Marvel's Spider-Man Faces a High School Shooting

Miles Morales learns Spider-Man can't save everyone, missing a mass shooting in his high school while he's busy being a comic superhero.

Miles Morales knows being Spider-Man and a student isn't easy, but it just got a whole lot worse: Miles was too busy being a superhero to stop a shooting in his very own high school.

This tragic twist in the life of Miles Morales is taking place in Champions #24, the Marvel comic following a team of young superheroes, currently facing the same return to school as so many of their teenage readers. While some of the heroes have yet to return to classes, Miles is playing hooky. But the day he skips class turns out to be the very same one that an all-too familiar tragedy strikes the teachers, students, and families of the Marvel Universe, as well.

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The preview of Champions #24 begins innocently and optimistic enough, with Spider-Man, Ironheart, Viv Vision, and the rest of the teens helping in the construction of a local community center. As they idly talk about their nerves over starting a new school, the struggles of making friends, and how "superheroes don't have time for clubs" is a really good excuse for parents, the celebration is cut short.

With a vibrating of Miles' phone, the "Emergency" alert message sends him instantly to the sky, pleading under his breath as he swings his way from Brownsville, Brooklyn to his high school. If the sudden alert sending Miles rushing to his high school doesn't drop your stomach enough, then his fellow heroes responding a moment behind definitely will. The scene develops over the next excruciating panels: the teen Champions uncovering the latest emergency reports that sent Miles into a panic, interspersed with his own frantic pleas that he's not too late.

But that's not the kind of story writer Jim Zub and artist Sean Izaakse are telling with this one-shot, titled "Trigger Warning." And as Miles reaches Brooklyn Visions Academy he can only scream as he finds the exact same scene played out on news programs every other month in America. Police cars and ambulances blocking off the school, and children collapsing on the street, or rushing into their parents' arms after a shooting has taken place at their school, too.

It's a powerful image to close this preview on, and one likely to remind readers of the emotions evoked after September 11th, 2001 - as both Marvel and DC struggled to address real-world tragedies with heroes who never failed to prevent them. And a stark reminder that Spider-Man "speaking to high schoolers" used to mean being bullied, studying, or chasing his crush... but today means existing with the knowledge that his school could be the site of the next national tragedy.

The official synopsis for the issue promises that these teenage heroes will be faced with "a foe that all the super-powered in the world cannot vanquish." The fact that Brooklyn Visions is an esteemed charter school matters just as little as the fact that it has a superhero for a student. But what comes next for Miles, and the rest of the Champions?

To find out, Marvel readers will have to wait for the full Champions #24 to hit newsstands on Wednesday, September 12th.

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