Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Superior Spider Man Volume 4 Necessary Evil Review

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Looks like it is time to check out a volume in the Superior Spider Man run! That series definitely made a lot of waves back in the day and there was virtually no way that you wouldn’t have heard of it if you were following comics. After all, it was a big move to get rid of Peter Parker and have someone else put on the suit. Considering that Slott tried to make Peter as unlikable as possible before finally getting rid of him, Ock certainly did look good for a while. Of course, you do have to consider the fact that he’s not quite as heroic.

Things are going well for Ock. Life at Horizon Labs seems to be easy enough and he’s able to balance his civilian life with his hero one. That changes though when a time disturbance starts to shake up his life. Spider Man 2099 has arrived from the future and he needs to protect the man who is trying to ruin Ock’s reputation and the company that he’s in. Ock has vowed to end this threat once and for all, but now he’s going to have to go through another Spider Man to do this! Moreover, he’s still wrecking Peter’s relationship with Mary Jane while taking his life in a new direction. When and if (Heh heh) Parker returns, he’ll certainly be coming back to a rather chaotic life. Hey…at least he’ll have more money now!

Doc Ock is actually doing a reasonable job of keeping Peter’s life alive. Perhaps not socially, but definitely economically. Once Peter Industries manages to hit it off, Peter will be in the clear for quite a while. The stakes are high though as his Aunt’s friend has put a large investment into this and Ock has thrown in all of the money that he currently possesses. For a man of his brilliance though, this should not be a problem. (Of course, we know that Peter starts to mess this up in the ASM issues that are soon to come) Ock is also developing a strong bond with one of his friends and the romance is surprisingly gradual so far. It’s certainly much better than the romance that you will have come to expect from this title. It’s going to put Peter in a really bad spot soon, but Ock’s doing well with this.

On the iffy side, Ock is still not the law abiding citizen that Spider Man was. He doesn’t mind threatening people in public and doing whatever’s necessary to keep himself safe. Things get dangerous for him a few times, but he typically manages to solve everything in the end. He did die at one point though, but comic heroes can never die for long so he’s still in the clear. It is fun to see a bold Spider Man though so Ock’s change of pace is a good breath of fresh air. He’s completely confident in his abilities and he has certainly made many upgrades. Nobody will ever pass Peter as the definitive Spider Man, but Ock is certainly giving this his all. Even if nobody trusts him anymore.

Carly has a subplot as she finally realizes that Ock is posing as Peter. That’s impressive since she figured it out before all of the telepaths and metahumans on the blog. Unfortunately for her, she wrote it all down in a journal and didn’t make any copies of the pages. Now, the Goblin Gang has the info and you can be sure that they will be putting it to good use. I believe that their plot really starts to heat up in the next volume so they are mostly planning in this volume. Green Goblin is really kicking Hobgoblin around so you can tell who’s in charge. This makes sense though as Green Goblin has always been the bigger threat in the past.

One subplot that is also starting to form is the one that just ended with the Spider Wars. Morlun wants to destroy them all and a telepath/precog is trying to warn the humans, but nobody will listen. That’s some early setup though because the arc didn’t happen until quite a while from this arc. Slott certainly likes to plan ahead, which is good. It’s one of the few areas where I can safely say that the series succeeds. That Spider arc did get a lot of hype and supposedly it was actually a lot of fun. I can’t guarantee that I’ll be reading the actual event anytime soon, but something leading up to that isn’t out of the question.

Spider Man 2099 gets a big role during the first few comics of course and it’s always nice to see a familiar face. He doesn’t understand why Ock doesn’t recognize him thanks to the fact that Ock’s done a great job of taking over Peter’s body so we get the hero fight that we’ve been waiting for! 2099 actually does manage to put up some resistance, but it’s hard to gauge who had the upper hand since the fight is interrupted very quickly. Suffice to say, I’m confident that Ock would have ultimately win. Peter Parker’s body is simply a huge advantage and it’s not something that 2099 can overcome. 2099 did seem like a reasonably good character though and it is cool to see him stick around. That’s likely a bad thing for the future, but the Age of Heroes can always use another good fighter.

