Spider-Man Part 4: Welcome to the Lab Anyway

By Shamus Posted Thursday Dec 20, 2018

Filed under: Retrospectives 51 comments

After the big showdown, Fisk is taken into police custody. As the police prepare to take him away, he bellows to Spider-Man that the city will be falling apart inside of a month. Fisk claims he’s the one who’s been keeping order in the city. As it will turn out, that’s basically true.

I like this take on the character. Kingpin was never very compelling as an adversary in combat, but he’s pretty interesting as a political adversary / foil. Both Kingpin and Spider-Man love New York, and both work very hard to protect it. Sure, Fisk probably accomplishes this through bribery, extortion, assassination, and other strong-arm tactics. And yes, he probably extracts a lot of wealth from the city in the process. But it seems like he’s a sort of quasi-benevolent dictator. He keeps the trains running on time, as it were.

We’re technically free of the linear tutorial mission at this point. But none of the side-activities have been unlocked yet so instead of swinging off to explore the open world let’s stick with the main story for a bit longer.

Continuity

It's working! Increase power to the foreshadowment processor and maximize the portentous imagery regulator!
It's working! Increase power to the foreshadowment processor and maximize the portentous imagery regulator!

After the showdown at Fisk Tower, Peter heads to work. He’s late and it causes problems. I mean, obviously. It turns out that in this continuity Peter Parker no longer works for the Daily Bugle. Instead he works as a research assistant for… Otto Octavius?

So this Spider-Man story takes place after the Kingpin has been defeated but before the creation of Doctor Octopus? In the comics Doc Ock pre-dates Kingpin, so this story doesn’t fit into any of the existing timelines that I know about. That’s probably for the best. It means this Peter Parker isn’t dragging along decades of clones, alien invasions, dimension-hopping, deaths, or any of the other other strange twists from the last half century. On the other hand, we’re apparently meeting this version of Spidey about eight years into his career. We’ve skipped over both high school and college, which is the status quo most non-comic fans are going to be familiar with.

I’m really glad Sony resisted the urge to try to connect this game to Spider-Man Homecoming. Sony Entertainment is the publisher of this game. Sony Pictures is the distributor of Homecoming and they technically hold the rights to all Spider-Man related movie stuff. Sony is really fond of their cross-branding exercises and leveraging their IP holdingsWhich is why they’re now making movies about Spider-Man villains that contain no Spider-Man., so it must have been tempting for them to lean on Insomniac Games and encourage them to make this game brand-compatible with the Tom Holland version of the characterAnd maybe they did! We have no way of knowing.. But that’s not what we got. Instead, this Spider-Man seems to have his own instance of the Marvel Universe where the writer will be free to change continuity, stage major events, and kill off major characters without needing to ask permission first.

Again, all of this is probably for the best.

Let’s Do the Science!

Man, these guys make such a good team. I bet this friendship is going to last forever.
Man, these guys make such a good team. I bet this friendship is going to last forever.

Peter and Dr. Octavius are apparently collaborating on robotic prosthesis with a neural interface. Because Peter is late, he didn’t get to check the equipment before the test. As a result, there’s a “power overload” that blows up a bunch of equipment and fills the lab with smoke. And wouldn’t you know it, Otto’s backers show up just moments after the lab fire and it’s clear they’re not happy with his lack of progress. And since Peter was too busy being Spider-Man to check the equipment, it means all of this is Peter’s fault! Can you believe his luck? Sometimes it feels like there must be some unseen force working against him.

I should note that we nearly have this prosthetic technology in today’s world, and it’s not really something that’s at risk for lab-destroying explosions. Again, this is obviously a cartoon world in conception but a realistic one in presentation and I find the dissonance to be really distracting.

And yes, the writer is already leaning into the Dr. Octopus foreshadowing. Our destination is not a surprise, and the main mystery is how we’ll get there. This is probably a smart way to handle such well-known material.

While Octavius placates his investors, Peter decides to enact some repairs. So now it’s time to play some minigames.

Circuit City

This isn't as silly as when Bioshock had you re-program a security camera using steam pipes.
This isn't as silly as when Bioshock had you re-program a security camera using steam pipes.

In a bold move, Insomniac Games has broken free of the standard minigame template and crafted something bold and inventive that’s perfectly suited to the duality of our main character and explores his most- Nah I’m just kidding. It’s pipe dream again.

