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  1. #1
    Incredible Member Hybrid's Avatar
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    Default What's the best portrayal of Spider-Man and his mythos outside 616?

    Outside the mainstream comics continuity, what telling of Spider-Man captured the essence of both the character and his mythology the best while also giving a different interpretation of the lore? Anything from comic AUs, movies, animation, video games and whatever else is welcome to discuss.

    For me, I'd say Spider-Man PS4 did a pretty good job. I explained elsewhere, and used it as a sort of measuring stick against MCU Spider-Man (which relied way too much on the shared universe over his own lore). I'll just repost it here for convenience.

    To begin, there's this idea that Spider-Man must always be a kid thanks to the Ultimate Marvel Universe running with it, and the shows afterwards setting him in high school, even though he's been a twenty-something post-graduate for most of his published existence, and that's the best way he's portrayed. Spider-Man PS4 knew this, and had Spider-Man portrayed as a 23-year-old hero with eight years as a superhero under his belt. His personality, relationship to the world, struggles with mundane life, and overall view are pretty in-sync with today, and he feels like a properly modernized Spider-Man that's still Spider-Man overall.

    His supporting cast is also correct in that they come from the Spidey comics and are recognizable. He has Mary Jane, Aunt May, Captain Watanabe, Miles Morales (who's done well here), J. Jonah Jameson, and Harry Osborn. Compare this to MCU Spidey really only having Aunt May, Ganke as Ned Leeds, a substitute for Mary Jane named Michelle, and a nerdy Flash. Oh, and Happy Hogan (who belongs to Iron Man). That brings me to my next point.

    Spider-Man is actually portrayed as his own man. That's not say that he doesn't need help sometimes, but he's not totally reliant on Tony Stark, nor does he need the outside universe all the time. Spider-Man isn't a Stark fanboy, nor is he trying desperately to get a seat on the Avengers. He acts as his own superhero, and solves his problems with his skill, smarts and intuition. Also, Spider-Man PS4 actually draws from his mythos, going deep instead of wide, yet distills it as a unique take that still feels correct. By that, the story doesn't need constant appearances from the Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., or anyone not tied to the Spider-Man mythos, and instead uses the worldbuilding elements tied to what originated in Spider-Man to begin with. The game actually uses his iconic cast of villains, distilled from multiple eras such as Steve Ditko (Osborn, Doc Ock, Vulture, Electro, Scorpion), John Romita (Rhino, Shocker, Kingpin), Gerry Conway (Tombstone, Hammerhead), the more recent creations of Dan Slott (Mr. Negative, Screwball), as well as anti-heroines courtesy of Marv Wolfman (Black Cat) and Tom DeFalco (Silver Sable).

    At the same time, it's set in a world where other Marvel superheroes exist, and we could see more of that later. In other words, Spider-Man PS4 is part of an established world, kinda like the MCU. There was Avengers Tower, Alias Investigations, a Wakanda embassy, Nelson & Murdock, the Sanctum Sanctorum, the Raft, Roxxon, Damage Control, a statue of Lockjaw, and of course Taskmaster makes a welcome appearance where he mentions going toe-to-toe with the Avengers in the past. The only elements absent were Fantastic Four and X-Men, due to executive meddling at the time, but that eventually got worked out and we have FF suits and I expect X-Men stuff to appear in the sequel.

    However, despite being set in a shared world, Spider-Man PS4 still drew from the Spider-Man mythos first and foremost. He didn't need to go around high-fiving every Marvel star left and right, he didn't constantly vie for Stark's approval, his villains may have new origins, but none were affected by Stark. It is clear that Spidey has a very real relationship with the superhero community, hinted at past adventures, but he isn't defined by it. I'm all open to connecting to the wider universe later, but I'm glad that the game managed to get the basics covered first so Spider-Man actually stands on his own.
    Another thing that also bugs me about how Spidey relies so much on the shared universe is that all the other MCU heroes rely primarily on their own mythos and the outside elements are icing on the cake (such as Hulk in Thor: Ragnarok for example). In fact, the only other headliner I can think of who is anywhere near as reliant on outside factors is Ant-Man. However, that's a little more justified since Scott Lang was always intended to be a supporting character (his status quo throughout the comics is being a helper to Iron Man, the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, before being killed off as fodder that lasted eight real world years) and never a lead role, thus he didn't have much of a "mythos" to draw from.