I feel like I should at least mention the fact that nobody knows that Ock has taken over Peter’s body to be a little iffy. I don’t care how complete the body switch is, there are tons of meta humans who should have noticed this by now. I feel bad for Peter since his friends didn’t do a great job of being observant. Imagine being stuck in limbo because nobody could tell that you weren’t in control of your body anymore. Spider Man’s personality is totally different, but almost no one even suspects that a change has occurred.

The art style is certainly still a mixed bag. The way that the faces are drawn is a little odd. It just feels sloppier than some of the other comics. On the bright side, the fight scenes still look really good. The art’s just a little slippery as the characters will get stretched out, but that doesn’t necessarily hurt the fight scenes. It’s certainly no Avengers or Justice League, but I suppose that the art will still get it done for you. It’s actually fairly unique at this point as one glance is enough to tell you that this is Slott’s work. (Slott isn’t the actual artist as far as I know, but this art style seems to always be with Slott in the Spider Man series)

Overall, Ock keeps squeaking by danger, but sooner or later it is going to catch up to him. When Peter comes back, he is definitely going to be in for some surprises. This comic may have been written by Slott, but it was actually good. It’s certainly much better than the Amazing Spider Man trade that I read a while back. The Superior Spider Man run was definitely an interesting one and Ock certainly isn’t like your average lead. He’s like the Punisher as it is hard to call him a hero, but he’ll still deal with the villains in his own way. It may not be heroic, but at least the city can rest easy for now. This is a quick collection to get through and aside from the 2099 arc, there’s a quick comic at the end where another villain shows up. We get to see some of the upgrades that Ock’s made to the suit. I recommend checking this out and Spider Man fans will be intrigued at the thought of Spider Man’s old enemy being behind the mask.

Overall 7/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Spiderman Edge of Time Review

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Edge of Time is another video game that I’ve had my eye on for a very long time. I greatly enjoyed Shattered Dimensions and while I’ve heard that this one is not even comparable..I knew that it would still be good. I’m pleased to say that the game is definitely a lot of fun and it’s worth buying.

The plot is pretty sad for Peter Parker since he is destined to die. Spiderman 2099 is going to need to alter the timeline to save him, but will there be consequences to his actions? Someone is messing up the time stream and both of the Spidermen need to find out who the culprit is. The answer may shock long time fans and amuse people who’ve never heard of Marvel before. Either way, the plot is solid and you’ll definitely enjoy it!

I definitely prefer this story to the one that was in Shattered Dimensions. For one thing, this game has more actual cutscenes as opposed to moving stills. You really feel the danger when Anti Venom gets involved and the beginning of the game is very epic. Seeing Spiderman 2099 take on Anti Venom was also pretty awesome. The start of the game is easily the best part and the rest is still good…just not as epic. There are three acts in the game, which results in around 15 levels. Acts 1 and 3 are great, but Act 2 isn’t quite as exciting. Less stakes and less danger, but that makes sense since the middle is usually the low moment for just about any game.

One factor that may hurt your experience is the portrayal of the two Spidermen. They’re constantly arguing and both of them come across as being unnecessarily mean to each other. Spiderman 2099 yells out pretty much all of his lines and he likes to insult Peter. Peter is quick to take some shots at Spiderman 2099 as well and while he doesn’t yell as much, he’s always very snippy. They just did not seem to be in character and I can’t imagine Spiderman acting like that. He even gives up at one point and resigns himself to oblivion. Finally, Peter was pretty overconfident during his fight with Anti Venom, which was okay….but letting down his guard is not cool.