To be fair, this is a really polished version of this classic time-wasting minigame. You have to lay out circuits on a circuit board, making sure to pass through certain gates in order to balance the voltage. It’s harmless. You can enable an option that will allow you to skip puzzles at will, so you’re free to try them and see if they suit you. I think they mesh well with the science nerd aspect of our protagonist and they give Peter something to do around the lab besides apologize and blame himself for everything.

There’s a second minigame here that’s supposed to represent materials research. You have to match lined patterns in a spectrograph-ish kinda machine to discover the chemical makeup of… whatever it is you’re looking at. Again, it’s not really interesting enough to be a game in its own right but it’s harmless and optional. And unlike pipe dream, it’s at least new. It certainly beats any of the puzzles Rocksteady gave to poor Batman.

And speaking of Batman’s puzzles…

Ubiesque

Spider-Man needs to fix all the towers around the city. They say Oscorp on the side, but they feel like they were built by Ubisoft.
Spider-Man needs to fix all the towers around the city. They say Oscorp on the side, but they feel like they were built by Ubisoft.

Once we’re done at the lab, it’s time for more tutorials. Yuri calls Spider-Man and asks him to come to the roof of the police building. It turns out there are police communication towers around the city that – stop me if you’ve heard this one before – need to be fixed and as you fix them it will reveal crimes, collectibles, and sidequests around the area. The game even does the “slow 360 pan around the tower while playing music” when you fix one.

To fix the towers you need to make a couple of waveforms line up. You use one analog stick to adjust the amplitude and the other to modulate the frequency. If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry. All you need to know is that you’re going to be playing the Batman: Arkham Sequel hacking minigame. A lot.

Yes, this open-world stuff is relentlessly derivative. On the other hand, it’s not bad. It’s an Ubisoft-styled collect-a-thon, but it’s a pretty good Ubisoft-styled collect-a-thon. It helps that this system simply encourages you to engage with the brilliant traversal mechanics. Swinging from tower to tower in Spider-Man is fun in a way that (say) walking from tower to tower in Far Cry is not.

Insomniac took Batman's worst gameplay mechanic and married it to Ubisoft's infamous tower-fixing. I can't believe they got away with this.
Insomniac took Batman's worst gameplay mechanic and married it to Ubisoft's infamous tower-fixing. I can't believe they got away with this.

It helps that the collectibles are pretty fun. The main collectibles you’ll be looking for are old lost backpacks that Spider-Man has left across the city over the years. Each backpack contains some bit of backstory or sly reference to other Spidey properties. Each one has a little 3D model for you to examine and voiceover from Peter explaining how the object is important to him. It feels less like a generic gathering sidequest and more like the interesting archaeological finds you could discover in Tomb raider 2013, where Lara would examine an object and geek out about its significance. We get something to look at, a bit of backstory, some characterization, and a motivation to go swinging all over the city. If more of Ubisoft’s games had this sort of collection quest in them, then the genre might not have such a bad reputation by this point.

There are other items to collect around the city, but I’ll talk more about that stuff when we run into it.

J. Jonah Jameson

I can't get a screenshot of a podcast, so here's the Daily Bugle.
I can't get a screenshot of a podcast, so here's the Daily Bugle.

If you’ve seen a single piece of Spider-Man based entertainment in the last half century then you’re probably aware of this guy. He’s usually Peter’s cantankerous boss at the Daily Bugle. He pays Peter for pictures of Spider-Man, which he uses to sell his articles of anti-Spider-Man scaremongering, outrage, and moral panic.

This is yet another riff on the idea that a lot of Peter Parker’s friends / acquaintances are Spider-Man’s enemies. Green Goblin, Lizard, Black Cat, and Venom are all examples of people who know Peter in civilian life but then end up fighting him in costume. Later in this story we’ll add a couple more characters to this list.

In this iteration, JJJ has moved on from the Bugle and now runs some sort of talk radio / podcast type show. I like this idea because it’s a good way to integrate this iconic character within a video game. It would be lame if we had to open up an in-game newspaper to read one of Jameson’s screeds, but here his podcast just starts playing as we’re swinging around the open worldYou can disable it in the menu if you like.. His shows usually appear after major plot points and have him explaining to the audience why Spider-Man’s recent public heroics are actually selfish, destructive, or insidious. I really like the angle the writer takes with this. After you listen to a couple of shows you can get the sense that he imagines Spider-Man is motivated by a desire for fame and public approval, because that’s what motivates Jameson. His scaremongering is mostly the product of his own jealousy. He craves public adoration and he assumes Spider-Man is driven by that same desire.