    Even then, the outside elements don't feel as tacked on. He may have gotten Iron Man villains as antagonists in AMatW, but they were completely divorced from Iron Man in the context of the MCU. Even then, they still drew from what little they could: He still brings with him Cassie Lang, Hank Pym (the original Ant-Man), Janet van Dyne, Hope van Dyne (an immigrant from the Spider-Girl comics), the Pym Particles, the first villain Scott fights is Darren Cross (his only real villain in the comics, who only appeared in a single issue before the movie mind you), and the Quantum Realm (a renamed version of the Microverse due to rights issues). In fact, the entire first Ant-Man movie is a loose modern retelling of To Steal an Ant-Man, which was Scott's debut story and the only Scott-focused storyline that has any weight.

    Can't say that for Spider-Man. He's a rare S-rank property in that he has a fascinating mythology involving his supporting cast, settings, stories, and rogues, all before factoring in the wider universe. The elements that made it in are sparse, namely Midtown High, while villains Vulture and Mysterio were "updated" to be affected by Stark (which kinda makes Spider-Man seem like a janitor cleaning up his messes). It seems everything is reimagined to have a connection to other MCU properties. The most charitable guess is that they wanted to differentiate themselves from both of the Sony Spider-Man series by heavily emphasizing the shared aspect over the core mythos of Spider-Man. Kinda reminds me of how Ultimate Spider-Man had Spidey going on adventures across the Marvel Universe with little focus on his own cast, to differentiate from Spectacular Spider-Man.
    In general, I really like the way they adapt the 616 comics, and distill it with elements of various media, update the source, and have their own spin on things. It's just so... natural. It's like what BTAS did to the Batman lore. To wit:
    • Spidey is based largely on his 616 counterpart: Bitten by the spider at age 15, has moved out of Aunt May's house and into his own apartment, is friends with Harry and dated MJ, and takes after his current post-graduate status. However, the aspect of him, MJ and Harry being a trio take after the Raimi Trilogy and Ultimate Spider-Man series, in that they've known each other since middle school.
    • Peter and MJ have an on-again and off-again relationship much like their relationship during the Wolfman-Stern-Defalco era, the Ultimate comics, and the Raimi films. As always, May supports their relationship, and MJ's interest in journalism is also from Ultimate but taken to the logical step of being a reporter.
    • May is an activist helping out the poor, bringing to mind Noir of all things.
    • Spider-Man exists in a world with other superheroes, as mentioned. He's a part of a setting, and doesn't need to constantly meet the other heroes to rub it in.
    • Norman Osborn being mayor of NYC brings to mind him being the head of H.A.M.M.E.R. and the Thunderbolts during the '00s, where he became a prominent politician in the MU. It's also another case of distillation and alteration, as he hasn't yet become the Green Goblin but it's implied he will, his son Harry is the host of the Venom Symbiote (like in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series), and he's the one responsible for Miles Morales' spider-bite (again, bringing to mind Peter's origin to Oscorp in Ultimate).
    • Miles Morales exists in this game as part of the same universe as Peter, and the way Peter takes him under his wing makes sense. It ties the origins together in a way that isn't convoluted. On that note, it welds more elements of Ultimate Marvel by default.
    • Other villains combine different elements. Rhino manages to take after 616 (being big and bulky) and Ultimate (with cybernetic armor), Vulture uses a modernized suit like in Homecoming yet leans more heavily into his normal 616 portrayal etc.
    • Spidey's supporting cast also varies. There's the classic Mary Jane, May, Harry, and J.J, the Ultimate transplants of Miles, Jefferson and Rio, and there's also Yuri Watanabe who serves as an ally of Spider-Man. Her being more recent and obscure is left-field, but still makes perfect sense.
    • Overall, the setting is an amalgamation of different Spidey portrayals, and also a modernization. It's very much set in today's world without time-scaling, with Peter being a millennial from the start. He has his own webpage with 15 million likes, J.J. now runs a podcast because paper media has fallen, and the public reaction is more mixed-positive because they don't just blindly follow news sources like they used to in the internet age.