Gameplay wise, this game tries to be the same as Shattered Dimensions. We still have the free fall levels and Spiderman’s gameplay is what you would expect. That being said, it’s not quite as smooth as Shattered Dimensions. I had to get used to this during the first few levels, but it’s great by the end of the game. I’m inclined to prefer Shattered Dimension’s fighting style, but this game is still solid in that aspect. The Spider Sense can’t stay on like in the last game so you can only use it as a short burst. Meanwhile, you can automatically dodge all attacks as long as you hold L2 while in Spiderman mode. It’s cool to watch, but it makes his fights extremely easy. The enemies cannot hurt you at all in that form, no matter what attacks they may try. Yes…that includes bosses! Spiderman 2099 doesn’t have that ability, but he can fire clones made out of energy which help you fight and it’s just as useful. All of the enemies will immediately go after the clone so you can get some free hits off of them.

Web slinging is the biggest negative compared to other Spiderman games. It’s hard to gain altitude and you constantly have to let go and just do a classic third jump. Unlike Shattered Dimensions, you can’t infinitely jump so you have to pause and swing around for a sec before continuing. It’s not a terribly long process, but it really wasn’t needed. They shouldn’t have altered the web slinging process! Defeating enemies can be a little tedious during the beginning of the game because the health bars on these minions are pretty large. It takes a lot of hits to finally bring them down, so I recommend upgrading your attack power right away. While the gameplay may not be as good as Shattered Dimensions, it’s still in 3D and we still get a lot of action. I would give the combat an 8/10, which is great!

One slight negative for the game is the lack of bosses. We get to fight Black Cat, Anti Venom and the final pair of bosses. That’s not as many bosses as I would like in a game. Throwing in some more would have definitely helped the game and it would have also lengthened the story. The game may be under 10 hours in length, but we have the Web Challenges to keep you busy. There are over 60 of them (Significantly less than Shattered Dimensions) and they are simple enough. The Free falling challenges can give you some mild trouble.

My biggest negative with the game is the level designs. Yes, even more so than the fact that you can’t skip many cutscenes. You never get to set foot outside, which is very sad. What happened to swinging across buildings? That’s typically one of my favorite parts about playing a Spider Man game and I was sad to see it go. There may be around 15 levels, but some of the designs actually appeared to be copied from each other. After a while, you’ll feel like you keep going to the same rooms and labyrinths. The bland level designs can take away from the fun and the scenery just isn’t fun to look at. It’s basically always night time. I really hope that they never cut out NYC from another big Spiderman game because that definitely hurts the experience.

The Graphics aren’t terribly impressive. It’s definitely using a different style than Shattered Dimensions, but the graphics during gameplay are pretty good. The ones that I was not impressed with were the scenes that took place in the cutscenes. At one point, Peter has his big scene and he takes off the mask…only to look nothing like Peter Parker. I had to wince at the design and the graphics did not really look like a PS3 game. It felt like I was looking at Madden character models. Either way, the game doesn’t have a whole lot of cutscenes and the gameplay graphics definitely suffice.

The trophies in this game are considerably easier than Shattered Dimension’s. You have fewer things to do and long challenges like getting all of the Golden Spiders have become pretty simple. Your Spider Sense will tingle if you’re near a spider and the game did a very good job with it. You can obtain just about every Gold Spider through a normal play through. I don’t have the Platinum yet, but I just have three trophies left so I should be getting it pretty soon. You don’t need to worry about any “unfair” trophies so that could help you decide to pick up this game.

I can’t say much for the soundtrack. It defeats Shattered Dimensions in this aspect, but it’s pretty close. I really like the main menu theme for Edge of Time and the epic music that occurred during the Anti Venom moments were also pretty intense. Beyond that, the rest of the music was pretty forgettable and we didn’t have much in the way of boss themes.

Overall, this was a very good Spider Man game. It may have lacked Shattered Dimension’s combat mastery, but the epic story line made up for it. The gameplay is solid and the graphics are good enough. The game isn’t terribly long and you can complete it in under 10 hours. That being said, the replay value will help you out and it’s definitely worth the current price. (Around 15-20) I guess this means that I need to go and pick up the Amazing Spider Man game for PS3 at some point, but I doubt that it will be able to beat this one. Still….we shall see! I recommend this game to all action fans and to anyone who is a fan of Spiderman.

Overall 8/10