Comic Vine Review


Superior Spider-Man #1 - Hero or Menace?


Get ready for a different sort of Spider-Man. It's still Spider-Man but there's a little more going on. Reading this issue may change your thoughts if you've been concerned about all the recent developments.

The Good

It should be obvious that the big change of Otto Octavius now inhabiting Spider-Man's body wasn't done on a whim. Because of the importance of the character to both fans and Marvel Comics, there's no way this big change was done without being thought out. In this issue as well, you can see certain aspects being dealt with that should appease those that have mixed feelings about the change.

I, myself, am a huge Spider-Man fan. I can understand the outrage and frustration over someone like Doc Ock having 'defeated' Spider-Man in this fashion. But because it's a comic book, we know the hero will win out in the end. What we have is an idea here that allows for a different kind of storytelling. After fifty years of essentially the same type of Spider-Man stories, we're now seeing the character a little differently. This isn't just Doc Ock pretending to be Spider-Man. For all intents and purposes, he is Spider-Man. He has all of his memories along with the influence and desire to be a hero. Those memories will also serve as a reminder to him and readers how much of a hero Spider-Man. But at the same time, that reminder is what makes it difficult for long time reader to accept this (temporary) change.

That's where this story turns out to be a little different than the typical villain-turned-hero bit we've seen several times. Otto Octavius isn't necessarily an evil person. He didn't start out in life aiming to become a supervillain. Circumstances lead to that happening. His move to switch bodies with Spider-Man was out of necessity for survival rather than the need to actually become Spider-Man. Now that he's there, he's finding he can't help but want to do some heroic deeds, but on his own terms. This is where he can prove himself to be a better more intelligent person. Something he's wanted his whole life but was never given the opportunity. Ridicule and stereotypes held him back. Now with an intellect greater than Peter Parker's, we are seeing how that could be applied to making Spider-Man a more efficient and effective superhero…at least as Otto envisions it.

Of course because Dan Slott has been planning this for a while, it's not just a simple story of Otto now trying to be Spider-Man. Aside from the struggle of his old ways and the desire to be better, there is another huge development besides Otto adjusting to being in Peter Parker's life. We thought Slott revealed all the secrets behind his trick, it turns out that isn't quite the case.

Ryan Stegman's art ferociously tackles the story. The action between Spider-Man and the Sinister Six is a glorious scene that gives a great introduction to this different Spider-Man. He's not going to be operating in necessarily the same fashion as before. The detail Stegman puts in makes you feel the action as it explodes across the page. Of course it's not just action he needs to deal with. His depiction of Peter Parker with Octavius inside lets you feel the arrogance and short temper that will clearly allow readers to distinguish that this is a slightly different kind of Spider-Man comic. His interaction with co-workers and Mary Jane makes Slott's script come to life.

The ending actually had an emotional impact on me that I wasn't expecting.

The Bad

It's unfortunate that some will immediately dismiss the potential for storytelling here without really giving it a chance. As with most single issues, it's sometimes hard to judge an overall story based on just the first act. You can seen that there is something going on here, something more than the subject of many complaints since AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700. Hopefully readers will keep an open mind and remember this is a comic book and we've seen crazier stories in the past.

The Verdict

I've said it before, I'm not crazy about the development of this new Spider-Man but Dan Slott and Ryan Stegman are enough to make it work. The change that has occurred is just a small part in this current story. We are going to see a different sort of Spider-Man story with a struggle between good and evil that should reinforce how much of a hero Spider-Man truly is. Readers need to have an open mind to find out how this crazy idea could turn into one of the most interesting Spider-Man stories we've seen in years. Just because Otto is in charge doesn't mean the story is over. This change will allow us to explore what exactly made Spider-Man the hero he was along with Otto trying to make himself, and Spider-Man, a better (or superior) hero. Stegman's art is a spectacular sight and Edgar Delgado's colors enhances the entire package to make this a great read that is also a visual treat for your eyes. Whether you like the idea of change or not, you'll want to see for yourself what Dan Slott has up his sleeve this month. This is a great start to a new chapter of Spider-Man and you're not going to want to miss a second of it.