Spider-Man Part 11: The Osborn Rally

By Shamus Posted Thursday Apr 11, 2019

Filed under: Retrospectives 107 comments

Like I said at the start, you can’t really divide this story into a tidy three-act structure. It has a beginning and an ending, but between those points it’s built less like a movie and more like an open-run comic book where you chain stories together. That makes a lot of sense, not just because this is a comic book story, but because mapping three-act movie structures to games has always been difficult due to the radically different pacing and runtime of these two mediums.

In terms of structure, it’s a bit like a soap opera. You have your A plot, and then you introduce a B plot, then A sort of wraps up and transforms into a C plot, and so on. You’ve always got at least one plot open because the story can’t end.

Even though I can’t really divide this story into tidy acts, I will say that I think we’re done with the introduction. The writer now has their major pieces on the board. The Kingpin is in jail, leaving behind a power vacuum. The Demons have stepped into that power vacuum and are grabbing Kingpin’s property and armaments. The story has hinted at something called “Devil’s Breath” without telling us what it is or what it does. Peter and MJ are both involved, but they’re not working together yet.

Now it’s time to up the stakes.

Meet Miles

Jefferson Davis, his wife Rio Morales, and their son Miles.
Jefferson Davis, his wife Rio Morales, and their son Miles.

Mayor Norman Osborn is currently running for re-election.  He’s decided to use his campaign rally as a chance to pin a medal on Officer Jefferson Davis for the heroic way he saved Spider-Man in the previous issue / mission. It’s not exactly a classy move to use the heroics of a police officer to draw people to your campaign rally, but that’s the kinda guy Mayor Osborn is.

Peter and MJ are going to attend the rally together, but as Spider-Man swings to the courthouse we shift perspectives and find ourselves following Jefferson Davis, along with his wife and son Miles. Miles has actually appeared in a few previous cutscenes as a background civilian, and it wasn’t until now that we see how he’s related to the story.

Still, if you haven’t been following the comics for the last ten years or you only know Spider-Man through the movies then you’ll probably be wondering who this guy is.

Miles Morales was created in 2011. He’s the Spider-Man of the Ultimates line. Usually. Sort of. Okay, it’s complicated.

The Ultimates Universe

You're into Ultimates? That's fine for casual fans, but REAL fans are in the Penultimates.
You're into Ultimates? That's fine for casual fans, but REAL fans are in the Penultimates.

I feel like I need to explain this before we can proceed, but I’m pretty far out of my area of knowledge. I read what was available Wikipedia and fact-checked this as best I could, but I never personally read any Ultimate comics and for the most part I’m channeling the impressions I’ve absorbed through popular culture. Take all of this with a grain of salt.

Back in 2000, Marvel created a new comic universe that was separate from the now-cluttered continuity they’d been adding to for the previous four decades. They called this new universe Marvel Ultimate. This new world gave heroes like Spider-Man and the X-Men a fresh start. It was a chance to retell their classic stories, clean out the cruft, and create a universe where new readers could jump in without needing to familiarize themselves with the long complex history of the characters.

That was the intent, anyway. What really happened is that they began staging “crossovers” where people from the Ultimates universe could use dimension-hopping technology to meet the legacy Marvel heroes. That led to dimension-jumping becoming part of the setting, with a revolving door leading to countless other realities. Now all kinds of different universes are crossing over and writers can bring back any deceased character at any time by simply importing their double from one of the other universes. It also gives them a mechanism to introduce wildly different versions of established characters.

I’m not saying this is a bad idea. It’s an opportunity to tell lots of different kinds of stories that weren’t possible before. But it also makes Marvel Ultimates comics even more impenetrable than the mainline titles. I read the Wikipedia page for Miles, and in just 7 years he seems to have acquired a story that’s just as convoluted and strange as Peter Parker’s 50-year run. If Marvel’s intention was to create a streamlined universe that’s approachable to newcomers, they failed spectacularly.

Last year’s movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse took this idea and ran with it, setting up a story where multiple Spider-Mans and Spider-Womans from different universes could all meet up and have a shared adventure.

In 2009, Marvel comics did one of their big universe-shattering events, this time called “Ultimatum”. It was supposedly going to bring the Ultimates universe to a close. (It didn’t take. The Ultimates books are still around.) The event was grim, violent, and not particularly well received. In that series, they killed off the Ultimate’s version of Peter Parker. I thought the whole point of this universe was to give them space to retell classic Spider-Man stories with a modern twist, but whatever. Peter Parker was still alive in the “main” Marvel universe, but in the Ultimates universe he was dead.

Meet the New Spider-Man, Same as the Old Spider-Man

Left: Teenage science nerd from a poor family who is struggling with the loss of a father figure. Right: Same thing.
Left: Teenage science nerd from a poor family who is struggling with the loss of a father figure. Right: Same thing.

In 2011, they came up with Miles Morales to become the new Spider-Man of the Ultimates universe. That’s fine. Maybe that gives them room to tell some different kinds of stories. Or it would, except they made Miles incredibly similar to Peter. He’s a high school science nerd from a poor family who gets bitten by a science-spider and gains super strength, the ability to climb walls, and the ability to sense danger. He also loses his father figure at some point and fights a lot of the classic Spider-Man foes.

This really shows off the conflicted nature of the comic book business, which is torn between the need to create radical events to generate buzz and the need to preserve a safe and profitable status quo.

Let’s create a fresh universe and tell the Peter Parker legend over again!

Okay, but let’s also kill him off!

Let’s introduce a NEW Spider-Man with new stories!

Okay, but let’s give him the same background and origin as the original and have him fight the same bad guys!

This. This is exactly how you end up with tons of goofy-ass continuity cruft. Every writer has their own vision for the book and only minimal regard for what came before. They end up doing and undoing things over the decades, constantly working at cross-purposes because they always need to shake things up while also keeping things the same. Like I said at the start of the series, that’s how the business has to work.

I haven’t read any Miles Morales stories, but people seem to be attached to the character and that’s probably a good sign.

The Osborn Rally

The officer facing right is Jefferson Davis, Miles' father. The punchable guy with red hair is mayor Norman Osborn. The guy in the grey suit is our soon-to-be suicide bomber.
The officer facing right is Jefferson Davis, Miles' father. The punchable guy with red hair is mayor Norman Osborn. The guy in the grey suit is our soon-to-be suicide bomber.

I realize that was a lot of comics-industry background. You don’t really need to know all of that to play this game, but it might help explain why we’re suddenly controlling this non-superhero we’ve never met before. For those who follow the comics, the writer is making it clear that Miles Morales is a part of this universe. Since we’re playing the game from his POV, this may even be a hint that this guy will become another Spider-Man somewhere down the line.

At the rally, Peter and MJ talk about recent events. Peter thinks he’s solved the gang war problem and the city is about to go back to normal.

Mayor Osborn gives a little speech, and then Officer Jefferson DavisRemember that this guy is Miles’ father, despite the different last name. steps forward to accept his medal for saving Spider-Man. Osborn leaves during Davis’ acceptance speech, which is an… interesting choice, from a public relations standpoint. On the way out he gets a threatening phone call from someone who sounds suspiciously like that nice Martin Li fellow we met earlier. Back at the stage, one of Osborn’s men suddenly begins glowing. He’s evidently one of Mr. Negative’s mind-controlled sleeper agents. He steps up to the podium and opens his coat to reveal a bomb vest. Boom.

From here we take control of Miles. He makes his way towards the stage, hoping to find his dad. As he approaches, Demon guys show up and begin slaughtering the survivors.

This Doesn’t Work for Me

Pete's Spider-sense went off just before the bombs, but he was stuck in a crowd, out-of-costume, and gripped by indecision, so he couldn't really escape the blast. Now he's passed out, and we're controlling Miles. To be clear, Miles hasn't met Peter and MJ And has no idea who they are.
Pete's Spider-sense went off just before the bombs, but he was stuck in a crowd, out-of-costume, and gripped by indecision, so he couldn't really escape the blast. Now he's passed out, and we're controlling Miles. To be clear, Miles hasn't met Peter and MJ And has no idea who they are.

I realize that tastes may vary, but this is not the kind of thing I like to see in my Spider-Man stories. The violence isn’t graphic in terms of gore (the game is entirely bloodless) but it’s incredibly gritty and graphic in terms of depicting a form of real-world violence being perpetrated against sympathetic innocents.

It’s one thing if Rhino punts a car off the Brooklyn Bridge, but it’s another matter entirely if an armed man walks up to a person on their knees and executes them, cutting off their pleas for mercy. Yes, both events technically depict the death of a single person and if we judge things solely by body count then the two events are equivalent. But in terms of emotional response the difference is night and day.

Yes, maybe there was someone in that car that went off the bridge. But maybe not. Maybe the driver got out and fled before Rhino punted it. Maybe they miraculously survived the fall thanks to comic book physics. Even if someone did die, we don’t know who they were and we don’t know anything about them. Their death is abstract and impersonal. Furthermore, it’s clear Rhino wasn’t trying to murder someone. The maybe-dead civilian is simply collateral damage.