The in-game photo mode is really robust and good for setting up novelty shots like this one.
The in-game photo mode is really robust and good for setting up novelty shots like this one.

Having said that, the JJJ podcast is a one-note joke that gets old long before we get to the end. It’s mostly the same joke told again and again, where JJJ goes on a rant and accidentally destroys his own argument or otherwise makes a buffoon of himself. It’s not a bad joke, but there’s not enough of it to fill this many two-minute monologues. If the writer really felt the need to give him this much time and attention, then I think he needed to be more than a strawman dumbass.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Which is why they’re now making movies about Spider-Man villains that contain no Spider-Man.

[2] And maybe they did! We have no way of knowing.

[3] You can disable it in the menu if you like.



From The Archives:
 

51 thoughts on “Spider-Man Part 4: Welcome to the Lab Anyway

  1. Bubble181 says:

    Between the combat mechanics, the towers with slow-panning to reveal collectibles, and everything else, I still haven’t found a single difference with Shadow of War, instead of an Ubisoft game. But, you know.

    1. Lars says:

      Shadow of War isn’t Ubisoft, its Warner Brothers. But it copies the Ubisoft-formula in every footstep. Like a lot of well reviewed titles do. Horizon: Zero Dawn by Sony is a collect-a-ton. Ori and the blind Forest is a collect-a-ton with Metroidvania excuse.. Infamous, and Tomb Raider are the same.
      It’s how you do it, that makes the fun. Even UbiSoft can do this right.
      In Watchdogs (1) the collected items revealed world building and characterization details, which in my opinion where pretty good. What CToS watches, how the criminals used the CToS system and how it was invented and by whom.

  2. Tobias says:

    I got seriously annoyed by the “Spiderman ruins Peter’s life” segments. To which I include Johnsons podcast thematically.

    They are so ridiculously blatant, that I always feel like they are assuming that Spiderman (the game) is the only work ever to have negative consequences resulting from Superheroing.

    Johnson reinforces this message constantly.
    Every time Johnson opens his mouth I hear him saying : “If you have consumed ANY media that have heroes struggle with their civilian live or negative consequences of their actions before encountering the Spiderman franchise, you should not be playing this.”

    1. Redrock says:

      “Spiderman ruins Peter’s life” is, I think, a defining characteristic of the character. I mean, you can blame it on Slott, of course, but I think that’s an inherent part of most Spidey stories, that tug-of-war between his own life and his superheroics. I don’t think Spidey can really be Spidey without it. Sure, you can occasionally have a Spider-Geddon where secret identities don’t matter, but your regular everyday Spidey stories basically depend on that. And I think the game mostly did a pretty mellow version of that compared to what happens to poor old Pete in the comics.

    2. shoeboxjeddy says:

      Jameson, not Johnson.

  3. Redrock says:

    The JJJ podcast confused me a bit, because I for the life of me couldn’t figure out what the writers intended with it. On the one hand, it’s seems to be an parody of Alex Jones, complete with conspiracy theories, etc. Buuut, on the other hand, sometimes he talks about escalation, accountability, Spidey’s lack of formal training, etc, and in some cases, well, Jonah has a point. He seems to be portrayed as a true believer in democracy, he is highly sceptical of Osborn and Sable. But other times, he is as cartoony as the character gets. I dunno. Maybe that’s just me getting old and cynical, of course. I wonder how much of the latest run of Spectacular Spider Man impacted the character in the game.

    1. ccesarano says:

      I felt the same way. Sometimes JJJ sounds like he’s a parody of the Fox News stereotype, other times full on Alex Jones, and then… sometimes he says something with a point, and I’m left wondering if the writer wanted him to feel three-dimensional but instead felt inconsistent, or if the writer would think I’m a horrible person because I’m never actually supposed to agree with Jameson.

      What’s more, I never actually found J. Jonah Jameson funny, and as my greatest familiarity with the character were the Raimi films (I’ve forgotten about 95% of what I saw in the 90’s cartoon), I began wondering if the character was only comic relief in the films. I asked folks at my local comic shop if JJJ was comic relief in the comics themselves, and after describing his personality in the game many of them felt it was a more serious take than in the comics.

      1. Ander says:

        Sometimes having a good point doesn’t need to make him “inconsistent.” Just because his essential beliefs don’t seem consistent (certainly the writer wants to mock them), that doesn’t mean he’s suddenly out-of-character because he says something that makes sense.

