Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover Review

So, a prequel to a video game sounds good, but they do have a tendency to feel a bit uneven.
Sometimes the switch in format in cases like this makes it feel like a shift in the voice of the author or narrator when it needs to feel like a continuous story.
I have played the game and I love it, it is truly great.
The delivery of the story feels like a pure injection of the Spider-Man we all know and love just with a slight twist.
But how does this book feel?
Does it set up the game well?

This is your ***Official Spoiler Warning***, gang.
Now let’s dive in.

Kingpin has come back to New York and is rehabbing his public image after fleeing to Europe post-trial and nearly getting thrown in prison, which Spider-Man helped bring about.
Fisk is back, creating jobs by building lower income housing all throughout the city.
Spider-Man doesn’t really believe the sudden change in attitude, but once an imposter Spider-Man shows up wrecking havoc and turning the public against the true (red &) blue Spidey, his plate starts getting fuller than he can handle.

I hadn’t heard of David Liss before this book, but having gone on this nearly 400 page journey with him at the wheel I kind of hope he gets the chance to write Spidey and his world again cause he fuckin’ nailed it!
The set up for the game is pretty damn good and his writing style is crisp and easy to read.
The humor and personality of Peter Parker/Spider-Man is as true to form as you can get.
He delivers information economically, giving you a sense of the history of this specific universe and it’s Spider-Man.

We see Spidey meet Yuri Watanabe, a cop that has as much of a hard-on for Fisk as Pete does, for the 1st time.
Pete & MJ say farewell to Harry Osborn, who heads to Europe to find himself.
Mayor Norman Osborn makes his impact felt, putting on a bit of a show in a coffee shop.
J. Jonah Jameson takes his first steps into audio broadcasting.
MJ gets her job at the Daily Bugle and starts chasing the tail of Fisk.
All of these threads continue into the novel, the only one that feels weird in both is MJ’s because it feels a little too close to Lois Lane.
And given that she looks A LOT like Smallville’s version, played by Erica Durance, it makes it all the more weird.
BUT, even I have to admit, that’s a bit nitpicky since it doesn’t come out of nowhere.
Liss clearly establishes that she had an interest for years, studied it in school, but never really pursued it until now.

One of the other things that slightly bugged me about this book were the rather vague time jumps.
A few weeks here, a couple months there, it somehow manages to make a 398 page novel feel a little thin.
Those fast and loose jumps make me wonder though if Liss has specific guidelines he had to follow.
As if they wanted the story to build over time to the game, but they didn’t want to flesh out the story of this particular world too much just so continuity didn’t fuck them in any sequels or follow up stories, such as the current Spider-geddon storyline.

The web he wove with the 3 main villains definitely feels like a perfect set-up for a sequel game or the upcoming DLC, the description of a certain Kingpin related character (that I won’t spoil) is just too visual and her thread, which is left dangling, is just too damn ripe with potential to not come back around at some point.

The bottomline is that this may not be the Spider-Man you know and love every single detail of, but that’s okay because, MJ/Lois aside, there are no changes so drastic that it feels inauthentic or like something other.
I finished this and I wanted to know as much as I possibly can about this version, so I’m going to go grab my controller and go swinging around.
The whole time I’m sure I’ll be hoping Liss gets to write about this verse again soon so I can soak up even more of this great new world.

Special Thanks to @acferrell1976 for her editorial help.

Share this post on Twitter with the hashtag #TNBBookReview

Advertisements

Episode 059: You’d Be a Pincushion In Prison

1 0ycyUQqtYvWDFrUJlaYUCwIn this episode, the fellas are getting a wee bit hot button this time as they touch on the whole GotG Vol.3 situation and lay the pipe for their own Disney firings 10 years down the line.

DITKO, DEAD!

…also leads to a discussion on credits and creators, Doom finally watched Luke Cage and tells ya what he thought of it while making a connection Fitz hadn’t, and Fitz won’t watch the Fantastic Beasts 2 trailer even though Doom wants him too.

Fitz saw Black Panther, then he tells Doom some Walking Dead news, they kinda sorta go all over the place, tease what’s coming next ep, then sign off

…and proceed to keep on fuckin’ yappin’… Enjoy!

