Like I said the last time I talked about this game, I love Marvel’s Spider-Man Colon This Game Needed a Subtitle. It was my favorite game of 2018. But no game is perfect, and for me the most not-perfect part of Spider-Man was the character Silver Sable. And I want to make it clear this is the version of the character I’m going to be criticizing. She’s been around for decades in various comic books, and I’m sure writers have told many good stories with her. But not this time.
In the comics, Silver Sable is a semi-obscure sometime ally of Spider-Man. She’s not as obscure as D-lister Boomerang, but she’s not as popular as people like Black Cat, either. She first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #265 back in 1985. While this game isn’t directly connected to any extant Spider-Man continuity, its characters generally don’t stray very far from the design of their comic-book counterparts. Silver Sable is usually a mercenary, often the leader of some sort of military force, and has been known to team up with both heroes and villains. She’s a normal human that relies on fitness and martial arts training to get by in the superhero world.
Not that the game ever tells you any of this. Within the story, you never learn about her character or her powers. She just strolls into the story and casually kicks Spider-Man’s ass in three different cutscenes. In return, she never ends up knocked down, webbed up, or knocked out. Spider-Man never lays a hand on her in these three altercations and you never get to settle up with her in the end.
Attention: I’m going to be spoiling most of the game here, so if you don’t want spoilers than you need to bail now.
Now, the knee-jerk reaction is that it doesn’t make sense that this normal human being should be able to casually brush aside someone as powerful as Spider-Man. While his power level varies from one adaptation to the next, he’s always depicted as having superhuman reflexes, superhuman agility, and the strength to lift several tons. So when Silver Sable shows up and steamrolls him without breaking a sweat, it immediately makes the audience wonder how someone so powerful could lose so badly to a mundane person.
That was my reaction when I played through the game the first time, and I gather a lot of other people felt the same way. Except, I don’t think this is the real problem with Silver Sable. After all, Black Cat is just a regular person with good training, and nobody has a problem with Spider-Man losing to her. Same goes for the Punisher, who has basically the same resume as Silver Sable: Guns, fitness, and training. While I don’t think Spidey ever faced off against Black Widow, I have no problem believing she could outwit and overpower him. Heck, one of Spider-Man’s original foes is Kingpin, despite the fact that Kingpin is just a burly human and Spider-Man ought to be able to toss him into the air with one hand.
My point is that superhero power levels are incredibly flexible and arguments over which characters can or can’t prevail over which other characters are mostly pointless fan wank. So why are we okay with Spider-Man losing to Black Cat, but then we object when he gets beat up by Silver Sable? What’s the deal here? Continue reading 〉〉 ” Silver Sable Sucks”