        I do think his portrayal in-game is supposed to be funny in general, so if that wasn’t ever your response then I think that part of the game failed to work for you.

      2. Taellosse says:

        Different writers have handled Jameson somewhat differently over the years. Most treat him as a bit of a joke, but others have tried to humanize him in various ways – in the 80s(?) they did a storyline where it was revealed that the reason Jameson hates Spidey so much is specifically because he wears a mask and hides his identity – apparently Jameson had some really nasty experiences with the KKK in his youth that makes him pathologically suspicious of anonymous vigilantes (I’m not sure, but I think this may have even been related to the death of his first wife, the mother of John Jameson the astronaut). This was also used as an explanation why Jameson doesn’t tend to go on rants about ALL superheroes – a fair number of them had public or semi-public identities at the time, such as Captain America and the Fantastic Four.

        Jameson and Spider-Man have buried the proverbial hatchet a few times, too, for one reason or another. There’s generally eventually been some precipitating event to reignite JJJ’s antipathy – most recently (I think – I only follow comic events intermittently) Spidey failed to save Jameson’s second wife from being killed by a monster. Though even more recently, Spider-Man actually revealed to JJJ that he was Peter Parker (for some reason – I didn’t read the story where it happened), and it has prompted Jameson to make a complete U-turn and become Spider-Man’s biggest booster (which is annoying in its own unique way for the ol’ webslinger).

    2. guy says:

      I think he’s meant to be a generally decent journalist who is a bit too much of a glory hound and has an insane vendetta against Spider-man. One born from his genuine concern about vigilantes and lack of accountability. He has a point about Spider-man lacking formal police training and collateral damage from villain fights, then he goes off into crazytown about him causing problems in order to get the glory for solving them and not properly addressing his callers’ points about how Spider-man is capturing villains and generally improving things.

    3. Decius says:

      Try looking at him as a multifaceted character, rather than an imitation of Alex Jones.

      1. Thomas says:

        It’s interesting when not _all_ of what someone says is wrong because you have to figure out how you tell the difference and draw the line. There are Alex Jones’ like figures right now who are genuinely very smart and can be quite captivating to hear talk, but then someone asks them a question about something ridiculous they’ve said elsewhere and the whole thing comes crashing down.

        Saying that Alex Jones and JJJ definitely don’t map 1 to 1 in this game, there are some clear distinctions.

        What I like about JJJ here, is at his core JJJ has quite a respectable sincere worldview – if not exactly balanced. But his ego and his spiderman hatred wreck that.

        My favourite of his skits are where he’s talking about something non-spiderman related and he’s being quite intelligent and decent until spiderman gets mentioned and he’ll go to pieces, contradicting himself to do it.

    4. Hal says:

      I think the joke with JJJ was that everything (EVERYthing) is Spider-Man’s fault. Whatever he complains about, you’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop and he finds a way to complain about Spider-Man in the process.

      I loved the JJJ segments, but I can see how they’d wear on someone.

    5. Moridin says:

      That sounds pretty much like JJJ from the comics I remember. Other than his obsession with Spider-man, he’s basically a good journalist(albeit with somewhat abrasive personality) with integrity.

      1. Joe Informatico says:

        Like a lot of comics characters who’ve been around forever, he’s had so many interpretations any updated version has a lot of leeway. There’s the Jameson who’s jealous of Spider-Man because he’s understandably frustrated that “real heroes” like his astronaut son aren’t given the same public adoration as a costumed vigilante. And then there’s the Jameson who on multiple occasions has literally hired and created supervillains to hunt down Spider-Man. And the more recent version you mention, the oldschool newspaper man of integrity who’s just obsessed with this one vigilante.

    6. Liessa says:

      JJJ came off to me as an amalgamation of every ‘shock jock’ ever, rather than any particular person. I found his rants amusing the first couple of times (and yeah, I did think he had a point about some things), but like Shamus, I thought the joke wore out its welcome pretty quickly. Particularly once the story started getting a lot more serious, and JJJ was still ranting about Spiderman being responsible for all the world’s evils.

      1. guy says:

        I felt like the joke stopped being funny by the eleventh repetition or so and ended up switching the auto-play off.

        Which was really too bad, because he does switch into hard-hitting investigative journalist mode to grill Norman Osborne about the whole “international mercenary police force replacement” thing, and he’s got some pretty on-point questions about the whole citywide crime detection network that doesn’t work until it’s hacked by a wandering vigilante. The whole thing is a massive civil rights violation even before “some guy” gains total access to everything it detects.