URL: Episode 059: You’d Be a Pincushion In Prison
Direct Download: tnb059.mp3

Spider-Man: Goblin’s Revenge Review

Our story picks up the morning after Carnage In New York (read my review of that novel here) as Spidey heads to meet up with Reed Richards and deliver the serum from that novel, which is a fun idea…in theory…
As we know, sometimes creative changes can lead to an uneven feeling in the story and tone.

Does this feel like a good continuation?
Let’s find out!

As per usual, consider this your 22 year late ***SPOILER ALERT***!!!
And a quick thank you to @acferrell1976 for her editorial help with these reviews.

So, Spider-Man meets up with Mr. Fantasic and swings back home for some much needed rest.
As Spidey makes his way home, a new maniac on a Goblin Glider lobs a pumpkin bomb at the leader of the FF and snatches the serum away, setting up our conflict.
Quickly, Spider-Man’s world is turned upside down and we jump 2 weeks ahead in time.
As the webslinger tries to figure out who this new Goblin is and what his plans are, a mission to break Carnage out of a high security prison sets that monster free.

One of the best things about this novel is the focus.
It easily could have been a retread of the previous story, going for a personal story that cheapened the one from last time.
But instead, Dean Wesley Smith weaves in a surprising personal thread near the end (more on that in a bit) that is so different and works better because of it.
The main focus though is Pete stressing hardcore about the serum getting loose in the world, facing a lack of sleep due to a reoccurring nightmare that gives him flashbacks to one of his most traumatic failures.

The action is handled in the way you would expect from an author of DWS’s stature.
The guilt and stress the webhead feels about the serum getting out, though described through 3rd person narration, comes across as well as if you were reading Parker’s diary.
Dean Wesley Smith is a writer I know of, but don’t know his work well.
Having said that, I have really liked the few books of his I’ve read (2 Spider-Man novels and a Smallville novel for sure, I’m pretty sure there are a couple more).
The scene of Carnage at the airport, murdering hostages in a ploy to get Spider-Man to face him is gruesome.
As is the scene of the Glider rider chucking a dose of the serum into a group of mercs that have been pursuing our Sensational hero, they destroy one another quickly and bloodily.

MJ, seeing the weight of pressure and responsibility that Pete is putting on himself, tries to boost her husband’s mood by bringing together their old circle of friends, Flash and Liz…which unwittingly helps this new Goblin get something over on Spidey and brings MJ closer than she probably ever wanted to be to the climactic action.
The Goblin and Carnage bickering helps Pete take down the symbiotic monster and leads to a Goblin chase and reveal.

Given the described inexperience of this Goblin, if you know the Spidey Rogues Gallery it’s pretty easy to figure out who he is.
So there is some level of predictably, but that doesn’t make it any less fun.
And in all honesty, that’s probably the key to all good Spider-Man stories, fun.
I know this story sounds depressing as all hell, but trust me it does have enough fun to meet that criteria.

The 1 thing that stuck out as odd to me would be at the beginning, Reed apologies to Pete for the FF not being around to help with Carnage last time and says he hopes to be there next time.
When Carnage pops up again, the FF is dealing with another crisis somewhere and are unable to help Spidey.
It 100% makes sense that the Fantastic Four would constantly be rushing off to deal with other problems, but it felt really fuckin’ weird to draw attention to that only to let it happen again.
It’s a minor nitpick, but I feel it’s valid to wonder about.

That aside, it does feel like a good continuation of the last book.
It’s shorter, but that makes for a tighter story with more focus on our hero and his problem.
I desperately hope I can find more of these books, because thus far they are all so true to character and an utter joy to devour.
Find them if you can, gang!

Episode 052.5: To Infinity And Beyond!

ironspiderIn this episode, asshole and fuck face ride again as they take the show on the road to see that there new Avengering movie what the kids are all a yammerin’ about and such.

Listen to these fools bicker like old ladies fighting over bingo numbers as they head to the theater, one accuses the other of acting like a spouse, while navigational and tech troubles abound in an apocalyptic rain storm.

Then hear their raw and uncensored thoughts on Infinity War and loud ass dude bros THAT ABOUT GOT CUT FOR ACTIN’ A FOOL…

…also, a semi hot chick and boners be poppin’ in this episode stacked with…fun?

Enjoy!

URL: Episode 052.5: To Infinity And Beyond!
Direct Download: tnb052_5.mp3

Spider-Man: Carnage In New York Review

After stopping what he thought was a scientist being mugged down an alley, Spider-Man is forced to stop one of his most deadly foes from destroying his city and unleashing a new danger on the world.