Miles has to sneak by these Demons, which allows him to be a first-hand witness to their murdering wounded civilians.
Miles has to sneak by these Demons, which allows him to be a first-hand witness to their murdering wounded civilians.

For contrast, we know that this Demon mook took an assault rifle and unloaded it on a man in his late 30s, and furthermore we know that he really, really wasn’t ready to go. The guy falls right in front of us and we can see that his death is certain and deliberate. This guy wasn’t killed because he accidentally got in the way of supervillain activity, his death is the supervillain activity.

I feel like this type of graphic and ultra-personal murder is inappropriate for a Spider-Man story because it kills the fantasy of a hero bringing justice to a cruel world. If Dr. Crazo uses crazo gas to turn bank tellers into rat-people as part of a convoluted bank heist, then that’s a very cartoonish form of violence. Captain Justice can punch his lights out and send him back to jail until the next caper and the audience probably won’t even think to ask what became of the rat-people. If anyone thinks about it later, it’s easy enough to assume they magically transformed back into people once the gas “wore off”.

If terrorists stage a brutal attack specifically designed to slaughter civilians, then that’s a very real thing that happens to people. Even if Spider-Man wins, I don’t feel like webbing them up with a note for the police is an appropriate response to this crime in terms of power fantasy. This is also why I never cared for 90s edgelord Carnage and his ilk. Watching this guy kill dozens of innocent people for giggles is not cathartic, even when he gets punched in the face later.

I realize the game is trying to motivate me so I'll want to stop the bad guy, but this is perhaps too much motivation. Or maybe the wrong kind?
I realize the game is trying to motivate me so I'll want to stop the bad guy, but this is perhaps too much motivation. Or maybe the wrong kind?

This is no longer a job for Spider-Man the web-swinging jokester. Having Spider-Man stop these guys is like having the Adam West Batman face off against Heath Ledger’s Joker. This isn’t a fun adventure anymore. This is a job for the Punisher, or one of the darker takes on Batman. I don’t want these guys to end up in prison. I want them to end up dead, or in wheelchairs.

Shamus, that’s horrible!

Yeah, it is. This is why I don’t like to mix real-world horror with my lighthearted power fantasy. I’m here because I want to participate in a fantasy where you can prevent stuff like this. If I can’t prevent it, then I’d just as soon you gave my character a gun and let me indulge the notion that I can make things better by blowing away the bad guys.

Amusingly, the game still allows you to use photo mode in this harrowing scene. Here Miles is posing for a quick selfie with his unconscious mother during a terrorist attack.
Amusingly, the game still allows you to use photo mode in this harrowing scene. Here Miles is posing for a quick selfie with his unconscious mother during a terrorist attack.

Not everyone will suffer from this sort of tonal objection. In fact, I gather that most people were fine with this. But for me it ruins the escapist fantasy I’m looking for. I don’t care what Spidey does at this point, this particular subplotIs it a subplot? Like I said, we can’t map this to a traditional movie structure. You could argue this isn’t a sub plot, but one in a series of main plots. can’t give me what I’m looking for in a Spider-Man story.

Spoiler: It gets a lot worse from here.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Remember that this guy is Miles’ father, despite the different last name.

[2] Is it a subplot? Like I said, we can’t map this to a traditional movie structure. You could argue this isn’t a sub plot, but one in a series of main plots.



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107 thoughts on “Spider-Man Part 11: The Osborn Rally

  1. Grey Rook says:

    Guess the entirety of what is on the front page! And yeah, the big superhero comics are hideously complex and convoluted, which is a big part of the reason that I never got into them. Well, that, and that I first encountered them during the mid-late nineties, during the Dark Age of comic books.

    I do think that you’re right about the Osborn rally – the gritty terrorist action thing doesn’t really seem to mesh very well with the spandex-clad primary-coloured villain-punching superhero action. I don’t know why they decided to do this, though I surmise that people looking as deeply into a product as you do is pretty rare, more’s the pity. The industry might be better off if people did.

    1. Pax says:

      I didn’t mind the actual seriousness of the attack, but I did mind when the people in the game didn’t respond to it like one. I kept thinking about how we’d respond in the real world. It’d be a big fucking deal, and not just for people in NYC, but for the entire country. Heads of State from other countries would be offering their condolences and aid. NYC would be locked down until the perps were brought to justice. I guess what I’m saying is that they presented this real-world serious situation, and then they followed it up with the comic-book cartoon logic response. (Which may be what Shamus was pointing out from a different angle anyway.)

      1. Matthew Downie says:

        Although that makes me wonder whether this world is like the comic-books the rest of the time. “We wish to offer the people of New York our condolences, following the terrorist bombing on Tuesday, the Atlantean invasion on Wednesday, and that incident on Thursday with the alien war-fleet.”

      2. Liessa says:

        It’s good to know I’m not the only one who feels that way, because this was basically the point of ‘story collapse’ for me. We’ve just had essentially the equivalent of the Boston bombing in NYC, and gangs of the perpetrators are roaming the streets attacking and murdering anyone in their way. Why the fuck is Spidey still chasing pigeons? Why is the mayor calling in some shady paramilitary group, rather than declaring a state of emergency and bringing in the actual army (or National Guard or whoever it would be in the US?) I’d been enjoying the LP I was watching up to that point, but I pretty much lost all interest after that scene.

        1. Mattias42 says:

          That’s kinda the perennial and evergreen bug-bear of super-hero stories, though.

          Once you admit that, yeah, sending in the SWAT team would solve the problem nine times out of ten, and the tenth is about as easily if more messily solved by the military? Not many stories left to tell, except possibly about some would-be super-hero getting depressed because real life logic is ruining his/her dream.

          Something I like about urban-fantasy as a genera, actually, is that it takes that same weakness and turns it into a strength. Sure, you’re a big though werewolf that can rip a man apart… What are you going to do about his five farmer mates with shotguns? Let alone if you get the cops sent after your furry ass?

          Don’t get me wrong, urban fantasy has its own problems, but I do enjoy how many stories in it actually at least tries to, you know, acknowledge that the real world has stuff like cellphone cameras, social-security numbers and guns, and how they’d mess with secret identity, AKA masquerade style stuff even for people with super powers.

          1. Joe Informatico says:

            Every genre of fiction has its parts that need to be handwaved. Like, I can enjoy Bond, Bourne, or Mission: Impossible films while acknowledging none of them are accurate or sensible depictions of actual espionage tradecraft; they’re just action-adventure stories that use a few ripped-from-the-headlines names, places, and plots to give them a veneer of verisimilitude. I can acknowledge the vast majority of real-world police work is about questioning a lot of people with hazy memories, digging through trash cans and alleys for evidence, really tedious surveillance and paperwork (and that’s just detective work–never mind beat and traffic cops’ day-to-day) while acknowledging almost every piece of fiction about police work at some point involves a footchase, a car chase, or a shootout.

            But I agree that when superhero stories bring in too much of the regular everyday world, they risk breaking their verisimilitude. At that point, you either have to make some kind of self-contained deconstruction like Watchmen or Mark Gruenwald’s Squadron Supreme where the message is usually “and this is why superheroes wouldn’t work in the real world” or something. Or, you’re baking the reality of superheroes into the worldbuilding and institutions arise to deal with it, like how in Wildstorm comics multiple governments had national superhero teams, Stormwatch was the United Nations superhero response agency, The Authority was a splinter group who’d grown sick of Stormwatch’s tactics and limitations, etc. It’s rare for it to work otherwise.

            1. Liessa says:

              It’s not so much the lack of realism that bothers me as the inconsistency in tone. I’m fine with a light-hearted escapist fantasy about spandex-clad heros battling over-the-top villains, but if you’re telling that kind of story, you can’t suddenly throw in the fictional equivalent of 9/11 and ask me to keep suspending disbelief. Likewise, if you choose to go the dark-and-gritty route, you can’t resort to kids’ cartoon logic whenever it looks like the hero might have to kill someone (hi Batman). I’ve never really been able to get into superhero stories, and that kind of thing is a big part of the reason why.

              1. Guest says:

                Yep, the tone shift just throws you hard.

                Like, you’re literally put in the shoes of his kid at that point. That is messed up. You play as a kid, without powers, watching people being brutally, explicitly, murdered, murdered for the sake of murder, only to find that his dad couldn’t be saved.

                That is grim, that is a really hard tonal shift. It’s really hard at that point to see why you’d go to the extra effort of bringing Li in alive after that.

        2. PPX14 says:

          This is a universe where everyone has watched The Siege

        3. Guest says:

          They can’t deploy the army, it’s illegal, and the paramilitary group has much more advanced tech than the National Guard. Which is a common element to comic stories, often paramilitary groups or specialist military groups have weird sci fi tech, and usually they turn out to be bad so that we can return to the status quo.

          To be fair, pretty much every superhero game has had this problem. You need enough enemies to fight, and if it’s an open world game, you need them to be spread out around the game world. It serves the gameplay purpose of letting you swing round the world and drop in and solve crimes, i.e., playing as Spiderman.

