in the comics.


Questions and Leads

Here are the questions and leads I've thought of so far:

  • My own answer to why none of the other Spider-People cared: they're too jaded and have seen too much to be curious about Miles getting electricity and invisibility powers, even if he's one of them. I get that it's not the focus of the movie, so it's probably just an oversight on the writers.
    • And yet, even so, for them to barely remark on it? Not even quipping, "That's not fair" or "Why electricity?" while Peter B. Parker backs Miles up? They practically have three superheroes in one Spider-kid, two of them being decidedly NOT spider-like. Seems like quite an oversight, too big to not have been noticed across original comic writers, script writers, directors, etc.
  • Spiders: Spiders use the Earth's electro-magnetic field to travel many miles on electric currents. However, generating electricity or manipulating one's own electricity isn't like sensing and using electricity outside of yourself. Are there any spiders that can generate or even direct electricity, or change their own colors to blend into the background? I'll even count what the crazy ants from "Ant-Man" can do, which is conducting electricity.
  • Same or different projects?: Were all of the spiders that bit the Spider-People in the movie from the same Osborne project? If Miles was the only one of the six in the movie that got bit from that project, then who else got bit by those spiders, and did they exhibit different kinds of powers?
  • Difference in kind: This is why Miles' powers stick out to me the most. Even if the spiders were all from different projects, why aren't there more variations? Clairvoyance and other mental powers could be seen simply as extensions of "Spidey-sense", but electricity and invisibility are clearly physical. With the number of Spider-People out there, you'd think there would be more variation, but Miles' powers stand out from among the others when looking at origin and kind. Just how special is the spider that bit Miles?
  • Oz Formula: It seems the Oz Formula arc hasn't been completed yet in the comics, which might mean that they probably will address this point eventually. But if they've brought up the question or even already somewhat implied an answer, why isn't it a topic of speculation or fan theories, especially with the new movie and a likely sequel on the way?
    • On that point: from what my comic-book-enthusiast friends say, no one really cares about the origin of the power or how it works; people care way more about what the character does with it. I understand why people may not care that much about the spider compared to the Spider-People, and I get that in the end it's all "science-magic", but there's been a clear pattern to the others' origins, and Miles' spider breaks that pattern by a margin of two whole powers. It's like a guy giving everyone a few spiders as pets, and maybe also a fly or praying mantis or other bugs, and then he gives Miles a few spiders, a mimic octopus, and a real-life Pikachu. My "Science-Sense" is telling me, even if you accounted for the randomness of "science-magic", something just doesn't fit.

Spider-People of note

  • Peni Parker: I recognize that Peni Parker also has a major difference as well: having a psychic connection with the spider that bit her, which happens to be sentient. She also doesn't seem to have any shooters except through her robot, so that might be a clue, though I'm not even sure which Spider-People have mechanical or organic shooters. I haven't found anything on the spider that bit Peni either, except maybe that the spider belonged to her father originally, but I'm not sure if that means her father genetically engineered the spider or that it originally came from the same project as Miles' spider.
  • Spider-Woman: Apparently, at least one Spider-Woman also had electric powers and even called it "venom blast"! I would have counted her because she was irradiated near spiders, or in another case, irradiated and given a spider serum to save her. Unfortunately, her origin story has been rebooted and retconned too many times, involving many other factors like Hydra experimentation, etc., so I don't think I can count her. I don't know about the other Spider-Women.
  • Madame Web: Also psychic, but one was born a psychic mutant, and another was injected with a serum of spider and plant stuff, not directly from spider. I don't know about other Madame Webs.
  • Venom and Carnage: Symbiotes. Aliens don't count.

Disclaimer: I ask not because I mind Miles having those two extra powers over the others; I think it works well in the movie (and apparently in the comics as well) to compensate for his lack of belief in himself, giving him a little leg up in confidence in his character arc. But the movie never addressed this, and nobody questioned why Miles had these extra powers. I still really love and enjoy the movie for all its awesome qualities, so this doesn't take away from it.

Still, it bugs me the more I think about it. If no one else is asking, maybe I misread, misheard, or misinterpreted a post or line or something.


