Image from the video game 'Marvel's Spider-Man 2' from Insomniac Games and Sony Interactive. Miles Morales and Peter Parker are crouched on a city rooftop in their Spider-Man suits. Miles' is black and red while Peter's is red and blue. Both are looking at their cell phones, but Miles' hand is on his forehead as if he's disturbed by something he's seeing.

‘Spider-Man 2’ Apparently Doesn’t Know the Difference Between the Puerto Rican and Cuban Flags

And this isn't even the first time a Spidey story has done this!

Sony Interactive’s latest PS5 offering with Insomniac Games, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, gives us both OG Spider-Man Peter Parker and Afro-Latino Spider-Man Miles Morales, whose mom’s family is Puerto Rican. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to know the difference between the Puerto Rican and Cuban flags.

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As reported by Remezcla, Latines who’ve played the game have called out the fact that in two scenes designed to show Miles Morales’ connection to his heritage, the game’s artists have mistakenly inserted the Cuban flag instead of the Puerto Rican flag.

Clicking through the photo carousel above, you’ll see a huge Cuban flag hanging on the wall in Miles’ Puerto Rican home and another scene where Cuban flags hang alongside the U.S. flag in Miles’ Puerto Rican neighborhood in New York City.

What’s particularly frustrating about this is that later in the game, players can unlock a special Spidey suit for Miles with the Puerto Rican flag on it, and that one is correct.

Image of four different Puerto Rican Spider-Man suits to choose from that can be unlocked in the game 'Marvel's Spider-Man 2.' They stand against a blue background and all the suits have a Puerto Rican flag design down the chest. From left to right, the suits are greyish-blue, blue, red, and white.
(Sony Interactive Entertainment)

This isn’t the first time Marvel has made a similar mistake in a Spidey story

As reported by Vibe, the reverse mistake was made in Marvel Comics in 2016. In Amazing Spider-Man #1.2, written by Puerto Rican Jose Molina and drawn by artist Simone Bianchi, Peter Parker travels to Cuba. And yet, right in the first panel of the comic, a glaring error is plain as day:

Image from a panel of issue #1.2 of 2016's "The Amazing Spider-Man." Spider-Man is perched on a building overlooking what is supposed to be a city in Cuba, but across the way from him a Puerto Rican flag is flying.
(Marvel Comics)

So, in that instance, the Puerto Rican flag stood in for the Cuban flag in a Cuban-set story. Molina promptly apologized for the gaffe on social media, though he couldn’t explain how it happened, and Marvel corrected future printed editions and the digital edition of the issue.

“I HAVE TO APOLOGIZE for a mistake that appeared in issue 1.2 of #AmazingSpiderMan, which I wrote and which hit stores today. In the book, Spidey arrives in the town square of Remedios, Cuba… which is inexplicably flying the Puerto Rican flag instead of the Cuban flag. We screwed up, and I’m sorry.

As you may know, the two flags are identical except for the colors of their star and stripes. As a Puerto Rican born-and-raised, I can’t tell you how embarrassed I am by this mix-up. It was an honest mistake; I can’t explain how it happened. My colleagues and I will be twice as vigilant in the future to ensure that such a gaffe doesn’t happen again.

In the meantime, can we pretend that Spidey arrived next door to the Puerto Rican embassy? Even though such a place doesn’t exist? Thanks, you’re the best! ?”

@JoseMolinaTV on X (formerly Twitter)

Remezcla also reports that “the original Miles Morales game released by Insomniac Games in 2020 made the same mistake before pushing out a patch.”

If we’re going to bother with culture, it should be handled with care

Rio snapping at her son (Miles Morales) who sits between her and his father. Her snap creates a Puerto Rican flag.
I mean, peep this attention to detail in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. Rio’s literally ‘snapping in Puerto Rican.’ (Sony Pictures Animation)

For my own edification, I looked up the Spider-Man 2 credits (note that the YouTube link also contains the post-credits scenes) and watched them to see how many Latine names I could spot. I know this isn’t an exact science. After all, some Latine-sounding names might actually be Italian or Spanish or belong to non-Latines who married Latines. Meanwhile, some names that sound like gringo names might belong to Latines for any number of reasons.

However, after combing through the end credits of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 (shout-out to former TMS Associate Editor Sam Maggs, who is the game’s Senior Writer!), I counted 57 “obviously” Latine names in the credits with titles like “Lead Environmental Artist,” “Lead Technical Artist,” “Senior Material Artist,” and “Senior Animator.” Several “Quality Assurance Testers” have last names like Monteverde or Lopez, and there were more Hernandezes, Gonzalezes, and Martinezes than I could shake a stick at.

In other words, this isn’t necessarily an issue of there “not being enough Latines” hired to work on this game. There were many, and many of them were heads of their respective departments. Errors like this are primarily an issue of priority. Miles Morales will always be visibly Black, but effort needs to be put into reminding people that he’s also Latino. While his last name does part of the job, it isn’t used as often as “Miles” or Spider-Man.

Obviously, the Puerto Rican flags and Cuban flags are similar. Confusing the flags of these two islands in the Caribbean is an “easy mistake to make.” Still, mistakes like this show a level of carelessness that betrays how little Miles Morales’ two cultures are prioritized. They’re prioritized just enough to make the effort of including a flag in the first place, but not prioritized enough to triple or quadruple-check that the “easy mistake to make” isn’t made.

Video games in development have to cross so many people’s desks and are seen by so many eyeballs before they’re released out into the world. The fact that no one caught this before the game’s release is sad. Especially considering that Miles Morales is one of the few Latino superheroes—certainly one of the most well-known—that Marvel Comics has.

It isn’t enough to “hire Latines.” Those Latines, as well as everyone else involved, need to prioritize detail and accuracy when representing a specific Latine culture. Otherwise, I’d just as soon tell them not to bother, because I don’t know what’s worse—no representation at all, or representation that’s careless and inaccurate.

(featured image: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

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Image of Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.