Image Courtesy of Marvel Comics
Welcome back, readers! Gee, it’s still Saturday, isn’t it?! I guess it would be since I promised two reviews in one day. Anyway, for today’s second review I’ll be taking a look at “Spider-Man: City at War” written by Dennis Hopeless. This miniseries is the adaptation of the 2018 videogame “Marvel’s Spider-Man”, which was nominated for Game Of The Year in December. When this book was first announced, I was super excited because, even though I’d never played the game first hand, I’d seen it played many times on YouTube and other video sites. So, needless to say, I was eager to have a tangible version of this amazing story. Now that the obligatory intro is out of the way, let’s dive in.
Before going too much farther, I should note that this post will be more of a comparison between the series and the game rather than a spoiler-free review. So, hopefully, you’ve played the game or read the comic
In my humble opinion, this story in the game is masterfully crafted. A lot of times with video games revolving around superheroes, they’re just adaptations of movies that came out beforehand and they often fall short of the quality of the film. However, the 2018 Spider-Man game is a completely original story that stands apart from any pre-existing material. Sure, the origin of Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, is still the same. But we’re presented with a Spider-Man that’s been at the superhero gig for about 8 years. The fact that it’s allowed to stand on its own without having to adhere to any pre-existing expectations definitely works in its favor. The story and characters can breathe more and act more freely due to the fact that it’s something entirely new. And there are also some interesting twists to the story that fans probably weren’t expecting. For example: Rather than working as a photographer for “The Daily Bugle”, Peter works as an intern for his mentor, Dr. Otto Octavius. Mary Jane has taken over the role of photographer/reporter at “The Bugle”. An interesting twist for fans who know her as an actress/model.
I could go on and on about how fun and interesting the game is. But that article would be far too long. So, what about the book? Well, that’s an interesting story. As I said before, I was eager to get my hands on this book the moment it was announced. However, after reading the first couple of issues, I had some concerns. The main one being that I wasn’t sure six issues was enough to tell a 30-40-hour story. In the first two issues the comic was already abbreviating some of the events of the game and I wasn’t sure how to feel about that. Thankfully, those worries were quickly dashed away when I realized that these moments were being made brief so that other areas of the story could be expanded upon. I can live with that. Especially when the new parts only serve to enrich Spider-Man and his world and supporting cast. So, it was a fair trade.
Another thing that I enjoyed about this book is that it doesn’t have to stay attached to the larger Marvel Universe or reference anything therein because neither did the game. I know I keep coming back to it, but it’s so refreshing to have Spider-Man stand on his own without the weight of an entire universe bringing him down. Not that I don’t love it when I see Spidey hanging out with Iron Man or Hulk. I live for that kind of stuff! But, every once in awhile, it’s ok to let him deal with city-wide catastrophes without being able to call on The Avengers or The Fantastic Four for help. I think that’s when he’s at his best. It’s also fine to twist the lore a little bit to give readers some unexpected surprises along the way. This story is a testament to delivering a good surprise. At least, that’s my opinion. Judge for yourself.
In the end, I don’t think it’s fair to compare the two presentations of this story because they’re exactly the same, just with some minor differences made specifically for the book. And it’s pretty much the best solo Spidey adventure I’ve read in a long time. Even better than “Amazing” proper right now if you can believe that. No Iron Man, no Avengers, no backup. Just Spidey dealing with these problems the best he can. So, what’s the verdict? I say check it out even if you already played the game. There’re enough differences to make it worth it. It has my full endorsement!
Well, that’s it for this Saturday double dose. I hope you enjoyed everything I wrote today! Next time I’ll continue to work my way through the X-Men revamp by Jonathan Hickman. Have a good weekend and until next time, stay comical!