          It is ridiculous, and as a story element, having an open war between a gang that somehow has the numbers to make war on a paramilitary group and the police, is absurd, but it’s an element of absurd pretty much all open world Spiderman games have engaged in. I’d rather this fiction because it still lets Spiderman be around civilians and dealing with them, more than some of the more apocalyptic ones, or the ones that are more linear and just put you in levels with enemies.

          It’s like wondering “If there’s a giant robo Rhino dude smashing everything up, why are the only people trying to stop him cops with guns that don’t hurt him and some kid in underoos”, the answer is it’s Spiderman, it’s a superhero story, and a certain amount of suspension of disbelief is necessary.

          I do think the attack is a bit much though, it’s a really aggressive tonal shift, where the game has gone to significant effort to make Jefferson Davis a hero, and a likeable guy, and we have time with just him and Spidey to get to know him, and then we get to play as his kid while he’s caught in a suicide bombing and a group of terrorists execute civilians as you cower behind the wreckage. That’s uhhhh… dark for a game that asks you to chase down pigeons, and that’s stayed more on the lighthearted side of villainy like with the Shocker. The Tombstone bit also qualifies there, it’s really stark tone shifts. I don’t think it’s the story logic that breaks, I think it’s the emotional throughline and the tone, and I think those are much more important. It’s a Spidey story, I’m expecting him to suffer, I’m expecting things to go wrong, I’m not quite expecting a terrorist massacre. The scene could have worked fine with just the bombing, and kept itself abstract, but the executions crossed a line, tonally for me.

          Like Shamus said, at that point, it’s a job for someone like the Punisher, who’ll put these murderers down with the same force they use, not Spidey, who’s going to make quips after he beats them up, and sends them to jail.

  2. Mattias42 says:

    I kinda like how tone-deaf the photo-mode in this game is, honestly.

    Sure, it’s really darn inappropriate at times like the above, but nobody is forcing you to use it, and I can see it really helping somebody that might otherwise be really shocked by the tone (or annoyed by the half-baked stealth) get a few chuckles from it and move on.

    Not something I’m into personally, but can see the appeal, you know? Like throwing around physics objects while the NPCs are talking in Half-Life because you died and already heard it all, or such things.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      I remember finding a thread of selfies with some fairly disturbing amazing results from the new Tomb Raider game.

      Good to see Spider-Man is the same.

      1. Christopher says:

        There were some fantastic selfies in front of uncle Ben’s grave there for a bit.

    2. Hal says:

      I’ve been taking a whole collection of Spider-Jerk selfies. I should throw them in an album online at some point.

  3. Sarfa says:

    On the Ultimate Universe, in 2000 Marvel did create this new continuity for the reasons you stated. Marvel (and DC) have long been settings where multiple realities existed though. It was actually quite rare that the main Marvel Universe and The Ultimate Universe would interact though. For example IIRC the only time main universe Peter Parker met someone from the ultimate universe was in the limited series “Spider-Men” (which was deep into Miles being Spider-Man in the Ultimate Universe).

    However, one thing they did do with the Ultimate Universe was try to make it different from the main universe. Sometimes this worked, sometimes it didn’t, but it did result in a setting that was just as continuity laden as the main marvel universe was. If not more so, because the “and then we reset everything to the status quo as pop culture understands it every few years” thing didn’t happen in the Ultimate Universe.

    Eventually though it got laden down by various bad decisions (including the disastrously bad Ultimatum cross over- not designed to end the Ultimate Universe but just to change things up in a big way- it did that, but it did sour people on the Ultimate Universe and I’m not sure the imprint ever recovered). It also contributed to the Ultimate Universe having a really impossible to keep up with continuity. Ultimatum alienated many people who were already reading these comics, but after that good “jumping on” points were few and far between. Peter Parker survived ultimatum- did quite well out of it actually (he was kept to the fringes of that event)- Miles didn’t come along until a few years after Ultimatum.

    So, in 2015 Marvel’s big summer event was “Secret Wars” (not to be confused with the 1984-1985 event “Secret Wars”). This event essentially collapsed all of Marvels universes into one. There was shenanigans and the Marvel Universe was restored, but the Ultimate Universe was now dead. There have not been Ultimate Universe comics since 2015. However, Miles Morales is a really popular character and is probably the most successful attempt to pass an old super hero mantle to a new character since Barry Allen became the second Flash. As a result of that Miles Morales got to survive the destruction of his home setting and post Secret Wars he was just incorporated into the main marvel universe. The Ultimate universe and imprint is now finished though.

    Since then some elements from the Ultimate Universe have cropped up, but for the most part that setting and imprint is dead. Miles Morales is basically all that’s left of it. While the comic series “The Ultimates” started out as the Ultimate Universe version of The Avengers, since 2015 it’s been a very different more cosmic focussed series and team.

    1. Bloodsquirrel says:

      Yeah, Secret Wars was a real punch in the face to anyone who liked any of the Ultimate Universe characters.

      “Guess what? Not only is your favorite character dead, but so is his entire universe!”

      That kind of utter disregard for reader investment in their own material is one of the reasons I don’t read comics anymore.

      1. Daimbert says:

        Having just read the series, it could have worked as a tragic ending if it had been done well, but it wasn’t. Having no attachment to the Ultimate universe, though, it wasn’t that bad for me.

      2. MadTinkerer says:

        Yeah well it almost went the other way. It’s been leaked that behind the scenes they were thinking of killing off the main (Earth 616) universe and replacing it with the Ultimate universe. There was even a She Hulk storyline about it where the beloved classic characters Knight Man and Doctor Rocket (“Wait, who?”) are now never have been a part of any continuity.

        This is also why the early MCU movies were almost half Earth 616 and half Ultimate (Chitauri are from the Ultimate universe, MCU Nick Fury is almost a copy of his Ultimate universe version), but have had more and more of everything other than Nick Fury changed to be more like the main universe, or changed to be it’s own thing.

    2. Matthew Downie says:

      It’s true that Spider-man survived Ultimatum. They only killed off Ant-Man, Beast, Cyclops, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Magneto, Nightcrawler, Professor X, Thor, Wasp, Wolverine, and a dozen or so others.

      1. Pax says:

        And a bunch of them were apparently eaten by other people? Weird fetish in that writer.

        1. Sarfa says:

          Blob ate Wasp, Ant-Man went big and bit Blob in half. The writer of this one- Jeph Loeb- is usually quite good. He wrote some great Batman comics (to the point that Comisikner Gordon’s predecessor was named after Loeb in Year One), but when he did Ultimate Universe stuff for some reason it was all about ridiculously over the top violence and attempts to gross out the audience.

          1. Hal says:

            How many people has Blob eaten at this point? I know he ate Nightcrawler’s wife in some X-men iteration.

            1. Cubic says:

              Why does this remind me of Homer Simpson? Oh wait, he was the blob once too.

    3. Strange guy says:

      While the Ultimate Universe as a whole had very few crossovers with the main universe (and all of them in its last few years) Miles specifically managed to be at the centre of all of them (unless I’m forgetting one, I not that familar with the Ultimate universe), and was a character who hadn’t existed for long before his first crossover. From wikipedia it says Spider-Men was less than a year after Miles was introduced, so perhaps dimensional crosovers can be blamed for some of his problems if not any other part of the Ultimate U.

      1. Sarfa says:

        Except Miles and his comics didn’t really have “problems”, sure they weren’t perfect but it was a good run of comics that was well received. Hence why when that entire setting was killed off, they came up with a way to keep him around. The Ultimate Universe was killed off because the rest of it had serious problems, Miles was kept around because he was the one bit of the imprint that was still working really well.

        And the dimensional cross overs were never that big a deal even in Miles’ comics. Miles for example was prominent in Secret Wars, but far from central to it- that was a Doctor Doom and Mr Fantastic story at it’s centre. Having read those cross overs, Spider-Men is the only one I’d say Miles was at the centre of.

        1. Strange guy says:

          Like I said I’m not super familiar with the Ultimate Universe (other than a few of its better- and edgier- books like the Ultimates 1&2) and I’ve heard mixed opinions on Miles.

          When I said Miles was the centre of more than one crossover I was thinking of the one with main universe Galactus, where he (and the Maker, the other Ultimate character that got to stick around) were sent into the main universe to learn about Galactus. Maybe calling him the centre of it, and all other crossovers, was an exaggeration but his popularity certainly gave him an important place in multiple crossovers.

          1. Sarfa says:

            That’s Catyclysm. Yeah, Miles was part of that. So were The Ultimates (who were the centre of that cross over), the Maker and the X-Men. That is, literally (and I’m using that word precisely) every Ultimates super hero currently in a comic was involved in that cross over. The main characters were really folk like the Maker, and the climax prominently featured some X-Men. Miles was nowhere near the centre of this one. His part in it was much less so than Kitty Pryde, Jean Grey, Iron Man, the Maker, Captain America- essentially of all the folk who could be considered “main characters” of an Ultimate Universe comic, in this event Miles was the least important.

