Press Start on a Brand-New Universe with ‘Marvel’s Spider-Man: City at War’
Writer Dennis ‘Hopeless’ Hallum previews the brand-new comic series, coming March 20!
Spin into an all-new and unexpected web of drama, spectacle, and classic Spidey action in the Mighty Marvel Manner with MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN: CITY AT WAR!
After years of seeing Wilson Fisk escape criminal prosecution, the wise-cracking web-slinger finally has the opportunity to team with the PDNY to help them arrest his fearsome foe. But when the Kingpin of Crime is removed from the mean streets of the Big Apple, how will the mysterious Mister Negative’s ascent to power bring Peter Parker’s civilian world and Spider-Man’s superhuman worlds crashing together?
We recently caught up with Hallum to get a better picture of what to expect from the book.
Marvel.com: To start, give us the run down on this new six-issue series and what we can expect from issue #1…
Dennis 'Hopeless' Hallum: First and foremost, this is a classic Spider-Man story. Peter Parker is being yanked in five different directions all at once; trying to balance Spider-Man, his job at Octavius Industries, mounting debt, and his ever-complicated relationship with ex-girlfriend, Mary Jane. That's a lot of responsibility—even for Peter—and lately he seems to fail as often as he succeeds. Meanwhile, the new villain in town seems hell bent on descending New York into shadowy chaos.
MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN: CITY AT WAR is a unique project because it's equal parts exploration and introduction. We're adapting the massive PS4 game story into a six-issue comic book series, but that's just the jumping off point. We're also introducing readers to this new Spider-Man universe and exploring that in ways the game did not.
Our goal is a story that will be equally entertaining for gamers with 80 Marvel’s Spider-Man hours under their belts and for comic fans who have never held a controller.
Marvel.com: The Marvel’s Spider-Man game has been very well received, but what made it such a great candidate for a comic book story?
Hallum: The game is addictive, gorgeous, and just chock full of story... Playing it you really feel like you are Spider-Man. They [Insomnaic Games, PlayStation, and Marvel Games] did such a great job reimagining Spider-Man's world and the fascinating characters within. What we get to do is flesh all of those characters out. We climb inside Peter's head and look around. Tell MJ's side of the story. Walk a few dozen blocks in Miles's shoes. There's so much cool action and character in the game and we get to put a new spin on it.
Also, we're building the comic book version of this universe, which will allow us to tell all kinds of new stories going forward.
Marvel.com: What got you interested in the project? Are you a secret gamer?
Hallum: I love video games, but most of the time I sit back and watch my much-more-skilled gamer girlfriend play. Marvel’s Spider-Man is ridiculously addictive, though, even for me. I spent a big chunk of Christmas playing it with family while my kids screamed along with the action. It wasn't hard to see this game is something special. I jumped at the chance to be a part of it.
Marvel.com: What would you say to a potential reader who's never played the game?
Hallum: This series is all about establishing the world and exploring it. We're coming at the video game beats from all-new angles and have added a lot to make sure gamers have plenty to enjoy, but you don't need to have played the game to read the book. The whole story will be right there in the pages... Then if you want, you can go play the story as it is unfolds in the video game.
Marvel.com: As a seasoned comic writer, what was the biggest challenge in tackling a project like this? What was the best part?
Hallum: Right off the bat I knew the challenge was going to be creating a version of this story that would be a fun read for gamers, too; what can a comic book do that the video game can't?
The answer is all about the characters. The game gives you a taste of all these fantastic people and relationships in Peter's life. The comic lets us bring them all to life even further. We get to linger a lot longer in that personal space, leave the camera running or move it somewhere completely new.
Marvel.com: Any new twists and turns to look out for? Can you tease any?
Hallum: One of the fun things we're doing in the first few issues is shifting the POV away from Peter. Fans of the game know that during certain missions, players get to play as Mary Jane or Miles Morales. We've taken that idea and run with it for the book. Issue #2 focuses on Miles and shows us some big moments from his perspective. Issue #3 gives Mary Jane the spotlight. Peter is obviously still the protagonist and this is largely his story, but Miles and MJ are very important so we've given them a chance to shine.
Marvel.com: What about this book makes it great for those of us who don’t dabble in virtual web slinging?
Hallum: At its core, CITY AT WAR is a classic, self-contained Spider-Man story with absolutely gorgeous art from Michele Bandini. This is Kingpin throwing his weight around. This is Norman Osborn scheming. This is Peter Parker hoping to win back Mary Jane Watson. It's everything you love about Spider-Man... Just a cool new version.
Marvel.com: Speaking of Michele—what can readers expect from the art in this book?
Hallum: Michele's pages are absolutely stunning. He absolutely captures the breathtaking open world realism of the game but with incredible style and energy. I've been blown away by these pages. Fans are going to flip.
Every Spider-fan should check this book out. We're setting up a really exciting new world based on the blockbuster, mega-hit video game everyone already loves. There's an opportunity here for a lot of great stories. Come get in on the ground floor.
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