Spider-Man 2 Sets Up The Series’ Own Arkham Origins

I hate Batman: Arkham Origins. It was my introduction to the series and took me months to finish, constantly putting it down out of boredom and frustration. The more interesting and captivating Black Mask, an underrepresented villain in Batman adaptations, was pushed aside for yet another Joker, while the combat often felt sluggish and unsatisfying. Not to mention this younger version of Batman never stood out. I couldn’t tell you anything identifiable about him looking back. You wouldn’t know he was younger if the game didn’t tell you. So, when fans suggested Insomniac’s Spider-Man get his own Origins-style outing, I was vehemently against the idea.


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Then I played the first few hours of Spider-Man 2, and all I could think about was how much I wanted to see Insomniac tackle a younger Peter Parker.

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Harry Osborn’s return is a lot like Nathan Drake’s brother Sam in Uncharted 4. Peter doesn’t expect him to show up but is overjoyed to see him and eager to pick up where they left off. The two quickly reconcile while you flit between the past and present, peering into their childhood. It’s a captivating way to establish a new character in the backstory of a character you already know extremely well. I get why they were best friends now, as we see them sneak into school after dark together, pulling off an elaborate heist to acquire a USB stick after the school bully, Flash Thompson, smashed Harry’s laptop.

Spider-Man 2 in-game wrestling poster of Crusher Hogan vs The Spider, showing Spider-Man in a rougher, homemade outfit

Their bond is almost brotherly, and getting to witness it first-hand does far more to show that than words ever could. But most of all, that brief glimpse into the past promises an exciting chapter of Peter’s life that would make for an incredible Miles Morales-style spin-off.

We find out a few details from the flashbacks, but there’s even more information in Aunt May’s home. After the first mission, you get to see Peter moving into her place following her death at the end of the first game. There are old photos, showing him with his circular spectacles and unkempt Ultimate-style hair. In his room, there are even more tidbits, like a wrestling poster between Crusher Hogan and The Spider.

The poster reveals the fight was in 2010. Back then, he had his original prototype suit (the one we can unlock in the first Spider-Man game), and he hadn’t landed on the iconic name yet. The idea that an adult Spider-Man got his start in 2010 sickens me to the core, but it means that Harry was in Glee club (he even sings Never Gonna Give You Up at one point) and Peter missed his deadlines digitally. The horrors of the modern education system.

There are a lot of gaps, but I’m early days, so there could be more flashbacks to Peter’s childhood as the game progresses. However, just seeing a young Insomniac Peter Parker crawling through his high school’s vents and plummeting a wash bucket into a cardboard cutout of Flash ahead of homecoming has me excited at the prospect of digging deeper.

This isn’t just a facsimile of other adaptations to pad out his history, there’s rich and unique characterisations unlike anything we’ve seen. Visually, it’s strikingly similar to the Ultimate comics, and the homecoming setting even feels reminiscent of Tom Holland’s films, but Harry and Peter behaving like two mischievous brothers is fresh. Not to mention that this Peter isn’t an Avenger and stands alone. I would love to find out how that isolation, and how keeping his secret for so long, shaped him into the man we know.

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