            While you could say that was a dimensional cross over event, it’s a stretch. Galactus was the only main marvel universe character to appear in Catyclysm. It’s not like Ultimate Iron Man and main universe Iron Man were in the same room at any point during this.

    4. Don’t forget Miles survived because he had a burger that he gave to Molecule Man. Possibly the best reason for a character to survive a multiversal death sentence.

    5. John says:

      The Ultimate X-men comic trades were the first comics I followed, but I recently read through them, Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimates and MAN is it a turn of the millennium work. Lots of World Wide Web going on. Other things that stood out:

      Beast gets catfished by Blob (pretending to be a secretly-mutant supermodel) into revealing sensitive intel about the X-men to the Brotherhood of Mutants

      After the first big Ultimates moment, they are now celebrities, and talk is had about a possible movie deal. The team then fantasy casts themselves, with either Leonardo Dicaprio or Freddy Prinze Jr. as Captain America, Johnny Depp as Iron man, Steve Buscemi as Bruce Banner and Wasp (who is Asian here) complaining that they only picked Lucy Liu because they can’t think of any other Asian actresses

    6. Joe Informatico says:

      The one other thing we got out of the Ultimate Universe? Phase 1 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the characters of the MCU are mostly based on their main-continuity, Earth-616 original versions (and thank Uatu for that in most cases), the more-grounded SHIELD-centred setting of the early films is straight from the Ultimate line. Even Ultimate Nick Fury gets brought into the MCU. That scene in the first Thor film, where hammerless Thor is being held in a SHIELD holding facility while disguised Loki gloats? Straight from a panel in The Ultimates comic. They couldn’t use the Skrulls in the first Avengers movie because of rights issues, so they use the Chitauri–the Ultimate Skrulls!

    7. Guest says:

      I’m not familiar enough with the Ultimate series, I’ve seen some overviews, but that’s mostly it.

      I was under the impression the point was to reduce the amount of “Character dies and comes back” stories, that they try to make characters that are killed, stay dead, and to tell a lot of the same stories, but starting from a modern setting and staying there, without relying on the sliding timescale and continuity of books that are quite old and not in the taste, artistically, of a lot of modern books, that annoys some readers (Myself included). I’m not so keen on a lot of the older art styles and shading, and I can’t take that “Gee pip my boy” old timey dialogue seriously.

      Of course, that’s it’s own continuity headache, like you mentioned.

  4. Gargamel Le Noir says:

    I really agree on how fun breaking it can be when the raising of the stakes is so costly that you just know that nobody you do will make things ok. I had the same feeling in front of Star Wars 7 when *spoilers* the bad guys blow up the entire freaking Republic. We clearly weren’t supposed to care too much about those trillions of dead people, but I felt like the resistance should have just packed it up and retired right then. What was the point anymore? I didn’t really enjoy the “victory” at the end.

    1. Bloodsquirrel says:

      The idea of the entire Republic being a handful of planets was one of 8’s stupid ideas. The republic, even if it doesn’t encompass all of the territory of the pre-empire republic, should still be at least a few thousand star systems. Losing their capital should have been a major blow, but the First Order shouldn’t have suddenly taken over the entire galaxy in the literal seconds between episodes 7 and 8.

      1. Daimbert says:

        It’s not even clear in TFA that that’s what actually happened. From what others have told me, what happened was not so much that it wiped out the entire Republic, but all of their leaders — at least the loyal ones — and their entire fleet, since the whole fleet was in that system, which would leave the First Order as the predominant military power. The whole fleet being there was still stupid, though, and TLJ picking up immediately after TFA made everything even more nonsensical. And all of this was is supplementary material; the movies don’t actually spell this out at all.

        1. Joshua says:

          I read one review of The Last Jedi that disliked it but had a certain amount of sympathy for the film compared to most detractors, stating that the seeds for the film’s problems were all laid in The Force Awakens. When TFA establishes that 2 of the 3 main characters have turned into utter failures in their personal lives, the 3rd is mysteriously absent despite great need for his assistance, and the New Republic has turned out as helpless and incompetent against an authoritarian insurrection as the Republic in the Prequels, where else was TLJ supposed to go with such a nihilistic setup?

          It just becomes more clear that with world-building already established, they really needed to go into the new trilogy with more of a plan, and to think about these kinds of details more logically.

          1. Gargamel Le Noir says:

            I agree, most of the blame that ended up on TLJ can be laid squarely at the feet of Force Awaken. Not all of it, but most of it.

            1. Thomas says:

              TFA awakens had non-existent worldbuilding, but I hoped it at least allowed Star Wars fan to be positive and united again. Then the next film could start world-building.

              That didn’t exactly pan out.

            2. BlueHorus says:

              …Eh. While I agree that there wasn’t much worldbuilding in The Force Awakens, it seems like there was a lot of potential in what TFA set up that was squandered by The Last Jedi.

              Nothing in TFA said that Rey’s parentage had to be brushed over in such an abrupt, unsatisfying way.
              Nothing said Supreme Leader Snoke had to be a complete letdown who dies kind of pointlessly, or that Kylo Ren would turn into a rage-crazed imbecile the instant he takes of the First Order.
              Nothing said the First Order had to suddenly be in the position of power they’re in during TLJ.
              Nothing in TFA said that Finn and Rose had to go on a pointless expedition to somewhere else, get jailed for parking stupidly and then bring back a traitor to ruin everything.

              …and so on. There’s a dozen different, better films that COULD have followed The Force Awakens. Some might be derivative, or predictable, but a lot of TLJ’s faults are its own doing.

              1. Ninety-Three says:

                My stance is that there was a lot of fake potential in TFA, a lot of JJ Abrams mystery boxes with nothing inside them. Who are Rey’s parents, what’s up with Snoke, where’d Luke go? TBD.

                Having constructed this mystery, you, the writer, then:

                – do everything possible to avoid constraining solutions to the mystery,
                – don’t tell anybody what the solution is,
                – do not create a solution at all, and finally
                – quit the project.

                TLJ set about unceremoniously showing us a bunch of empty boxes in order to save this whole endeavour from turning into Lost. I admire Rian Johnson for backstabbing Abrams like that, because I despise Abrams and his boxes, but holy hell does it show that there’s no-one at the wheel planning this as a trilogy, Disney just commissioned three movies and hoped it would work out.

                Now that I’m done with my hobby horse, I’ll acknowledge that of course TLJ was terrible and made plenty of unforced errors. The hyperspace ramming makes nonsense of every space battle before and after it, Leia flying through space was weird in service of nothing, Admiral purplehair’s stupid “don’t sacrifice people” bit… the movie could’ve been a lot better than it was, I just disagree that there’s a significantly better way to resolve a mystery that intentionally had no answer.

          2. Guest says:

            TBH, that’s one of the reasons I like TLJ. Yeah, there are some issues, pacing, and the fact that two out of three storylines could do with some refining, especially since they miscommunicate key elements which really throw people. The logic of the space storyline doesn’t hold up, and the tone and messaging of the Canto Bight storyline is confused at best.

            But it doesn’t have time for JJ’s mystery box nonsense (He had no answers for them when he made TFA), and it uses it to do something interesting. Rey’s like Anakin, she came from nothing. And Luke has gone very Yoda, but I really liked the message about failure that told. Kylo Ren is a standout villain, because he’s not just a cackling evil crone, he’s a complicated person, filled with angst over a betrayal by his mentor he can’t get passed, and lashes out because anger is easier. We get Kylo negging Rey, and trying to emotionally manipulate her, we have a protagonist who doesn’t just have “Give in to the dark side” as their temptation, they have “We’re the same, our pasts don’t matter, join me and you’ll have a family”, which is a lot more resonant. I’m guessing that JJ didn’t have an answer for the “Knights of Ren” and the flashback sequence either, and I’m still sore we don’t know what they is, we know why Kylo turned against Luke, we don’t know about this faction of people who helped him destroy the academy.

            JJ wanted to recreate the Alderaan scene, but bigger, and it doesn’t work great. I took it as implied that much of the remnants of the Republic joined the Resistance, because of course they would, they’re in open conflict with The First Order. It doesn’t make sense like, galactic conquest wise, but outside of Battlefront and the novels, Star Wars has never really cared about it’s planets as territory, they’re novel settings. The balance of power is implied by the conflict, not by explicitly covering who controls what territory, and who has what material. Each of the OT literally invents new worlds never seen before or mentioned, it doesn’t matter, because the specifics of territory don’t matter. TFM of Endor isn’t an important staging point for access to important planets or something. It’s an opportunity to set a bunch of the film in a woodland forest. Hoth doesn’t matter, it’s an opportunity to play in the snow, and an excuse to introduce a bunch of new technology.

      2. BlueHorus says:

        To put it in a (possibly) Shamus Young-ish way: This writer seems to hate worldbuilding.

        Someone thought: “Lets make a Death Star…but bigger!” And then they did, in a very simplistic way, but didn’t think that much about what ‘destroying the Republic’ or ‘trillions of dead’ might mean for the galaxy at large.

        Then they thought “let’s make the good guys the Rebels and the First Order the Empire, like before!”, but failed to explain how that had happened. It’s the (sigh, sorry to bring these guys up again) Cerberus problem again: they’re as powerful and influential as they are because the writer says so, and no other reason.