        I’d have liked it if they’d reigned in the shouting and had JJJ focus on making the point that it’s not great to be stuck relying on the individual moral code of some unaccountable vigilante, and cut back on his mad ranting about Spider-man’s elaborate plan to sabotage the city water system then claim credit for fixing it.

    7. Blake says:

      I really loved the JJJ stuff just because he felt so plausible, and while he was certainly overboard with Spider-Man and went a little bit conspiracy-nut at times, it felt like he was primarily driven by a desire for accountability.

      I liked that when Scorpion came up he made sure everyone was clear about his involvement with Scorpion’s creation, he didn’t hide anything, he accepted his mistakes and was focused on resolving them.
      On the other hand Spider-Man drove him nuts because he had no accountability and everyone adored him without even knowing who he was. To JJJ that’s an incredibly dangerous thing that sets a terrible precedent, and I imagine if the real world had masked vigilante heroes running around I can imagine a lot of people coming to the same conclusion even if they were trying to do a lot of good.

  4. Sannom says:

    Does anyone know why they decided to give Otto Octavius the likeness of the former French President François Hollande? That feels weird.

    1. Redrock says:

      Ah, that’s easy. It was done to compensate for Peter not looking like Tom Holland.

      1. Sannom says:

        Ha! Good one.

    2. Olivier FAURE says:

      Probably for the same reason GTA V’s Trevor was modeled after French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

      (but holy shit, yeah, I cannot unsee this)

    3. Christopher says:

      Oh wow

  5. Ed says:

    One hyper nitpick and one disagreement. On the spider-villains, black cat isn’t exactly someone Peter knows to begin with, or if she is she doesn’t care. Black Cat typically only likes he spider-man half of peter, and does her best to ignore/tolerate the Peter half.

    On the JJJ podcasts, I loved every single one. I don’t think there’s a point of disagreeing on if jokes work, but this was one of my favorite part of the whole experience. I like how a lot of JJJ’s points have a twinge of truth to them, and how he honestly believes in everything he’s saying, as opposed to the Alex Jones types he’s sort of parodying

  6. ccesarano says:

    Going into Spider-Man I heard a lot of people disliked the science mini-games, and so I braced myself for an annoying distraction to the main game. Instead, they were possibly my favorite side-activity. Not only did it feel more appropriate for Peter’s skill-set, but they were genuinely clever and fresh enough without being [i]too[/i] troublesome or frustrating.

    You’re right about the open-world, though, and I’d agree that the activities were largely enjoyable because they were an excuse to engage with the mechanics. I probably wouldn’t have been so eager to hit up all the towers were it not for the web-slinging, and same with the backpacks. Nevertheless, I feel like the Ubiworld is one of the game’s biggest detriments, and not far in I began wishing I had more activities to do that involved actual super-heroics but fewer punches thrown at punk faces.

  7. Sarfa says:

    On the second footnote, we do know this version of Spider-Man is different to the Tom Holland version that’s in the MCU films. Mainly due to the world around him- this games version of Adrian Toomes (The Vulture) is quite close to the comics version and thus very different to the version of Adrian Toomes played by Micheal Keaton in Homecoming.

    1. Shamus says:

      Yes, they are clearly different. My comment of “Maybe they did!” was meant as “Maybe Sony did pressure them.” As in, maybe Sony wanted this game to fit with their movies, and Insomniac resisted / refused.

      1. Redrock says:

        Seing as how Homecoming is part of the MCU and a product of Sony’s rather bizarre deal with Marvel, I suspect Sony didn’t really have a say in this. It’s very murky at this point, but a Homecoming game would also be an MCU game and I think Sony can’t really do that.

        And, honestly, I don’t think the Spider-Man brand really has to be tied to the face under the mask to be successful. Even Sony can realize that.

        1. Decius says:

          The post-college MCU Spider-Man would have to have experienced the spoilers of Avengers: Endgame in order to even exist.

  8. Suds says:

    I do have to agree with you on JJJ here, it’s why I honestly feel like one of the freshest things they’ve done with Spider-Man in the comics recently is give him a whole issue where he has an honest heart to heart with Jonah to try and understand him and then end up empathizing with him so much that he feels comfortable revealing his identity.

  9. Allen Gould says:

    “You can turn it off in the settings.”

