Marvel’s Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover is the perfect companion to the PS4 game


David Liss’ Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover acts as a prequel to the PS4 video game, and it’ll get you amped to discover more about this Spider-verse.

The amazing Spider-Man is a great Marvel Comics staple. But he isn’t just limited to the comics. We’ve seen him countless times in movies and videos games, and even novels. So what happens when you make a Marvel novel meant to act as a sequel to a video game? You get something purely enjoyable for anybody who enjoys a good amount of backstory.

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Hostile Takeoversent to us by Titan Books, builds the world of this new Spider-verse that gives us more insight into Spidey’s life before the PS4 game takes place. The game’s been building itself up for a few years now. And with the trailers from 2016 and onward, you begin to pick up the pieces of what’s going on: Peter’s been Spider-Man for a few years now, something’s up with Wilson Fisk (the Kingpin), and at some point, all the supervillains in the maximum security prison break out.

The life of Spidey

Before all that happens, the novel winds the clock back to set up Spider-Man for the present situation. In many ways, author David Liss’ goal seems to be to humanize Spider-Man and show that he’s not just superhuman in a suit; he’s got his own personal life, too. As things culminate to a climax, you see that Peter Parker’s life is absolutely chaotic, all thanks to his Spider-Man alter ego. Throughout the story, you really begin to feel for Peter and wonder if the glory of being a superhero is even worth it in the first place.


Most importantly, though, is Liss’ ability to capture Spider-Man to a tee. Even though he’s long out of high school, Peter still has his childish sense of humor, always making quips and cracks at every turn. The novel’s narration as a whole also seems to take on that special Spider-Man voice, even if the current section is from another character’s POV. For this reader, the whole Spider-Man narrative voice act got a little tiring, but you get used to it after a while.

Fitting into Marvel’s fabric

The overall feel of this story was like a breather from the huge, flashy MCU movies. In one chapter, Norman Osborn meets Kingpin, and they have the sort of conversation that you’d see more in something like The Goodfellas rather than Infinity War. The lowkey villainry is something much more akin to the Marvel shows like Luke Cage or Jessica Jones. (Granted, Kingpin actually is  a character in Daredevil).

There’s also a good bit of fan service for Marvel fans who like more than just Spider-Man, too. We get several references to prominent Marvel figures that have also appeared in the MCU. Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum, Avengers Tower, and the Wakanda Embassy are all referenced, but they’re just that: quick references.

After the prequel

In relation to the video game, the buildup certainly makes you anxious to learn what will happen to Peter next. There are a couple of tiny Checkov’s guns spread throughout the book that don’t necessarily fire in the third act… or rather, they don’t fire at all (e.g., the Sanctum Sanctorum reference). This builds all the more curiosity about how this will be answered in the book. It’d be disappointing if these nods don’t pay off in the game, but they seem too strategically out there not to be mentioned again.

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If you’re looking to get ahead of the game by reading this novel before you play, it will definitely help set the stage for what’s to come — and it doesn’t waste time with the same old backstories we’ve seen time and time again. If you read the novel after you complete the game, it’ll still be fun to have those little “Ohh” moments when you learn why some things happen during gameplay.

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover is currently out now, and Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4 is out Sept. 7.