        (Not least because the First Order seems to act like an insane terrorist group/cult. The Empire would never have blown up the capital of the Republic – they’d have taken the time to capture/subjugate it instead, because they were a competent political force instead of a collection of crazy people practically frothing at the mouth.)

        1. Pax says:

          The First Order are Neo-Nazis who’ve been hiding out in Brazil since the fall of the Third Reich, whose opening move was to destroy the UN with a Tsar Bomba (except the UN had been moved out of New York City to a city you’ve never heard of before, because we don’t want to blow up New York City, do we?)

          At least the people in the Empire had been slowly lead to evil by corruption and deception. The people in the First Order chose this (except for the brainwashed child soldiers, I guess).

          Also, what the writer really was trying to do with this situation was restore the ANH status quo without bringing up any politics, which might remind people unfavorably of the Prequels. But this is a sequel! We need to know how we got here!

          1. BlueHorus says:

            Quite. If neo-nazis actually did manage to nuke the UN, they wouldn’t actually gain power from it. Most likely the rest of the world would brand them insane terrorists and rally together to fight back. Especially if someone then took away their ability to use other nuclear weapons.

            what the writer really was trying to do with this situation was restore the ANH status quo without bringing up any politics

            But they didn’t need to! The Empire wasn’t exactly a well-drawn concept in the original films – they’re just…there.
            Nevertheless what we see seems a) competent* b) not insane and c) already well-established, all of which made them more believable than the First Order.

            As was said about worldbuilding back in the ME retrospective, a writer doesn’t need to explain their worldbuilding to the audience, it just helps to have done it.

            *Stormtrooper aim notwithstanding

            1. Kylroy says:

              In retrospect, the speed with which the Empire wiped out every trace of the Republic (people think the Jedi are a *myth*? They were ruling the galaxy 25 years ago!) seems off. I’d blame later installments, but in A New Hope, Leia seems to have a valid belief that the Senate can do something to stop Vader (at least until he atomizes them). If the films had all gone forward in time, this would be a minor issue – instead, we got an entire prequel trilogy to play up just how entrenched the Jedi and Old Republic were.

              1. Syal says:

                I’m wondering how far the prequels would allow the idea that the entire Jedi Order is in fact the Illuminati, and the common people don’t believe in them.

                …not wondering hard enough to watch the prequels again, though.

                1. RFS-81 says:

                  It’s been a long time since I watched the original or prequel trilogy, but do they really doubt that something called the Jedi Order existed, or do they just doubt that they were space wizards?

                  The Darth Bane novel trilogy is set in the Old Republic, and at the beginning, the future Darth Bane doubts that the Jedi and Sith are actual space wizards. At most, they probably have some random premonitions, like he does. You know, normal stuff.

              2. Thomas says:

                The timing of the prequels is off, they realised they’d established a couple of time periods that didn’t fit together and bodged it (leading to the weird Padme / child Annakin thing)

                It’s a pretty common problem in lots of writing, Harry Potter is another example. Most of the time I don’t think it matters, unless something draws attention to it

            2. Guest says:

              But that’s sort of what the new films are doing too. TFO aren’t well drawn, they’re loose. Their numbers, their weaponry, are just there, and they do what they need to do to for story purposes.

              In Empire, the Imperial fleet is so strong that the Rebellion is simply on the run. They don’t stand and fight except to buy time for a retreat. In Return, despite the time since being probably months, they attack the Emperor and his new super weapon directly and are ambushed by the Imperial fleet, and still are able to hold their ground until Han, Leia and Lando save the day.

              1. BlueHorus says:

                Oh, I’m not saying the original films are perfect. Not only is the issue of the Empire’s fleet numbers ambiguous
                as you described, but their elite Stormtroopers can also apparently be defeated by a furry dwarf creature hitting them once on the back of the helmet with a stick?

                Nevertheless. Here’s some things we see the from the First Order:
                – General Hux is held up in his mission to destroy the Rebel base by one fighter jet and a ‘Yo Momma’ joke, while he can see the enemy fleet evacuating. Hey, do you think the enemy might be stalling for time?
                – Kylo Ren firstly demands that everyone in the attack on the second base shoot at just one ship while they’re being counterattacked, just because he doesn’t like it. Hey, do you think that might be a distraction?
                – Then, he stops the whole advance so he can get out and lightsaber-duel an old man in front of his army of heavy-duty seige weapons. Hey, do you think that the enemy might be stalling for time?
                – Added to that, the general amount of rage with which they often seem to speak and/or give orders. Stop screaming counterintuitive orders at your men, dude, it doesn’t instil confidence.

                …I’ll fully admit that to an extent this is just my interpretation and YMMV.
                But for my money, the Empire seemed like [insert real-life dicator here]: it’s not FUN under their rule, but keep your head down, don’t make a fuss and you’ll probably survive. Plus they keep the trains running on time…
                Whereas the First Order seem more like Skeletor: thoughtless, shortsighted Movie Bad Guys.

                1. Syal says:

                  I like that part about the First Order. Snoke is basically a cult leader; he’s surrounded himself with the imagery of the Empire but not the underpinnings of it. Hux and Kylo are bad leaders who can look good for propaganda pictures. And then Snoke dies and they’re in charge.

  5. JDMM says:

    My understanding of Miles Morales was that he’s the comicbook Spiderman for people who think comicbook Spiderman is a teenaged schoolkid
    Comic book Spiderman has been out of that age range since the 60’s (both the decade and the comic book for that matter) and he can’t be a representative of poor New York kid who grew up in Queens because that whole experience to some extent no longer exists
    …but that’s all second-hand, I’m just repeating what some people seem to think resonates with them

    On to tone issues the problem I see is when the tone proportionality doesn’t match, like in Maximum Carnage you had Carnage being a murderous monster and then he gets defeated by a love cannon after Spiderman stops Firestar from killing Carnage because ‘heroes don’t kill’. Like if death is going to be portrayed vividly the stakes need to go to that, not remain at the level of blanket commands (I mean there are philosophies of absolute non-violence ala Tolstoy or Gandhi but even then there are arguments about self-defence and defence of others and it gets into mind states and what not)

    That being said in terms of reflecting real life violence the problem I can see is it sort of feels like false advertising, hey let’s introduce a world of bright colors and color contrasted nemesis’ and then WHOOPS here’s a 9/11 film. With something like Nolan the first third of Batman Begins and the opening sequences of TDK are dedicated to explaining that no this is not bright colors land and the villains will not be color contrasted

    1. Cubic says:

      Or Frank Miller, The Dark Knight Returns. Which arguably got the whole dark thing started.

      He even did a followup TDK2 in bright colors that everyone hated except me. (“That was great, kid!” “Jesus, Bruce.”)

    2. Guest says:

      Particularly that sort of “Heroes don’t kill” aspect.

      Like, yeah man, this guy is a mass murderer, and he’s probably gonna escape and kill a bunch more people, and it’s definitely more work to take him alive, and will cause the deaths of innocents later, but killing the one bad man isn’t ok.

      I’m not saying Spidey should kill, I’m saying that Spiderman’s morality is not complex or advanced enough for this situation. Once you’re dealing with superpowered serial killers, that sort of prevarication comes of as pathetic. You include that sort of darkness at your peril. This is why series like Punisher MAX exist, you want a villain that evil, then people want to see him put down for good, and they want to see him hurt. And that has it’s own problem, where it feels exploitative to make your villains sex-slaving, drug-dealing, murderous paedophiles, it feels too easy and cheap.

      These stories have a big issue with the banality of evil.

  6. Christopher says:

    So I’m currently on a phone and can’t write the kinda TLDR comments I’d like to. Short and sweet then:

    – Miles Morales is an effin bore. He was the blandest ever in his original Ultimate run, and is only moderately better in this game thanks to a cool scene or two. I’ve heard he’s much better in Into the Spider-verse. Apparently the creators of that movie decided to change him a lot because the MCU already gave Tom Holland a ton of Miles traits and relationships. I hope Insomniac, in that case, pulls from that movie for Spidey 2. It’s bad enough to have a Spidey sidekick if he’s not also gonna be this whatever dude with a single memorable career moment (aaron davis).

    – In the comics, it’s Rio who’s killed while Jefferson lives. It’s meant to be surprising that he dies, but since he’s a perfectly nice black man it would be more surprising if he didn’t.

    – The bombing struck me as a very PG version of the intro scene in Metal Gear Solid 5. I appreciate that taking a walk in someone else’s shoes is good for making you empathize, but the gameplay here is hell of weak and the impact for me was lessened by its For All Ages depiction. Additionally, I’d seen similar incidents in the comics, so while I did think “oh they’re doing terrorism in new york” I didn’t personally mind, tone wise. I was just confused about the events and Spideys ineffectiveness. I did like the resulting cemetary visit though.

