This Spider-Man’s story isn’t finished.
Marvel Comics released Spider-Geddon #0 this week. While that comic serves as a direct lead-in to the upcoming Spider-Geddon crossover, that’s by no means the only selling point. Spider-Geddon #0 is notable for serving as the comic book debut of the Peter Parker of Marvel’s Spider-Man video game on PS4. And if this issue accomplished anything, it’s showing how much potential this version of Spidey has for his own ongoing comic book series.
Warning: spoilers for Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4 ahead!
It’s easy to dismiss the need for a Spider-Man comic set in this game’s version of the Marvel universe. Marvel has an overabundance of Spider-Man comics as it is, with books spotlighting the classic Peter Parker as well as offshoot characters like Spider-Gwen, Scarlet Spider and Venom. There’s even an alternate universe version of Spidey in Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows. Is Insomniac’s take on Spider-Man truly different enough to stand out when you cut the gameplay out of the equation and focus solely on story?
As it turns out, yes, it is. Despite the fact that the game draws heavily from Marvel’s contemporary Amazing Spider-Man comics and the work of writers like Dan Slott and Christos Gage (both of whom also contributed to the game’s story), it also makes some significant changes to that established mythology. Mary Jane Watson is changed from glamorous supermodel to crusading reporter. Miles Morales is integrated into Peter’s world in a much more fundamental way. Peter has a far deeper relationship with Doctor Octopus than he ever did in the comics. Like Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham games, Insomniac’s Spider-Man universe has a classic feel even as it sets itself apart from any incarnation of the franchise we’ve seen before. And it’s worth remembering that DC published multiple ongoing series set within the Arkham universe.
Spider-Geddon #0 immediately shows the potential in continuing that specific Peter Parker’s journey. The comic picks up shortly after the events of the game, with Peter soldiering forward after his confrontation with Doc Ock and the death of Aunt May. The twist is that he’s confronted by the Superior Spider-Man of the classic Marvel Universe, who hopes to recruit another Spider-Man to join the renewed war against the Inheritors (inter-dimensional vampires who feed on Spider-Men, the villains of Spider-Geddon). But as the Superior Spider-Man is basically the mind of Otto Octavius lurking in the body of Peter Parker, this creates an unusual dynamic between the two.
This issue is ultimately less about the conflict to come and more about two versions of Spider-Man coming to terms with the complicated legacy of Otto Octavius. For the Peter, he’s comforted by the knowledge that not every version of Otto Octavius is a lost cause. For Otto, learning about this alternate universe counterpart is a sobering reminder of the fate that nearly befell him. In one brief story, Gage and artist Clayton Crain manage to forge a compelling bond between two wildly different incarnations of Spider-Man.
The hope is that this standalone comic is an appetizer for bigger stories to come. Spider-Geddon #0 proves that there are stories to be told with the Insomniac Spider-Man that can’t be told with the classic Spider-Man. The Peter/Otto dynamic is just one example. A lengthier Spider-Man comic spinning out of the game could further explore the relationship between Peter, MJ and Miles. It could flash back to the days when Harry Osborn was still around and his father Norman wasn’t quite so far gone. It could look forward and explore the power vacuum in New York now that both Kingpin and Mister Negative are gone. Or instead of looking forward, the comic could explore the past eight years Peter has been operating at Spider-Man.
There are plenty of stories to be told even without the comic getting in the way of the inevitable game sequel. As Spider-Geddon #0 showed us this week, the key is simply embracing what separates Insomniac’s Spider-Man from the classic Spider-Man and making the most of those new angles.
Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter, or Kicksplode on MyIGN.