    That should be the new AAA mantra – do you want QTE? Great, it’s there. No? Turn ’em off. Watching the LPs for this game I was amazed at how much you can customize your experience in terms of minigames, QTEs, JJ yelling in your ear.

    (Now it just needs to come out for a console I own.)

    1. Karma The Alligator says:

      Was about to say that, I’m amazed at the amount of stuff you can just disable if you so wish.

  10. sheer_falacy says:

    Pictures of Spider-Man, you say?

    It’s a music video with an original song about J Jonah Jameson in this game. It’s really well done. There are spoilers though, so don’t watch it if you want to leave the plot a mystery.

  11. Lun says:

    While my favorite Spidey will always be the high schooler who gathers a few money by selling superhero photos to the Daily Bugle, I guess I can understand that this game decided to change things up to keep things fresh.

    I’m not a big fan of Doc Ock getting so much space, but I can understand that too: reading the previous articles here I found out this game’s writer is the author of the Ock-Spider (Superior Spider-Man), so he’s someone who just has a liking for the character. Then reading this article I find out that guy, Dan Slott, actually LOOKS like Doc Ock???? That explains it I guess?

    Although JJJ is very obviously an envious and fame-hungry jerk, I personally got the impression he isn’t entirely wrong when he claims Spidey wants the action and the spotlight. The writers, I think, could have played this angle even more, making the player wonder if their actions are for justice and why is a werespider not letting professionals take care of crime. Instead, JJJ constantly makes a fool of himself like a clown, erasing any doubt that we’re not supposed to think too deeply about the (sometimes valid) points he brings.

    1. Liessa says:

      The writers, I think, could have played this angle even more, making the player wonder if their actions are for justice and why is a werespider not letting professionals take care of crime.

      This is one of the reasons I’ve never really been able to get into superhero stories, at least of the ‘costumed vigilante’ type. They basically only work if you assume that normal law and order have broken down and the authorities are completely useless, which is a problem if you’re trying to portray those same authorities as somewhat sympathetic. There’s some leeway if the villains are super-powered as well, but eventually I always find myself wondering why they don’t just call in the army, or how good a police commissioner Jim Gordon can be if every other cop in Gotham is corrupt and/or incompetent. This exact issue is actually what ended up ruining this particular game for me, but we’ll get to that in later chapters.

      1. Viktor says:

        That’s very much a personal thing. For me, I can ignore all of that as just “conventions of the genre”, along with FTL in sci-fi movies or people talking during intense fights. However, the instant someone calls attention to the fact that authorities would want some degree of control over supers, it all comes crashing down. It’s why I always hated the Superhero Registration Act/Civil War storyline. Fundamentally, as soon as you point out that no, the US Govt is not going to allow anyone in the country to have the ability to blow up a building except them and Blackwater, EVERYTHING the US Govt is ignoring in the Marvel Universe comes crashing down.

        And there’s no halfway point. Registration means training and testing to ensure that heroes are qualified, public badging and uniforms so that “good guys” are immediately identifiable, review boards, no kids involved, and superhero fights that have more to do with office politics than true moral conflict. The instant someone in a superhero universe starts talking about registration, it stops being a superhero story and starts being a story about establishing a secret police force that can read minds and punch you through a wall.

        1. Syal says:

          At midnight, all the agents
          and the superhuman crew
          go out and round up everyone
          that knows more than they do.
          Then they bring them to the factory
          where the heart attack machine
          is strapped across their shoulders,
          and then the kerosene
          is brought down from the castle
          by insurance men who go
          check to see that nobody is escaping
          from Desolation Row. (dadadadadadow, dadadadadadow, dadadadadadow.)

    2. guy says:

      Well, the answer with Spider-man in this setting is that he’s basically just providing the police with heavy firepower and the ability to disavow all knowledge of his operations. He webs up regular criminals as he finds them so the police can take them into custody, and he fights supervillains for the police because the police can’t take them into custody effectively.

      He also lets them bypass warrant requirements by busting into warehouses used for gun smuggling and causing enough of a scene that the police have legal justification to bust in to secure the scene and oh look all these military-grade weapons are lying around in plain view everyone in the building is under arrest.

      1. Blake says:

        Yeah I think that line of thinking was further pushed by Spidey always being in contact with best-bud Yuri.
        Like there were times she would call him to help out because she knew it would likely save lives, but more often it’d be him calling her to get all the proper on-the-books work done after he’s done something illegal like busting into a construction site to beat up a lot of on-the-run convicts.