  7. Redrock says:

    My biggest problem with the way Miles is integrated into the story is with what comes next – Peter randomly approaches him at his dad’s funeral, with the usual cringy scene of him not being able how exactly he knew Jefferson Davis. And then the game cuts to some days later, and Miles and Peter are shown as good enough acquantances, which makes zero goddamn sense. As far as Miles is concerned, Peter is just some weirdo with zero realtion to his family. It’s pretty clear that the developers are planning to kill off Peter in one of the sequels and replace him with Miles, because, hey, there’s an Oscar-winning movie about that now, but the way Miles was shoehorned into this particular story is extremely awkward.

    1. Hal says:

      It’s pretty clear that the developers are planning to kill off Peter in one of the sequels and replace him with Miles

      I sincerely hope you’re wrong about that. That would be awful. As much as I’ve speculated about their plans for Miles in the future, that seems like the worst possible option.

      1. Redrock says:

        I mean, Pete could retire to a farm and raise chickens with MJ. But probably not. Now, the way I’d do it, is have a few gameplay sequences in “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2”, or whatever it will be called, where you play as Miles. And then have Peter sacrifice himself in the end, and then have the players control Miles in the post-game, Red Dead Redemption style. Game 3, that would be all Miles.

        And as much as I dislike that idea for a number of reasons, it makes sense in terms of gameplay. Miles’s powers were never all that well utilized in the comics, but it could add a lot of gameplay variety and help improve the stealth segments.

        1. Christopher says:

          I expect Miles won’t ever take over the series, but I fully expect them to have him playable. Like what’s an easy way to make variety happen without changing the combat system? Add another character with his own moves(or just the same moves with som different animations maybe, depending on how deep or shallow they wanna make this). I dunno if they’ll give him his own levels or Arkham Knight it or whatever, but that’s where I place my bets. It’ll beat the human stealth sections anyway.

        2. Hal says:

          Yeah, I can definitely see swapping back and forth between Peter and Miles during gameplay of a sequel. Peter is the gadget/tech man, while Miles has a broader range of powers. Different skill set, different scenarios.

          I kind of wonder if they wouldn’t try to have co-op play in some form, either.

          But killing Peter to make Miles the front man for a future game? I wouldn’t like that. I suspect a lot of people wouldn’t like that, either.

          1. Redrock says:

            I mean, is it really that problematic? Worked well enough in the comics and the movie, after all. And you can do a hell of an interactive heroic death sequence.

            1. Cubic says:

              I like it. With minigame elements.

            2. Christopher says:

              Would you, in general, kill Batman because Robin is around and can take over the mantle? ‘Cause I wouldn’t, unless I wanted out of making Spider-Man games. Or Batman, in that case. They haven’t made a lot of Arkham games since the one that ended _definitively_.

              It’s not a great sell in this series where their Peter is one of the best Petes ever and Miles, while there, doesn’t exactly steal the show.

              1. Hal says:

                There actually was a period in the Batman comics where Bruce Wayne is dead (or whatever the equivalent is in comics these days). But because there must always be a Batman, Nightwing puts on the cowl and takes up the mantle of Batman.

                Now, imagine you were making another Arkham game, and you had this as your startup premise. It could be a great game with a great story. Heck, it certainly gives you a built in excuse for tutorials and the gradual accumulation of gear, experience, etc. Are people going to be unhappy playing a Batman who isn’t Bruce Wayne because Bruce is dead? At least a few, and certainly more than just the normal internet noise of complaint about any and everything.

                1. Redrock says:

                  Miles isn’t exactly comparable to Robin – he was never a sidekick, but a Spider-Man successor from the get go. Also, yeah, Dick Grayson was Batman for a while, and it was a pretty cool arc.

                  Also, Peter once died so that Doc frickin Ock could become Spider-Man, and it was glorious.

                  1. Christopher says:

                    I’d take a superior spider-man game over a miles one any day, and that’s cause the Miles I know is mr bland while superior spider-man man was one of the greatest spidey arcs. But on that note about inheriting the title, miles has been in several adaptations now, and he doesn’t normally result in pete dying. When he joined the main continuity we didn’t start counting peter’s days or anything. And that does result i him picking up the inexperienced sidekick role, same as he does to an extent in this game’s dlc.

                    But even if Miles was mr charismatic, I probably wouldn’t suggest they kill pete. You don’t kill your beloved 60+ years protag for the new kid in any instance besides ending that series then and there.

              2. Sartharina says:

                I think what’s silly is they don’t even need to kill Peter off to have Miles take up the role. The thing about Peter Parker is his story is pretty much played out. They should have stuck with it, IMO – As Shamus pointed out, a big part of Spiderman’s appeal is that he’s in the transitional period of life between high school and establishing himself as an adult – he’s dealing with unstable income and living situation, trying to balance dating, work, school, and superheroics, etc. Marvel chose to advance that plotline, and he ultimately got himself married and in a stable life.

                They could have sort of ended it there, and brought in a character like Miles to replace him – Keep Peter in the Background, and sometimes showing up, but, honestly? He’s too old for this shit now. He’s just another Late 20’s to Early 50’s stable-lifed superhero. Keep him around for crossovers, mentors, and the occasional big blockbuster, while having Miles take up the mantle of “Young superhero in a transitional life phase”.

                With Batman, there was an awesome TV series set in a more cyberpunk era where Bruce was simply too old to Batman, and we ended up getting a young punk taking up the cowl… and he was sort of like DC’s answer to Spiderman. I loved it, except it made the Splicers always evil :(

                1. Daimbert says:

                  That was Batman Beyond. And I agree with you that Terry was more Spider-Man than Batman.

      2. RichardW says:

        Personally I’m hoping (and think it’s way more likely) that Insomniac do co-op campaign for the next game. Spidey & Spidey fighting crime together. It seems like a natural extension of the current setup, two similar characters but different enough in personality and ability that they could each carry part of a multiplayer scenario.

        Thinking of another Sony exclusive, Uncharted Lost Legacy was a double-act that went down really well, especially with your AI partner helping to gang up in fist fights with combo moves. They didn’t have co-op, which was a bit of a missed opportunity, but thinking of that sort of back and forth with one Spider-Man tossing a crook up in the air while another webs him, little stuff like that with a friend would be awesome.

        1. Redrock says:

          I’m not sure that co-op would actually work that well in a Spidey game. That whole slick cinematic action is only possible when the game world and the systems are all centered around the main character, all the while trying to make him look good. It’s the same for Arkham – it all works because one character is the center of the universe. Can’t do that with two guys, not really. Multiplayer introduces an inescapable wonkiness to the proceedings, which is fine, but goes against the spirit of this particular subgenre, I think.

    2. Peter Porker says:

      There’s an Oscar winning movie where they kill a Peter Parker. But our Peter Parker comes into the film later, alive and well. Well… well-ish.

      (Janky old broke hobo Spider-Man is the best Spider-Man)

      Killing off characters people have grown attached to in order to force them to like the new guy seldom works. It just makes people resentful. On the other hand, having Miles play off Parker has better odds of making people like him, especially if his mechanics are fun.

      Oh, and just because nobody said it yet?

      Spider-verse is amazing. Like, it’s a love letter to all things Spider-Man while giving Miles a top notch origin story and making you care about his family. Like, his dad in this is okay, but his dad in the film is terrific. Also, his parents don’t die tragically! That’s other people’s job.

      1. Redrock says:

        I’m really not into Spider-verse as much as most folks are. I think they tried to stuff in too much. Miles’s story is good on its own, Miles being coached by a tired older Peter is even better, but you stuff in Gwen and the other Spider-people and anthropomorphic animals, and you’ve got problems. Crossovers with established characters are tricky enough, but it’s way worse when 90% of the characters aren’t really all that familiar to the audience. In the end, it’s a movie that’s fun for kids and for adults who are really into Spider-Man comics, but not, I think, that great for others.

    3. Guest says:

      There’s also the scene at the FEAST headquarters where they tell Spidey to look in on and after Miles because he isn’t coping or doing well. It’s not explicitly shown, but the clear implication is that Peter does the “Big Brother” type thing for Miles.

      I really don’t mind that shorthand, I’d resent playing more powerless segments just so that Peter can hang with Miles. I get the gist.

  8. Mortuorum says:

    If Marvel’s intention was to create a streamlined universe that’s approachable to newcomers, they failed spectacularly.

    I see what you did there.

    The other thing that fails for me with the Miles scenes (and MJ scenes as well) is the frustration factor. The Miles/MJ stealth sections feel more like a punishment to be endured than a novel gameplay element that enhances the experience (granted with a few exceptions, mostly later in the game). I kept finding myself thinking, “if I can just get through this slog, I can get back to the fun stuff.” If your players are feeling that way, you’ve failed as a developer.

    By contrast, the Ciri sections of Witcher 3 were fun. Yes, she played differently from Geralt, but it didn’t require a completely different approach, and I was always curious about what was going to happen to her next to keep her two steps ahead of Geralt.

    1. Pax says:

      And also Ciri is cooler than Geralt. I like MJ, but she’s not cooler than Spider-Man, and Miles isn’t there yet.

      1. Mortuorum says:

        if Mary Jane had some badass scars and could teleport, those parts of Spider-Man would have been a lot more fun (if less canonical)!