Before I get too far, consider this your ***Official Spoiler Warning***

1st and foremost, look at that damn cover, man.
That’s a thing of beauty!

But getting into it, I gotta say, on paper this novel has all of the ingredients of a perfect Spider-Man story.
You have your villain storyline, you have your personal dilemma story, and you have a storyline of Jonah being a bombastic skin flint and looking for publicity and attention.
What could go wrong?
Well, to be honest, not much.

Early on I had an issue with how much they beat the drum about Cletus Kasady/Carnage being such a crazy and dangerous killer.
Over and over to the point that I literally said out loud “for fuck sake, I get it! He’s an evil asshole!”, and that sort of continues through the rest of book.
It’s annoying for sure, but I guess it’s there to remind you why he keeps doing the purely evil and chaotic crap he does.

Moving onto the good stuff, Pete mistaking 2 Federal Agents trying to stop a Scientist who broke out of a research lab with a fluid that causes homicidal rage in people with just a drop for muggers is perfectly Spider-Man.
That Scientist, while trying to destroy that same liquid, breaks into an abandoned school where the government is trying to separate Kasady from the Carnage symbiote and unwittingly helps Carnage escape from custody and is tortured until he gives up the serum and the secret behind it.
Which gives Pete/Spidey his mission, and the main reason why he isn’t able to help Aunt May keep her house, our personal story thread.

The blend of storylines is damn good here, woven so well.
JJJ is holding an event in Central Park for the homeless that is little more than a publicity stunt for the rich folks of NYC to get some good press.
And Spider-Man and Carnage’s final battle takes place there, after Carnage murders a pre-event party.

The battle scenes are wonderfully written and easy to visualize.
I always wonder when reading a novel with two authors who wrote what, but in this case I really don’t care because it was all just fun.
Some of the 20 illustrations are a bit wonky, but I think that may be the fault of the inker and not the artist because it’s mostly to do with awkward shading.

The final little bit I want to mention is the ending.
Without spoiling it, it is pretty damn uplifting and heartwarming.
While Spidey is fighting Carnage, getting his ass kicked for the most part, MJ ends up helping out in a big bad way.
Pete, having defeated Carnage, but still beaten and dejected, gets home to a surprise and she tells him that on some level she understands what he does when he’s suited up.
It’s a great way to end after the craziness of everything else.

This is among the 1st of these Marvel novels from the 90’s that I’ve actually read, and now I’m excited to read the other 11 I have and track down and read all of the rest.
I highly recommend you all check this out.
Hopefully I’ll be getting to the sequel, Spider-Man: Goblin’s Revenge, sooner rather than later.

Episode 034: The Over Eager Creeper

DIG012514_1._SX312_QL80_TTD_In this episode, the fellas get ‘atingly and go all up into some Spider-Man talk!

Doom nearly crashes and burns with a Joke Corner story but drunkenly saves it at the last minute from total ruin, then Fitz killed an old lady by proxy of her legendary husband, before the talk PPTSS-M and Bluish Gold X-Men.

Oh yeah, Doom’s computer was acting all derpy again and they lost a good chunk of the show, but when it comes back they’re in the middle of some Kraven’s Last Hunt talk.

Doom blew that Ryan Reynolds movie Buried in the process.

Anyway, I’m rambling, enjoy the show!

Spoilers! Spoilers suck!

URL: Episode 034: The Over Eager Creeper!
Direct Download: tnb034.mp3
YouTube: https://youtu.be/hr3gbgVuUwg

Episode 033.5: My Grandma Wore Pants Like That

marisatomeiIn this episode, the fellas swing down the road to a theater for a screening of the Spidery-Man movie!

Arriving early to the theater, they head to a comic shop then kill time by talking about Civil War again, Holidaze again…but before you hear it for the 1st time, and then a comic signing they definitely are not going too maybe…probably…possibly…

Then they give you their spoiler filled reactions and discuss 70’s slacks, granny asses, and just how Amazingly, Spectacularly, Sensationally, and flat out Friendly Neighborhoodly great Spider-Man: Homecoming truly is.

URL: Episode 033.5: My Grandma Wore Pants Like That
Direct Download: tnb033_5.mp3
YouTube: https://youtu.be/KljlpSXYkOU