  12. Darren says:

    I’m not sure that Sony really cares that much about cross-branding with Spider-Man. Into the Spider-Verse is the best Spider-Man movie ever, and it trades a lot on not tying into any existing property. I think Sony realizes it can get more money by tailoring the brand to different audiences rather than trying to turn it into a multimedia crossover mush.

    1. Blake says:

      ‘Into the Spider-Verse’ did have the white spider ‘Advanced Suit’ from the PS4 game down in the Spider-Cave, but obviously the continuity is way different with regards to Miles’ origin story.

      Also just throwing it out there, ‘Into the Spider-Verse’ was a fantastic movie. So happy it exists.

      1. guy says:

        I loved that “Into The Spider-verse” just went and assumed everyone knew the Peter Parker origin story, because we do, and then went and pulled a crazed inter-continuity crossover with two Peter Parkers, one Spider-Gwen, one Miles Morales, Noir Spider-man, Spider Shoujo and her robot, and Spider-pig.

  13. Christopher says:

    Doc Ock’s foreshadowing is so easy to make fun of. I think they treat him right, though. Doc Ock is a really amazing villain, especially compared to the other two competitors for Spideys nemesis death(Osborn, who has an arc or two that’s been adapted to death, and Venom, who’s every fourteen-year old’s edgefest emo phase). People have added to him over the years, abusive parents here, a relationship there, an inferiority complex there, and it’s all built up to this fantastic mad scientist character who’s got just enough depth in addition to his charisma – despite looking like a reject character who in most things wouldn’t even be a main character. Although I think it is highly unlikely, if Insomniac can keep this franchise going for a while without it getting stale or crashing and burning Arkham Knight style, their take on a Super Spider-Man arc is one I’d really love to see.

    The problem with these activities are pretty much just that they’re open world excuses. They’re things Spidey can do other than punch things, and they do you something to do around the city, so there’s no reason not to swing around lookin for backpacks and listen to Jameson. But it did get old for me by the end, certainly with Jameson. It isn’t a joke when you can tell what it’s gonna be from the first podcast to the last. And while the backpacks are cute, grinding out the crime quests and stuff is a bit more of a pain. I don’t think they could get the same extremely positive reception by doing this same stuff again and slap a big 2 on the end.

    I actually really wish Spidey had some music on his phone beside Just The Facts with J Jonah Jameson. That’s where you put hundred covers of the Spider-Man theme, the 90s intro, etc.

    PS That’s a great Daily Bugle screenshot, 2 bucks to get it on my front page, Parker

    1. Hal says:

      Have there been any iterations of Otto where he isn’t an outright villain? (Not thinking of Superior Spider-Man here.) Maybe at least like Connors/Lizard, who is sometimes a tragic villain/victim.

      1. Sannom says:

        The one from the Sam Raimi movie? He’s still supremely prideful, which is what the tentacles play on to push him into trying to repeat the experiment, but he seemed to be a good man otherwise. And of course, the tentacles interfered with his brain. I always liked that those arms seem to care so much for him that they only turn to brain manipulation after he threatens to kill himself.

  14. Nemryn says:

    On the plus side, the JJJ segments play up the “Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man” angle, with people calling in to defend him or talk about how he got their cat out of a tree. On the minus side, they highlight the dissonance between the pulpy, four-color action and the ultra-realistic art style. Glossing over all those banks Spider-Man wrecks is difficult enough to begin with; you don’t want JJJ bringing it up as well.

  15. Galad says:

    I don’t really care for superhero movies/other pop culture, but I wanted to say I have a memory of the Kingpin, in some edition of some animated Spiderman series I’ve watched as a kid. He says to someone he’s talking to, and I’m pretty sure I quote it not completely, then almost literally: “Son, do you know how little brain you need to run the world?” Blew my mind up as a kid.

  16. RCN says:

    At least JJJ has the best joke in the game, when he starts ranting about the (admittedly questionable) antics of Spider-Man fetching pigeons around the city and comes to the conclusion that Spider-Man isn’t a man that got the powers of a spider, but a pigeon-hungry spider that got the powers of a man.

    1. Blake says:

      I also loved how angry JJJ got when I first put on the Spider-Punk outfit.
      JJJ was not impressed.

    2. guy says:

      What.

      I had those switched off for overdoing it, but I’m going to have to catch more pidgeons and find that one.

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