necroziel's Superior Spider-Man #17 - Let's Do the Time Warp Again review

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Spidey saves the day from Spidey?


The Synopsis

Spider-Man 2099’s very existence is in trouble thanks to funky time shenanigans! But thanks to the whiz kids at Alchemax Spidey 2099 is hurtled into the distant past of 2013. Meanwhile Spock plays softball with the Horizon Lab staff when an ominous helicopter appears. As it turns out the US government isn’t best pleased with Max Modell and his lab for all the times they’ve put people at risk. (They don’t mention how these people also saved the world from Doctor Octopus, but whatever.)

As it turns out, Tiberius Stone has blown the whistle on the potential risks at Horizon. This allows Liz Allen to buy the lab. Even worse she’s hired Tiberius on as the site supervisor. Everyone gets a bit indignant over this, not surprising, considering that they know he was the one sabotaging most of their work. To make matters work, Stone claims that all the work they’ve done for the lab is now owned by Allan Chemicals including Spideys’ web fluid!

Well Ock takes this about as well as you’d expect and goes after Stone. Whereas the rest of the Horizon Staff try to use a time door (It’s comics, just go with it) to get evidence proving that Stone interfered with their work. As they turn on the door though Spidey 2099 appears and, literally, swings into action.

The comic ends with Spock about to cave Tiberius’s smug face in, when Spidey 2099 stops him. No doubt setting up next issues brief scuffle before both Spider-man’s agree to team up to stop this time travel nonsense.

The Good

I’m going to start by saying that I really like the concept of this story. The idea of Spock meeting another Spider-Man is really cool, especially Spidey 2099. I think it’s got a lot of potential, especially if Slott uses this as way to further develop Otto as Spidey. This whole body swap plot was, in some ways, about Otto leaving behind a legacy and now Otto can potentially meet someone who can tell him what legacy he leaves behind as the new Spider-Man. Will anything Miguel tells him affect him? Will Miguel even know anything? How would Ock react to discovering that even his efforts as Spider-Man may be forgotten?

I said in my last review how I liked the Tiberius Stone character, and how I was looking forward to seeing what his plans would be. Well I didn’t have to wait long did I. Stones plan is actually quite ingenious when you think about it. There’s no way in the real world a public company, which had as many incidents as Horizon has had, wouldn’t be under some public scrutiny. All it would take is Stone to tell the US government some of the lesser known incident to get the dominoes falling. I’m always a fan of when writers apply real world logic to the fantastical world of comics like this. Also I love how smug Stone is; he’s just a great character that you love to hate.

I mentioned last week how I didn’t think that Humberto Ramos’s art style suited slower paced stories and he was much better in books with a lot of action. Ryan Stegman is a different animal as a pencilled, his drawings are just fantastic and I really think that he’s going to be considered a classic Spidey artist in the future. The way he draws Spidey 2099 in motion is incredible and combining this with Ramos’s superb colouring, I just love it. Also the man draws the scariest Green Goblin I’ve seen since Willem Defoe.

Dan Slott’s a divisive writer, personally I love him and I think this issue really showcases his strengths, and weaknesses (more on that later), as a writer. I love Slott’s writing because he’s such an intricate planner! So much of the minor stuff introduced in Big Time that you thought we were done with comes back in this issue, and in a big way. It’s a real credit to the man that he can keep track of everything he introduces and then use it again in an organic way in the story.

P.S Normie Osborn is a terrifying child.

The Bad

Not really a bad point, more a point of irritation for me at least is that we didn’t get more interaction between the two Spideys. I know it’s a set up issue but I’m really looking forward to seeing the two characters bounce off one another.

I praised Slott earlier for his ability to sow seeds throughout his story which all pay off later. I think that’s a great ability to have when telling stories. It makes his stories feel like they’re naturally progressing. However it’s very closely linked to Slotts biggest weakness, he peppers references to past stories and adventures throughout the story he’s telling and it creates really unnatural dialogue. This “continuity porn” can be really distracting and takes me out of the story somewhat. It’s a shame because his story telling is really good but he lets himself down by squeezing in references where they don’t need to be. I also find that sometimes he can be overly reliant on dialogue as opposed to letting Ryan Stegman take on some of the work in his art, he just has characters talk us through what they’re doing.

The plodding tortoise that is the Green Goblin subplot surprises even me, as it fails to even take a single step forward this issue. Seriously think about it. Last issue we found out that Phil Urich was a new goblin, who was going to kill Spider-Man and that the Green Goblin had a plan of some sorts. This issue we find out that Phil Urich wants to kill Spider-man and the Green Goblin has a plan. If your copy of this issue was missing these pages you’d still be perfectly caught upon the Goblin B-plot! It’s annoying that we get pages of this, when we could have had more Spock and Spidey 2099.

Maybe I’m missing something, but the Horizon staff were planning on going bacjkin time to get evidence that Tiberius was behind the bad things that went down at Horizon labs. But didn’t Max Modell and Peter Parker both see Tiberius working with The Kingpin to kill Spidey? Surely that would be evidence enough? Now I could be wrong and I don’t have my issues to hand but I’m pretty sure he was there in Shadowland during the spider-sense jammer stuff. I mean, Max had him fired after that, and stone didn’t claim unfair dismissal so Modell must have had some evidence? Maybe I’m over thinking it, but tome it seems silly that anyone would trust Tiberius Stone.

My biggest issue by far though this issue was the ending. The part where Spock threatens Stone. What was he going to do? Beat him up? Kill him? In front of all those witnesses? Even for Ock this seems rash and, frankly from a supposed genius, stupid. It’s like he’s not even trying to be Peter anymore. Now maybe this is the point? We’ve seen Spock getting more super villainy as time went on, so perhaps I’m jumping the gun and this’ll be a brilliant bit of foreshadowing later that Ock’s gone off the deep end … again. But as of now it just makes Ock look out of character. I can imagine him assaulting Stone at home or down a dark alley. However blatant assault in broad daylight in front of all those witnesses? I don’t think so, especially as it would do nothing to resolve his current problems.

The Verdict

I still love this book, and I’m excited about the idea of Spidey 2099 and Spock teaming up. However this issue’s very clearly a set up issue for the 2099 arc, and it really didn’t do much other than that. If the book had just been setting up the next arc, which I believe it did effectively, I probably would have given it 4 stars . But the notion that Spock was going to assault Stone then and there in front of witnesses bumps this issue down a star for me.

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