        1. Kylroy says:

          Personal opinions on coolness aside, Ciri is a person with superhuman powers, same as Geralt. Spiderman is superhuman, MJ is…not. She’s not combat trained or even particularly equipped to deal with physical danger. Which is fine narratively, it just means that playing her in an action video game narrows the scope an awful lot. Plus, every time she wades into a situation that could get her captured or killed, there’s a voice in the back of your head screaming “you know someone a thousand times more qualified than you to do this” the whole time.

      2. Guest says:

        Yeah, Ciri is also more powerful than Geralt. There were some tricky and frustrating bits as her, but they were more “I don’t know this moveset and playstyle”. I was better as Geralt, but that was because I knew the combat in and out, and how to use the moveset abilities, and potions to the best advantage. Ciri was obviously more powerful, but I was given less time to learn to use her. It’s not frustrating in the same way.

        Miles and MJ are like the Peter segments, and it’s frustrating to go from the freedom of swinging, to walking and sneaking around. “Oh, don’t step on the glass”, what a thrilling challenge.

  9. Matt says:

    Batman has always been my favorite superhero and as I’ve grown up, I appreciate darker or more realistic takes on the character. I’ve been out of comics for a while, and over the weekend I encountered the Batman Who Laughs. For those not familiar, it’s an alternate version of Batman who kills a Joker who melts Commissioner Gordon as he calls out for his daughter and then murders dozens of parents in front of their children before Jokerizing the kids. As a result, Batman is infected by a form of Joker venom that has removed his moral code. This Batman guns down Robin, Nightwing, etc., murders the entire Justice League before forcing Superman to kill (and possibly eat) Lois Lane, tortures and poisons his own son, and uses a slave army of Joker children. Before I stopped reading, I think he actually killed the entire planet.

    My reaction to the character was about the same as Shamus’ feelings on the scene he describes. – “this is no longer a fun adventure and is distressing and tasteless.” Furthermore, the character seems to have been created to tell a pretty conventional DC plot about multiple universes and crossovers. It’s not really funny, nor is it an insightful deconstruction of the character. It just seemed kinda…gross? I enjoyed Old Man Logan, but actually put this down and stopped reading.

    1. BlueHorus says:

      Batman who kills a Joker who melts Commissioner Gordon as he calls out for his daughter and then murders dozens of parents in front of their children before Jokerizing the kids. As a result, Batman is infected by a form of Joker venom that has removed his moral code. This Batman guns down Robin, Nightwing, etc., murders the entire Justice League before forcing Superman to kill (and possibly eat) Lois Lane, tortures and poisons his own son, and uses a slave army of Joker children…

      What the hell?
      So my first thought was ‘that’s such a stupid idea that this has got to be a joke. Like a ridiculous Batman-themed Keyword-Salad designed as a parody, probably by two 12-year-old kids drunk on stolen whisky. No one would actually put the time in to write and draw tha…

      …wait, it’s actually REAL?

      …this is no longer a fun adventure and is distressing and tasteless.

      Right there with ya.

      1. Thomas says:

        It’s very metal. I don’t like it either, but there’s a very specific genre they’re going for and they’re clearly doing it skillfully for those fans.

        I felt sick just reading a plot summary though. Not for me

    2. DeadlyDark says:

      That sounds like some read Deadpool kills * (Marvel Universe, etc) and decided to use Batman and not someone more suitable for this role, for some reason

    3. Guest says:

      Yeah, they did a whole series on them, alternate Batmans, for a crossover. Most of them are all edgy, stupid damn nonsense.

      It’s dumb enough that it gives the impression “You shouldn’t kill the joker, because breaking your moral code means you’ll be poisoned and turn evil”, it should be “You shouldn’t kill the Joker, because you think killing is wrong” (Though I disagree, that’s at least a resonant message). Like, if Batman’s mask covered his face, the story wouldn’t exist, that’s not using character to tell a story. And it’s all for the gimmick of “What if Batman, but he was also another famous DC character, the Flash, Ares (IIRC? I’m forgetful there, it’s the Amazonian tie in), Cyborg, Joker”, like, these are such stupid, high-concept ideas, I’d rather not know how each of them came to exist, because it’d have to be ridiculous.

      That evil joker-batman dimension hopped and recruited other evil batman to form their league of people who apparently can turn people into cannibals, and killing their friends for no reason is a stupid that will not get better the more you explain it.

      This shit is just edgelord nonsense.

      It’s not even dark, not really. Dark shit is nasty because it’s relatable. Once you reach that level of excess, you aren’t tapping into the darkness within your reader’s soul, you’re showing them your excess, and that’s just a spectacle.

  10. Hal says:

    I didn’t think too deeply at the time about the change in tone this event represents, but when you describe it like this, it is pretty jarring for what’s been put forward so far.

    This is supposed to be Miles’s “call to action,” similar to the death of Uncle Ben. I suppose the death of Uncle Ben is such old news that it’s not really shocking any more. Still, our into to the Sam Raimi Spider-Man had Ben die on screen. You could probably fill out a long list of the people who died to motivate the super heroes. Is this entirely tasteless?

    I mean, the Marvel movies have been, by and large, fun action romps. Our introduction to that world came with US soldiers getting gunned down and blown up right in front of Tony Stark (plus some body horror to boot).

    I guess the question is, how much explicit death is okay in our super hero stories? Is it just the tonal clash? It’s not as if we haven’t seen the Demons taking callous disregard for life so far in the game, so maybe it isn’t so much a tonal clash as a (sudden) ramping up of the intensity of that conflict.

    What it does highlight, though, is the bizarre fixation Peter has later in the game on “redeeming” Martin. He’s utterly convinced there’s a good man inside there who can win against Mr. Negative. Given the body count Martin will rack up over the course of the game . . . this feels naive at best.

    1. Syal says:

      I guess the question is, how much explicit death is okay in our super hero stories?

      Depends on the tone. Sam Raimi Spiderman killed the guy who killed Uncle Ben, didn’t he? Threw him off a building? That’s the basic state of things at that point; if the villains are killing innocent people, then the heroes will kill the villains. If the hero still isn’t going to kill them, it’s got to be a Nolan Batman kind of thing where wrestling with their moral code is the central conflict.

      Also, for a scene like this with widespread destruction, Marvel-style movies will usually have the hero jump in and save someone from debris or something, to end things on a heroic note. Raimi Spiderman took a moment to mourn Ben, and then immediately set off to take down the guy who did it. Heroes don’t leave the audience to wander around shell-shocked.

    2. Guest says:

      But that’s the thing.

      Ben dies heroically, not pleading, not running. You see pain on his face, but the wound is kept to vague blood soaking his abdomen, and Peter holds him as he dies, and it’s a tender moment.

      It’s dark, it’s cruel, it’s sad, it’s miserable, but it’s also a restrained depiction of a murder, and the scene is less about the horror of it, than how quickly life can be snatched away, and how we should cherish the ones we love, because that fight with them might be the last thing we say to them.

      This scene features a suicide bombing by a brainwashed man, which kills a hero police officer we spent an entire level befriending and even being rescued by, while we watch, from the perspective of his son, and the explosion injures many civilians, who, bleeding to death and moving on wounds that prevent many from walking, crawling away from the site of the blast, only to be executed in cold blood by armed, masked gunmen, who are only there to make a statement against the Mayor through murder. You cower, as a child, without superpowers, help, or a weapon, behind rubble from that blast, and watch while they kill the wounded, and try to avoid being killed, so that you can try to find your father. Despite these efforts, he finds his father’s dead body, and begs him to wake up. This is from the perspective of a kid who looks a lot younger than Toby Maguire’s Spiderman. And it lacks the same tenderness, and sadness, in favor of raw brutality.

      That’s uh. Pretty bleak. One is suited to the film, it’s the nadir, but it justifies both Peter’s desire for vengeance, and why his Uncle’s words stick with him and inform his entire life philosophy. It’s necessary to the story, and dealt with as tastefully as possible. The game’s scene wasn’t so necessary, because Miles is a side character, and Li leads a gang, Spiderman already wants to stop him. For such a harsh tonal shift, from a game where you help your friends find their pigeons, and kidnappings are apparently people locked in the boot of their car with a few goons nearby, and the Shocker, to a massacre viewed by a kid who’ll be traumatized by it forever, you’d need to handle it with more taste, and delicacy, if you didn’t want people to be shocked by the sudden turn. Having someone attempt heroics, see awful things, and then discover it was all for nothing because dad was dead before you reached him as you beg him to wake up, is a pretty bleak superhero story.

      In this game, if you throw a person off a building, they’re automatically rescued. That’s the tone, which is similar to the film, spidey rescues civilians. A house is burning down, so he runs in and saves people. He rescues people from the wreckage caused by his battles, and suffers for it, saving the monorail car on the bridge, and saving the train. Here, he gets knocked out, and the civilians are injured, and many of them are executed.