Let me know if this hasn't been addressed in the comics yet and people are waiting on the answer, if nobody asked because they never cared, if it already has been addressed and I'm just being a dumb-dumb, if others have asked this question, or even if I'm just asking too many questions.

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    We see the spider change colour to blend in (before it bites Miles). – Valorum Aug 26 '19 at 21:48
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    Note that all of the spider-people only have one thing in common, a blending of spider and human DNA. Their origins are very different. – Valorum Aug 26 '19 at 21:50
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    @Valorum So this spider was part of a group of spiders from Oscorp. Do we know anything about the other spiders and if they're any different from the one that bit Peter? Also, don't they all have "Spidey-sense" and climbing walls in common? – Steven Choi Aug 26 '19 at 21:56
  • We know nothing about them other than that they have "modified DNA". – Valorum Aug 26 '19 at 21:57
  • @Valorum But even with their origins being different from each other, they would generally have web shooting skills, wall climbing skills, enhanced strength and agility, and "Spidey-sense". A departure like psychic powers has some justification. Miles' powers of electricity and invisibility don't seem to have any precedent. – Steven Choi Aug 26 '19 at 22:09
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It's as simple as "It was a different Spider, with different characteristics."

Keep in mind, first of all, that the "spider-powers" acquired from the bite (or, in the cases of some other spider-people, magic spell, genetic engineering, or whatever), are always somewhat 'loose'. Even those variations of Peter who generated organic webbing himself, he does so from his wrists, something no spider does. He walks on walls THROUGH his costume, even able to walk with his feet on walls while he's wearing shoes, something spiders generally can't do (at least, I assume, but granted I've never tried putting shoes on a spider).

As such, Miles' powers make sense within that context: Turning invisible is just an extension of certain Spiders and their ability to blend into their environment (not usually with chameleon powers, but again, spiders don't shoot webs from their arms). The electric blast is similar to (and I believe inspired by) the 'venom blast' that Spider-Woman had. So it's not really necessary to explain why those specific powers are part of Miles' abilities, or if it is you need to ask the same questions of all the other characters. Let's call it the science-magic you talk about.

Now all that's left is to answer why Miles' powers are so different from many of the other characters, and that's because most of the other variations got their powers from the same spider, or alternate-universe variations of it. Gwen, for example, was at the same experiment as Peter, and in her world, she was the one who got bit, not him. Even where the general origin of the spider was different (although they didn't go in-depth, the comics versions of Spider-verse imply that all the various origins across all media exist in their universe, so there's a radioactive Spider, and a genetically-engineered one that give roughly the same powers), it's still, from the perspective of 'destiny', the SAME spider.

Miles on the other hand, was a different spider entirely, crafted specifically by people trying to recreate the circumstances that created Spider-Man, but without knowing the details.

In the first issue of his own comic, the story opens with Norman Osborn talking to one of his scientists, and revealing that he created Spider-Man, that a spider from one of his projects bit somebody and gave the powers, and charged the scientist with helping to recreate the process. They have this conversation:

Scientist: And you don't know--wow, you don't know the specifications of the spider?

Osborn: No, it died.

S: Do you have a log of the measurements of the formula that altered the spider?

O: I thought I did, but no.

So, they used a different spider, a different Oz formula, and, cosmically, it wasn't the same spider that was destined to bite someone and grant them Spider-powers, so, naturally, got a different result. In this case, he got these two extra cool powers (his Spider-Sense, is also comparatively weaker than those bit by the Parker spider, and there may be other minor variations as well). Honestly, if Osborn was seeking the ability to create a Spider-Man formula he could control, he might well try to do one that has more power than the original anyway, so it makes a certain amount of sense there too.

(Into The Spider-Verse's Miles isn't the same Miles as comic Miles, of course, but here again you can invoke 'destiny', and say that the spider that bit Miles, even with different origins, was still the Same Spider across various universes, and thus gave the Same Powers).

