‘Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover’ (Book)

‘SPIDER-MAN: HOSTILE TAKEOVER’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

The PS4 Spider-Man with Blood Spider and the Kingpin

This ‘Spider-Man’ book was very easy to read!

So, I’ve heard a lot of people talk about the ‘Spider-Man’ PS4 video game that was released in 2018. People seem to rate it very highly. Good things are said about the game. I’m glad to hear it! I of course have not played the ‘Spider-Man’ PS4 video game since I do not have the PS4 console to play it on. 😦

Yeah, sorry. If I want to play something like that, I need to have the actual PS4 console in order to play it. I can’t play it on my home computer since the game is exclusive to PS4 only. Which is a shame since I would’ve preferred the game to be available on a variety of platforms including a PC version perhaps.

Plus, the purchase of the ‘Spider-Man’ PS4 game and a PS4 console is rather expensive. Last I checked on Amazon, the game and the PS4 costs a stonking £258.94. Yikes! So yeah, that kind of purchase is way out of my budget for me. I also do not play video games so often like other people would tend to.

I used to play video games when it was usually at my best mate Stephen’s house including the ‘Crash Bandicoot’ games and I did one time own ‘Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force’ on my home computer. But I just don’t play video games very often nowadays and it would eat up a lot of my time should I do so.

And I feel that would be the same for the ‘Spider-Man’ PS4 game. If I did own the PS4 console and the game itself, I would find it addictive and time-consuming in my ordinary life. I also shouldn’t purchase the PS4 console just for the sake of owning the ‘Spider-Man’ game. I need it as a worthwhile purchase.

Again, a shame since I would like to play the ‘Spider-Man’ PS4 game if I had time and money for it. Especially since what I’ve heard from people talking about it, it seems like a genuinely good ‘Spider-Man’ game. Almost to the point that it could be a very worthwhile ‘Spider-Man’ film instead of a game.

I saw trailers for the ‘Spider-Man’ PS4 game at the cinema and it looked pretty amazing! Also, the promise of good story and character in the ‘Spider-Man’ PS4 game seemed to appeal to me. It’s almost like the ‘Spider-Man’ PS4 game could be a continuation of the original ‘Spider-Man’ movie trilogy here.

I wish that the ‘Spider-Man’ PS4 game was a movie instead since I can enjoy the gripping story and character that feels to me like proper ‘Spider-Man’. It’d be better than what I’ve seen lately in the ‘Spider-Man’ films of the ‘MCU’ film series and the ‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’ animated film.

But is there a way I can review the ‘Spider-Man’ PS4 game without having to play it? Well, yes there is…in a way. How fortunate that there are gameplays recorded on YouTube about the ‘Spider-Man’ PS4 game, which go into actual in-depth walkthroughs of the game including cutscenes and gameplay.

Yeah I know it’s cheating on my part, but at least I’d be able to review the story and characters of the game as well as what the gameplay looks like in terms of graphics and such. I can also treat the ‘Spider-Man’ PS4 game as an actual movie which is something I would like to do when watching it on YouTube.

But before I could see the ‘Spider-Man’ PS4 game on YouTube, I decided to read the prequel novel to tie into the game first. That is of course the book ‘Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover’ by David Liss. I read the book from Christmas Eve 2019 right up to the end of January 2020. It was a superb reading experience!

The book is divided into 37 chapters with an epilogue at the end. I’ve not come across David Liss as an author before. He’s written other books including ‘The Whiskey Rebels’ and ‘Renegades’ as well as the comic book ‘Black Panther: The Man Without Fear’. I found his writing really impressive with this book!

David Liss is really into the story of Spider-Man when writing this prequel novel to the PS4 game. He delivers the character-driven aspects of Spider-Man very well, especially when he has Peter Parker interacting with people like MJ, Harry Osborn, Yuri Watanabe, Anika, Peyton and such. It’s really good.

The action-driven scenes are also reasonably well-written in this book. It can be argued that the fights Spider-Man has against villains take a while to be set-up. But Spider-Man isn’t always about action and fight scenes as it is character-driven from Peter Parker’s perspective especially in mystery-solving.

The action sequences are there in the book, especially when Spidey tackles his enemy the Blood Spider; when he fights the misguided Echo who first works for the Kingpin in the story and when he exposes Blood Spider and Fisk at the end of the story. The character and drama is pretty well-balanced.