      It’s basically all tone. Even just making it a bombing, would help, Miles could still find his father dead. He could find him dying, like in Raimi’s, and shed a tear and try to comfort him. It’s how explicit the murders are, it’s tasteless. It makes it jarring.

    3. Guest says:

      Also, Tony Stark needed to see his own weapons being used on people, on people he knew, even briefly, to come to his big motivation for the film, that Stark Industries needs to not be making weapons, and to remove his weapons from conflict zones. It’s the same conflict that’s revisited in AOU, where the Maximoff’s hate him because they were victims of people using his weaponry. That it was wrong to profit of selling murder.

      These are all relayed fairly tastefully. The Maximoff story is dialogue, and doesn’t show their parents death. The soldiers die in battle, but not entirely horrifically. Tony’s condition is uncomfortable, but you need to understand his disability, as it’s his power, his weakness, and his motivation for his subplot in the next film. And these are all still, fairly clean depictions. I’ve had major surgery recently, the horror of Tony’s condition is nothing compared to shattering a bone and having them slice your leg open to put it back together, to push titanium nails into bone to hold you together, to not feel a section of your body because of nerve damage. I’d say that Tony’s depiction of body horror and disability is pretty tasteful, and brief. There’s mild gore.

      Time will tell if Miles’ story will build well off this, but it’s just very extra. It’s how much you show it. If the badguys are automatically rescued, if, while trying to commit a murder, you throw them off a building, then we shouldn’t explicitly see them kill on screen. If Spidey wanting to redeem Martin is to not seem insane, and selfish, then they need not to show us people committing a massacre on his orders.

  11. Carlos García says:

    «Miles has to sneak by these Demons, which allows him to be a first-hand witness to their murdering wounded civilians.» screenshot:
    Is that guy with the rifle wearing a Kylo Ren mask?

    1. Geebs says:

      He’s putting the “emo” into Demon

  12. ccesarano says:

    I know this is jumping ahead a bit, but I was disappointed to find out how Miles got his powers in this game. I looked it up online later and discovered that it’s roughly accurate to what happened in the comics, but how he got his powers seems like the “laziest”, least creative methods. Here, they had an opportunity to correct it while demonstrating Miles as having the heart of a hero. The problem is, it would also be a conflict of character motivation versus writer motivation.

    If you wanted an inventive way to give Miles spidey-powers, then have Peter injured and bleeding severely from shielding MJ from the blast. MJ is temporarily unconscious. While Miles, conscious, is being seen to by paramedics, have them make note that they need Blood Type X for a transfusion. Miles is torn. He wants to find his mom and dad, but this guy is losing a lot of blood. Gritting his teeth, Miles says “I have that blood type”, and they begin to do a blood transfusion as a semi-conscious Mary Jane weakly tries to protest, muttering “Don’t… don’t do it…” before falling back into unconsciousness.

    Story-wise, we’ve now got reason for MJ and Peter to keep in touch with Miles beyond his father helping out that one time. We also have reason for Peter to believe Miles has the heart of a true hero. The problem is, we no longer have our stealth segment… which, given the tonal shift, might be better anyway since we don’t see the up front murder mentioned in the article.

    It’s not perfect, but I feel like it would have honestly been a better, harder hitting dramatic moment that can be built upon in the story far better than it currently has been.

    This is also assuming I actually understand how blood transfusions work and scenarios in which they are necessary. I didn’t exactly go to medical school so I could be as awful and ignorant as a writer for Mass Effect: Andromeda.

    1. Hal says:

      Wait . . . how does Miles giving his blood to Peter transfer powers to Miles?

    2. evilmrhenry says:

      Unfortunately, transfusions don’t work that way; there’s no “backwash”.

      1. ccesarano says:

        I am a Mass Effect Andromeda writer!

        I could have sworn blood transfusions end up having the blood going between the two people, or that there was something to that effect and therefore Miles would walk away with some of Peter’s blood. I either have the terminology wrong or just made this all up in my head even though I thought I heard of it from somewhere else before.

        1. Redrock says:

          I strongly suspect that if Spidey powers were transmitted via body fluids, then, well, we’d have way more Spider-Women on our hands.

          1. BlueHorus says:

            Also, a massive queue of people paying crazy money to sleep with Superheroes, of all kinds. It’d be a whole new economy!

            Now THERE’S a different take on Spidey: The Erotic Adventures of Spider-Gigolo*

            *Wait…Rule 34…so I assume this already exists?

          2. Hal says:

            Well, Peter does cry over MJ’s corpse for having killed her with radioactive Spider-Semen.

            Comic books, man.

        2. evilmrhenry says:

          There’s a transfusion trope where blood is directly transfused from one person to another. Google says it’s something that used to be done before we knew how to do transfusions properly. (Keyword is “direct transfusion”.) The timing on this advance is appropriate for direct transfusion being used in early comic books, and I vaguely remember transfusions lending superpowers to other people, but always from the superhero to the civilian.

          1. Christopher says:

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is how we got She-Hulk?

            1. ccesarano says:

              Regardless, I’m glad my ignorance could offer amusement to some people.

            2. Boobah says:

              She-Hulk got her powers because Bruce donated gammalicious blood to her. Plus, she’s his cousin, which also explains why Jennifer reacts more-or-less the same way Bruce did; there are quite a few gamma ray powered superfolk in Marvel, and becoming a Brick is only the most common result.

              On the Doylist side of the aisle, we got She-Hulk (and Spider Woman, and so on) because Marvel got wind of somebody trying to cash in on the Hulk (and Spider-Man, and so on) by making distaff counterparts and decided to get there first. Which is one of the reasons the version of the character that is best known is almost entirely unlike their initial appearance.

        3. Guest says:

          Not usually. Usually one person gives blood, and then the other takes blood. They go through machines with reservoirs.

          You don’t want backwards flow, that means that the blood pressure in the donor’s arm has dropped, and there is now a risk of injury. And it’s a risk of contamination

          You could have Miles injured too, and Peter knocked out, and while they’re being seen to by paramedics, have them mention Miles needs blood or he’ll die, and Peter gives his blood, despite his concussion, because Peter’s self sacrificing, that’s just what he does.

          You could handwave their blood supplies by saying the amount of casualties in need of transfusions has exhausted their blood supplies. Give Peter the same blood type as Miles, or say he’s O Negative, (I don’t know if that’s cannon).

          1. Syal says:

            A spider bites Peter while he’s unconscious, which makes it radioactive, and then the radioactive spider bites Miles.

            And then a bird eats the spider and bites MJ and we get a level of MJ flying around the city beating up crime before Peter wakes up and her bird powers wear off.

        4. Geebs says:

          I think I understand your confusion. In BioWare games, blood transfusions are canonically performed using the Towers of Hanoi puzzle.

  13. Zaxares says:

    The irony is that you mentioned in some previous entries that Spider-Man can uppercut mooks 12 feet into the air. That’s not the kind of injury that you can walk away from. :P A normal human getting hit like is almost certainly dead from a broken neck, collapsed lungs or massive internal bleeding and/or brain trauma. Even if they didn’t die immediately from the sheer strength of that punch, they’d be dead within minutes before ambulances could arrive on the scene.

    1. Boobah says:

      Not sure that’s irony; earlier we were in the land of over-the-top four color violence, where a righteous vigilante can punch people across the street, tie ’em up, and they’ll be fine after a night in lock up.

      Now that we’re in the land of realistic violence we find out that Peter’s ‘righteous’ smackdown probably killed most of those goons by way of shattered skulls and spines, crushed torsos, and truly epic amounts of whiplash.

      Peter’s been doing this for most of a decade by this point. Yep, that’s our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, with a four or five digit body count.

      It’s clear The Writer intended the players to keep these in separate mental boxes… and succeeded imperfectly.

  14. Philadelphus says:

    You’re into Ultimates? That’s fine for casual fans, but REAL fans are in the Penultimates.

    And the real, REAL hardcore fans are into the Antepenults!…ah, grammar humor.

  15. stratigo says:

    I know this is controversial for some people, but, like, being black gives miles a whole range of experiences that will make him stand out from peter despite otherwise being very similar. Indeed, that could very well be something to lean on narratively. They’re so similar in every other way, who do people then treat them differently? Cause, again controversial for some people, a black person’s experience of America is not going to be the same as a white person’s. Even from the same backgrounds.

    I’m not sure any of the comics ever leaned on this, since acknowledging it really riles some people up and businesses can be quite shy about seeming offensive, but mile’s very existence raises hackles to an extent that I really haven’t seen in any other successor stories.

  16. Dreadjaws says:

    I really liked Miles Morales in “Into the Spider-Verse”. They manage to strike a good balance between his similarities to Peter Parker and his differences to make the character stand out.

    But I never could get into him in the comics. Leaving aside his background, they gave him an extra ability that Peter never had that’s basically a “win” button. It’s like they tried to be “progressive” by having a black kid gaining the identity of a major superhero but overcompensated by making him practically invincible.

    Then the comics started giving spider powers to half the Marvel universe and bringing different Spider-Men from different universes and at some point it started to feel like Marvel wants people to forget about Peter Parker. I got tired of Marvel comics years ago for this kind of thing.

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