Any good superhero creation eventually accrues a certain amount of interpretative flexibility around its core mythos. Different puzzle pieces from an origin, a modus operandi or a supporting cast can be removed, replaced or shuffled around to create new stories or whole new offshoots. One great example is Mark Millar’s “Red Son,” a story where the rocket carrying a baby Kal-El lands in Stalin-era Russia and Superman becomes the Comrade of Steel. It’s got familiar elements seen through a fractured lens and entertains in a new way.
Spider-Man’s got his share of variants, too, and last year’s “Spider-man: Shattered Dimensions” video game combined Spider-Man Noir, Ultimate Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099 (along with the mainline Amazing Spider-Man) into one big reality-hopping adventure that got well-reviewed by critics and gamers alike. Activision’s just announced a sequel of sorts in the form of “Spider-Man: End of Time.” It’ll focus on just two Spider-Men–Amazing and 2099–in a game that travels up and down the timestream. The main feature of the game is a mechanic where things you do in one time period affect the other one. This kind of linear causality could be a great hook but, as most nerds know, time travel’s the cause of many a headache for heroes, villains and fans alike.
But, the talents of Peter David–co-creator of Miguel O’Hara, the Spider-Man of 2099–should help out in that regard. David’s a revered and respected comics writer and novelist, with beloved runs on Hulk, Aquaman and various X-Men titles to his credit. David’s great at trocky plotlines and one of the best writers of characterization and ensemble casts in comics, so the dialogue should pop. Developer Beenox is returning after their successful take on “Shattered Dimensions” and, hopefully, players will get to see how the Montreal studio’s sharpened their skills in the new Spidey outing. Expect to play “Spider-Man: Edge of Time” this fall.