The story of ‘Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover’ is about Peter Parker/Spider-Man dealing with his conflict against Wilson Fisk/the Kingpin who returns to New York after being in prison for some time. Wilson Fisk promises to bring ‘good’ to New York with a new business approach that hides his criminal activity.

Spidey also tackles a new villain called Blood Spider – an unstable man who believes himself to be the real Spider-Man but is actually killing people. Blood Spider works for Kingpin whilst given superhuman powers by OsCorp. Can Spidey stop the Kingpin and Blood Spider bloodthirsty activities in New York?

As I said at the beginning, it was very easy to get into this book. There were no boring bits and because of my love for Spider-Man, I was able to get into the characters. If this wasn’t a tie-in book to the PS4 book, I would recommend it to any Spider-Man fan. The book stands up really well as its own story. 🙂

Peter Parker/Spider-Man is a very well-written character in the book. He’s been doing this Spider-Man role for eight years now. He’s become a scientist and is more experienced in his superhero role. But that doesn’t mean he can’t avoid the problems in his life as he balances a normal routine with Spider-Man.

He has troubles dealing with his science lab job; doesn’t get on well with one of his bosses Peyton; struggles in his relationship with MJ, who is his girlfriend by this point in this ‘Spidey’ universe and he’s under pressure when people are against him with Blood Spider around. Well-written character drama!

I prefer this kind of storytelling in ‘Spider-Man’ compared to the ‘MCU’ movies and the ‘Into The Spider-Verse’ film. Yes, I know people rate those films highly, but they don’t have that kind of emotional impact in exploring Peter’s character. This ‘Spider-Man’ book and the PS4 game (I believe) do.

It matches to what I enjoyed in the ‘Spider-Man’ movie trilogy by director Sam Raimi with Tobey Maguire. Whilst there were action sequences in those films, there was also time to explore Peter’s struggles in balancing his superhero activities with his normal life including MJ, Harry Osborn and Aunt May.

MJ, in the ‘Spider-Man’ PS4 game universe, is a much better character here. I hate to say this, but I can see why people criticised Kirsten Dunst’s MJ in the original ‘Spider-Man’ movies. She didn’t help out much as Peter/Spidey’s ally due to being a ‘popular girl’ wanting to be an actress in New York City.

Here, in the ‘Spider-Man’ PS4 universe, MJ is now a reporter for the Daily Bugle. So, she’s now Lois Jane as opposed to Mary Jane. Hey, hey, the Honest Game Trailer for the ‘Spider-Man’ PS4 game said it, not me! But honestly, I think it works better having MJ be a reporter rather than an actress in this universe.

MJ comes across as being resourceful and independent instead of being a damsel in distress as she often was in comics, TV and movies. She acts as a useful ally in Spider-Man’s world when working out who’s behind criminal activities and getting closer to the Kingpin to find out more information on him.

There’s also a sense of a closer relationship between MJ and Peter compared to other versions. MJ knows how Peter behaves and works as a person both as himself and Spider-Man. Even after they break up in the book, MJ seems willing to want to help Peter out when trying to expose Fisk as the evil villain.

Yeah, about that with MJ and Peter breaking up. That was in the PS4 game and it’s explored why that happened in the book. Peter became overprotective towards MJ when working together to expose Kingpin. It’s sad to read that in the book, but at least it’s understandable why these two broke up here.

I like how the relationship between Peter and MJ is written in a believable manner. It’s not played down to Peter and MJ constantly bickering with each other. There is tension between them, but it’s not like they’re falling out to losing interest with each other since they still love each other in the story.

I like how Fisk is written as a villain in the story. He’s not simply a big fat man who is a crime boss in New York. He’s a calculating villain who can be pretty powerful despite his obese appearance. He can be calm around many people, but when he gets angry, he really lets his anger rip with those huge fists.

I also like how his relationship with Maya Lopez as Echo gets handled in the story. Fisk convinced Maya that Spider-Man killed his father and he trained her to have matching abilities to her would-be enemy. Fisk also finds way to bring Spider-Man down, especially when he employs Blood Spider in his services.

Fisk also has a rivalry with Norman Osborn who’s now mayor in this universe. Yeah, Norman Osborn as a New York’s mayor was quite interesting in the book. He’s still business-like and often ruthless. His underdog activities whilst still being mayor could lead to what he’d soon become as the Green Goblin.

