Given the huge success of Spider-Man PS4 it wasn’t too shocking Marvel produced “Gamerverse” comics to go along with it. The first series titled “City at War” is out this week in paperback, allowing fans to jump into the game story without having to play it. If you’ve only played the game and want to get into comics, it makes a lot of sense to start here.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
The amazing adventures of the wallcrawler from a whole new universe! Showered with worldwide acclaim, the blockbuster game Marvel’s Spider-Man has everyone’s spider-sense buzzing! Now you can experience the emotional and shock-filled story that takes favorite characters including Mary Jane, Aunt May, Norman Osborn, Otto Octavius and Miles Morales, and spins them into an all-new and unexpected web of drama, spectacle, and classic Spidey action in the Mighty Marvel Manner! After years of seeing Wilson Fisk escape criminal prosecution, the wisecracking webslinger finally has the opportunity to team with the NYPD to help them arrest his fearsome foe. But how will the mysterious Mister Negative’s ascent to power bring Peter Parker’s civilian life and Spider-Man’s superhuman world crashing together? Includes all-new story moments never seen in the game – and bonus behind-the-scenes content!
Why does it matter?
Marvel, and Mark Basso explains in the welcome printed in the back of this book that this is a series that Marvel is committing to. That means new stories outside of the games, but also the development of supporting characters and the exploration of scenes not in the game. You see it a few times while reading this like with Swarm making an appearance. That’s exciting if you’re looking forward to the inevitable follow up video game, which will likely play off this and future Gamerverse series.
Is this a great Spider-Man story?
If you’re reading this and have the thought, “Wait, I’ve seen this all before,” you’re not alone. This series follows the story from the first few hours of the game all the way up to the final boss battle. Readers who haven’t played the game are in for a treat since this will all be brand new, but as a gamer who finished the video game, I can say it’s still fun to see the story again in comic book format. It’s not brand new, but it’s interesting to see the playable game set up in panels and word balloons. Writer Dennis ‘Hopeless’ Hallum has done a great job with dialogue, keeping Spidey punchy and funny when he needs to be. This is a solid rendition of Peter thanks to the dialogue, and really all the supporting characters. They are of course slightly different in this universe but sound faithful to the game.
Ultimately, you’re going to like this if you like traditional Spider-Man. Mary Jane is strongly written, the sciencey, genius side of Peter Parker is very apparent, and a strong sense of heroism is never too far. The new take on Doc Ock is also quite clever and should have fans nodding with agreement as it makes so much sense.
Artist Michele Bandini knows how to draw a mean Spider-Man, too. A full-page splash of the character thwipping through NYC is proof of that in the first issue. In a double page spread in the fourth issue, Doc Ock’s arms deviate panels across two pages, revealing flashback moments between Doc Ock and Norman. The juxtaposition of Otto as a good man being abused by Norman with his mechanical arms slithering across the page adds to the threat level that brews to the finale. Iconic moments from the game are rendered well too, showing off how comics can do things as well as if not better than a game. Take for instance a moment where Spidey is punching Kingpin down through a skyscraper. They fall from top left of the page all the way to the bottom right, helping your imagination connect the dots. Familiar faces like Doc Ock and Captain Watanabe are spot on too.
It can’t be perfect, right?
Is it good?
As a big fan of the PS4 video game, I can say I’m dying to see this comic series catch up with the game story. It’s nice to recap the adventure and it certainly brings fond memories, but it’s going to be exciting to read further adventures in one of the coolest game universes ever made. This is an easy 9 out of 10 for anyone who hasn’t played the game.