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    It's also worth noting that the spider that bit Miles wasn't just genetically engineered to give abilities, it was also from a different thread of the spider-verse (different timeline/alternate universe, however you want to describe it). We know this because it demonstrated the same jolting effect from it's atoms not being jazzed about being in a different universe that the spider-folk all exhibit. So maybe the the spider-person, and spiders in general, in that universe can turn invisible and give electric shocks (there's a terrifying thought). – delinear Aug 28 '19 at 11:35
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It was a few years ago that I answered a similar question in regards to Cindy Moon, aka Silk, and why her powers are so different than Peter's, even though they were bitten by the same spider. Allow me to re-post it here:

It may be just a theory, but I'm guessing "natural genetic variation" may be the best reason.

While their "arachnid totemic nature" may indeed have something to do with it [after all, Ezekiel, Peter's first Spider-Totem "mentor", had seemingly lesser strength, greater agility, but no kind of webbing, whatsoever, at least in his early appearances], it seems there is a range of natural difference between all the various spider-people. For example, the spider that was responsible for Miles Morales' powers also bestowed him with camouflage abilities and slight bio-electricity generation. Granted, this was a completely different spider from the one that bit the Peter Parker of that universe, and likely a different variation of the Oz. As such, everything from the species of the individual bug to formula differences could account for that variance in power.

With Silk, though, if you're looking for a genuine in-story reason, the only possible two could be:

  1. Genetic difference: Every individual's bio-chemistry is vastly different, even within the same family; this is how you can have one sibling who is deathly allergic to a biological element [like, say, peanuts, diary, or shrimp]... and another to whom it has absolutely no effect. Now, both of these individuals should ideally have the same base genetic markers from both parents, but for whatever reason, something makes the expression of a gene which causes a histamine reaction within one sibling, which the other simply lacks. Cindy Moon my have just possessed the base genes to express "silk creation," or a higher likelihood of that gene being expressed as an ability for her. As this seems to be a power Cindy shows right off, this is strongly implied to be the case.
    This is interesting, as it implies that anyone bitten by that same spider would gain similar "base powers" [Superhuman strength, speed, agility, stamina, reflexes and endurance, and clinging to surfaces]--- but that those abilities would occur at different levels, much the way some people are just built naturally stronger or faster. How this would affect the difference in the strength of their spider senses, I'm not sure....but I'd like to think Ezekiel's training her for years had something more to do with that; we've already seen that Peter can "train" his spider sense to be more focused, simply by just closing his eyes and blocking all other sensory input, so that difference could be natural, or developed.

I used this analog specifically because, while not an "allergic reaction", the exposure to the very same stimulus [the irradiated venom in the spider bite], produced, in some ways, differing physical expressions or effects on two individuals [Peter and Cindy], where as her genetics made her more likely to develop the organic spinnerets than his did. Mind you, I'm guessing Cindy hasn't [yet] had to deal with a "Man-spider" [or in her case, "Woman-spider"] mutation or transformation yet, or some of the other physical alterations Peter has gone through as his powers have evolved. But that could also be due to the fact that she was essentially sealed in a bunker for years and thus didn't have all the other outside stimuli [from the physically taxing confrontations, to the various exposures to radiation and other energies] that Peter experienced. It is also a possibility that, since Cindy was bitten after Peter, it could be that the spider itself had simply "continued mutating", and passed along an extra ability he'd only "just then" developed to her.

Miles case, as pointed out, is a little different, though....

Bio electricity and Camouflage

It's not "impossible" to see Miles gaining a type of "natural camouflage" ability from the spider bite; though it's portrayed oddly in the various media, natural camouflage is an ability a multitude of different arachnid species have evolved over time. Miles power, though, is less "camo" or "blending into your surroundings" than it is straight up invisibility... and that's a bit harder to explain; whereas camo works by essentially "tricking" the eyes due to the object mimicking or naturally fitting in with--- and thus becoming somewhat indistinguishable from---- its surroundings (think of sniper soldiers hiding themselves in the brush), true invisibility is accomplished basically by one of 2 ways, either:

  1. bending or refracting light around/way from the item being made invisible (if no light hits it, essentially it can't be perceived by any kind of lens), or
  2. Allowing light to pass through the item, so it's not so much "invisible" as it is "transparent".