    Spider-Man PS4 took heavily from the best elements of Spider-Man in different forms, remixed them, and updated it, to give us the best portrayal they could give. That's why it far outshines the MCU portrayal, where everything goes back to Stark and far too little of his own lore got to make their presence in the MCU felt.
    Anyways, what do you guys think is the best alternate take on Spider-Man?

  2. #2
    Extraordinary Member Celgress's Avatar
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    OP Question -

    Ultimate Spider-Man (comics), IMO.
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  3. #3
    Mighty Member KangMiRae's Avatar
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    I really like the original trilogy films. Although I'd change just a tiny bit of MJ's character and story. Losing Gwen's original importance in the movies sucked, but hey, when do you ever see a perfect adaption?
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  4. #4
    Kinky Lil' Canine Snoop Dogg's Avatar
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    Electric Company.

  5. #5
    Mighty Member Electricmastro's Avatar
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    Gotta give a shout out to Earth-18119. After the bad taste of One More Day, this was like mouthwash that cleansed the bad taste out.

    Last edited by Electricmastro; 09-05-2019 at 03:30 PM.

  6. #6
    Mighty Member KangMiRae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Electricmastro View Post
    Gotta give a shout out to Earth-18119. After the bad taste of One More Day, this was like mouthwash that cleansed the bad taste out.

    I wonder if we'll ever see this universe again? I know MJ was in Venomverse, and Annie is being used in Spiderverse stories, but I liked reading about them as a family not individually. I feel like that may be what they're all relegated to now, individual cameos in the events

    Also, Logan and Jean together is cute! I wish they explored a possible family friends dynamic between the couples and their kids since Annie was with the X-school.
    Last edited by KangMiRae; 09-05-2019 at 03:49 PM.
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  7. #7
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    "Mythos" is a big word. It seems to be all-encompassing and big. I don't think adaptations, good ones, like Raimi's first 2 movies, Weisman's cartoon, or the PS4 game count because they adapt some elements, understandably owing to its focus and attention. Maybe PS4 will get there by the third game, who knows?

    In terms of adaptations that offer what I think is a comprehensive sense of Spider-Man, i.e. it captures multiple sides of Spider-Man's comics history and so on, the only two that come to mind...

    Into The Spider-Verse

    Spider-Man Life Story
    Last edited by Revolutionary_Jack; 09-05-2019 at 03:53 PM.

  8. #8
    BAMF!!!!! KurtW95's Avatar
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    Spectacular Spider-Man
    Good Marvel characters- Bring Them Back!!!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by KurtW95 View Post
    Spectacular Spider-Man
    Too easy of an answer.

    Otherwise I’d go with either Marvel Adventure Spider-Man.

    Marvel Age Spider-Man is just a modern retelling of the first few Ditko issues so it’d cheating to use them.

  10. #10
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Spectacular or the PS4 game.

    I'd give Spec the edge because Mary Jane wasn't a reporter .

  11. #11
    Tranquilo! DragonKent17's Avatar
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    Spectacular and PS4 no question needed
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  12. #12
    Incredible Member Jman27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    Spectacular or the PS4 game.

    I'd give Spec the edge because Mary Jane wasn't a reporter .
    i say the reverse since ps4 seems more like the finished product like im not even sure if they would have killed off gwen in that series I agree with MJ being a reporter was a huge turn down for me
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  13. #13
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jman27 View Post
    i say the reverse since ps4 seems more like the finished product like im not even sure if they would have killed off gwen in that series I agree with MJ being a reporter was a huge turn down for me
    It definitely had a more conclusive and happier ending then Spectacular did (even with Aunt May dying).

  14. #14
    Mighty Member Electricmastro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KangMiRae View Post
    I wonder if we'll ever see this universe again? I know MJ was in Venomverse, and Annie is being used in Spiderverse stories, but I liked reading about them as a family not individually. I feel like that may be what they're all relegated to now, individual cameos in the events

    Also, Logan and Jean together is cute! I wish they explored a possible family friends dynamic between the couples and their kids since Annie was with the X-school.
    Well Volume 2 finished up last year and Annie Parker was in Spider-Girls earlier this year, so I'm sure we'll see it again.

  15. #15

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    The Spectacular Spider-Man, no question. Great show.

    After that, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

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