In the story, Fisk tries to blackmail Osborn to make him become the city’s financier. It becomes Fisk’s downfall, especially when Osborn’s the one who infiltrated Blood Spider as his spy in Fisk’s business company. Osborn manages to get away with it by the story’s end whilst Fisk’s activities are questioned.

Maya Lopez as a character was interesting to read in the story. She’s a deaf character who can only lip-read people to understand what they’re saying and has a similar fighting style to Spider-Man when masked. I haven’t come across Echo as a character in ‘Spider-Man’ before. This was the first time here.

The journey Maya goes through from being convinced by Fisk that Spider-Man killed her father and getting angry about it before she discovers the truth that Fisk killed her father instead was fascinating to read. Maya very soon ends up as an useful ally for Spidey to stop Kingpin after being an enemy first.

Michael Bingham/Blood Spider’s motives as a villain were intriguing to read in the book. He had a bad upbringing; Spider-Man was involved with something concerning someone’s death; and Bingham went insane to get Spider-Man powers before convincing himself he was the real Spider-Man instead.

Bingham wants blood on his hands as Spider-Man whereas the real Spider-Man wants to save the city and bring peace to others. Bingham’s actions are shocking, especially when he kills people. The fight-out between Spidey and Blood Spider at the end was gripping, especially when they talk to each other.

It was nice Spidey had an ally in police officer Yuri Watanabe. Both share in their determination to expose Fisk as a criminal. Spidey and Yuri have secret meetings to give each other updates on what’s going on regarding Fisk. Even when they had to spilt separate ways from each other, they’re still allies.

The book also features characters like Aunt May, though only briefly, as well as Harry Osborn; Robbie Robertson, who’s now editor of the Daily Bugle; Betty Brant; J. Jonah Jameson is in this story; Theodore Peyton and Anika Adhikari, a lab student who becomes infatuated with Peter but she’s sadly killed off.

There are other Spider-Man villains that appear in this book including the Scorpion; Electro and two Shockers, including the real one and a fake one. The fake Shocker helps Blood Spider in blowing up a restaurant, killing many people. Anika was killed in that explosion, causing Spider-Man to get angry. 😦

The book closes with an epilogue that actually leads into the PS4 game. It’s actually a recreation of the opening scene from the PS4 game with Spider-Man swinging out to get at Fisk. It leaves the book on an anti-climax, especially with Peter and MJ’s relationship to get you into the game…which is the point.

‘Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover’ is awesome! I loved every minute reading this book. I haven’t enjoyed a ‘Spider-Man’ book like this since reading the Peter David movie novelizations of the original ‘Spider-Man’ trilogy by Sam Raimi. It’s definitely a ‘Spider-Man’ book I can recommend to any ‘Spidey’ fan! 😀

It does tie into the PS4 game with it being a prequel novel, but that shouldn’t bother you as it’s an easy book to get into if you’re into ‘Spider-Man’ overall. I was able to enjoy the story and the characters non-stop from beginning to end and I’m sure it’s that same feeling for the PS4 video game.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to check out the ‘Spider-Man’ PS4 game on YouTube. 😀

‘Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover’ rating – 10/10


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2 thoughts on “‘Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover’ (Book)

  1. Blimey 10/10 that high praise indeed Tim.

    Great review on this prequel novel, Spider-Man the game features one of the best interpretations of the characters & there arcs, this is one of my favourite stories the characters are wonderfully written & also Tim you’ll need to check out the games three part Dlc as it changes the fate for one particular character.

    If you could hire a Ps4 Tim please play this game, i know for a fact you’d love it, one of the best games i played in years so much so i completed every trophy & it’s Dlc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Simon.

      Yeah I know. The book was such an engaging page-turner I just had to give it a 10/10.

      Okay, thanks for letting me know about the three-part DLC. ‘The City That Never Sleeps’, isn’t it? I’ll see if I can check it out on YouTube once I’ve watched the ‘Spider-Man’ PS4 game.

      If only I could hire a PS4. I would like to play the game. From what I’ve seen so far, it looks pretty good. I’m currently enjoying how it looks on YouTube and hope to review it soon on my blog for the story and characters.

      Thanks for your comments, Simon.

      Tim. 🙂

      Like

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