I personally know of no species of spiders that can do either of these tricks... and only chameleons, specific octopi, and certain other reptiles are capable of truly "blending" their skins to match their backgrounds via a type of cellular/pigmentation alteration. So even if Miles could do that, which is conceivable... the resulting power should not effect his clothing. Yet, check out the comics; we see Miles "blend" his clothes along with his body almost seamlessly.

The bio-electricity generation of the Venom blast is a bit simpler and a little more straight forward.

Basically? All living things generate electricity. At least, all multi-celled creatures do.

Bio-electricity is quite the common phenomenon; our heartbeats, synaptic function in nerves and muscles, even the very blood running through veins all generate a nominal electrical current. Chemically speaking, a number of creatures, from insects and invertebrates to certain more complex organisms, are capable of producing bio-luminescence; this is nothing more than a small electrical charge being produced and working in tandem with natural chemicals within the body to create a glow.

Hell, Electric eels, a class of electric fish, can produce amperage of current so great they can use it offensively to actually stun or knock out prey...

This is more inline, I'm guessing, with Mile's Venom-Blast power; like these fish, the Oz formula probably allowed him to mutate and develop naturally occurring electric organs. Essentially, a part or parts of his body would now be made up of a type of "modified" muscle or nerve cells, which became specialized for producing bio-electric fields that are way stronger than those that normal nerves or muscles produce. With practice, Miles could store up these charges, and then be able to release them towards a target given specific conditions (what those conditions are, I don't know, because believe me, for electricity to just travel through the air, it's NOT a "simple" matter!)

Given the aforementioned natural ability spiders have to sense electric current, then, this ability isn't ....how should I say this?... Well, it's not completely outside comic possibility, with a "semi-real world" science-based answer, I guess.

So it's not so much that the powers are "non spider like", more so that they are the "less common" aspects (or perhaps exaggerations) of abilities already in existence in accordance with spiders.

The Reason WHY...

As to why Miles was granted these uncommon abilities as opposed to other spider people, there are a few possibilities to explore:

  1. Totally different Spider.

Starpilotsix gave a totally valid point as to how this wasn't the same "totemic" or "destiny" spider that bit Peter and Cindy. As such, everything from Miles' spider (genetic make up to age to diet to its species ) could have effected the enhanced abilities it would develop, and thus pass on via a bite. In the 1981 Spider man cartoon, a scientist studies Peter and tries to recreate his powers, using a totally different species, the Nephila clavipes or Golden orb spider. This was a real-world arachnid that is prevalent in South America, but as the experiment parameters, including the spider, were not identical the results on his body were... different, to say the least.

  1. Totally different genetics

As seen with even the same spider bite, in the 616 universe, it biting two different people (Peter and Cindy) can lead to the same base powers (Spider strength, agility, balance, enhanced metabolism and speed) but different distinct abilities as well (Peter's quicker healing and greater durability, Cindy's natural web generation and psychic level Spider sense.) It could just be that Mile's genetic structure lent him more towards the powers of bio-electricity and virtual invisibility than those of his predecessor.

  1. The distinction factor (aka, the writers wanted him to be "Unique")

Yes, this could have been a purely editorial decision. Given that Spider Man is such an icon, and they wanted to make Miles "his own person" more than a legacy character, the writers may have thrown in a few new powers to make him less "brand new spider man" and more "hero all his own." The mere fact that Spider Woman (Jessica Drew) had a Venom Blast ability means that its not unheard of for someone gaining spider power to have a type of electrical generation based ability, as well; in truth, I think Miles having that particular power is in homage to her.

To be fair, there is even an in-comics basis for this too...

Peter (616) has theorized that his "wall crawling" ability isn't done via tiny spider hairs or claws, but that he somehow "modulates the electrical charge" between himself and whatever he touches, like a form of SUPER "Static cling". His daughter (from another dimension) May "May Day" Parker had this ability as well, but it was way enhanced; she could literally touch something, create the electrical bond, let go, and it wouldn't release until she willed it to! Essentially, this is another power effected by electrical current, one Peter himself showcased. So, it's not again without grounds to say that some form of bio-electricity manipulation is a common ability for all spider people... Miles' own is just expressed or manifested a bit differently, is all.

Does any of this help?

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