11 Jan 2013


Writer: Dan Slott
Art: Ryan Stegman & Edgar Delgado
Marvel $3.99

Stewart R: There has of course been plenty of brou-ha-ha and unsettled buzz over the way that Dan Slott elected to end Amazing Spider-Man with the milestone #700. Further mumblings came from the news that we would get the instant launch of a new title to replace the long running and much loved series; The Superior Spider-Man would focus on a new webslinger following the end of Peter’s tenure. I for one was a little skeptical about this, and having had a few back and forths with folk on Twitter it seems that some were prepared to give up this entirely until Marvel popped up the sign for ‘retooling’ and went about bringing Peter back into the fold.

Well let me tell you that this debut for The Superior Spider-Man is a damn fine comic in its own right. It slides right into the aftermath of Amazing #700 as Otto Octavius now saunters around wearing Peter’s clothes and living his life in his own way.  Slott begins with the briefest and most effective of looks at the legacy that was Doc Ock’s; a wasted lifetime of failure and villainous schemes capped with just one victory that only one other individual has known about. I love the way that Slott dives into the problems and issues facing Otto now - any brilliance that he now displays in his everyday life will be chalked up under Peter Parker’s name, as Spider-Man he faces deadly situations where normally he would run away or would try to avoid the punches and impacts meant for innocent bystanders.  It’s a terrific look at just what the hero we knew would put on the line each and every time he squared up against a group of bank robbers, one of his rogues gallery or Galactus/Onslaught/Thanos and Octavius’ disbelief is well realised and entertaining.

The idea of a new Sinister Six springing up so soon is forcing the point a touch to get the most out of the hero Slott now has at his disposal, but it gets the required rise from a disgruntled Otto and shows that a large part of his old self is not keen to let go of his arrogance and superiority complex.  That’s where a lot of the fun comes into this as he uses his intellect to tackle this new group and does so in a less than friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man way.  Watching this Spider-Man run oh so close to the line that Peter Parker swore he’d never cross is probably going to generate the lion’s share of the tension over the next however-many months and issues.

From an aesthetic perspective Ryan Stegman is a wise choice as he’s done a fine job on Scarlet Spider previously and his style actually sits in the median between other series regulars Humberto Ramos and Giuseppe Camuncoli. He certainly brings a frenetic flair to proceedings here, ensuring that the combat that takes place between Spidey (it seems a touch wrong now to use that term so laced with friendly familiarity) and the Sinister Six fizzes with speed and the required amount of viciousness and Edgar Delgado brings one sumptuously rich palette of colour to the whole book. I do have one or two reservations when it comes to his expression work - in one panel Peter/Otto (we need to come up with a combined name here to show who we’re talking about... Otter? Petavius?) is evidently speaking in a very cocksure way to Mary Jane but it just looks like he simply has his mouth held open - almost as if he’s yawning - rather than delivering a line of conversation. It’s a small ruffle in a fine looking issue though and is easily overlooked when surrounded by the rest of this comic’ quality.

The important thing here is that Slott has immediately proven that he’s got the faithful readership in plain sight with what he has accomplished here. Those who were spitting feathers and calling for the writers head over his story choices these past few months will probably shrink back a little now and guiltily enjoy what has been placed before them in Superior Spider-Man #1.  I will say that I did yell out a resounding double ‘YES!’ upon finishing my first read of the issue and it definitely sets the scene nicely for what this series is going to be about. I do feel that certain elements here feel a touch rushed through when it comes to the plot, preferring to see such hinges and twists pulled through on the slow tease over several issues, but time is of the essence and I could see the need for Marvel and Slott to get as many people on board as quickly as possible here. At the end of the day Amazing Spider-Man #698 to #700 was purely unmissable comic writing and this deserves to sit right alongside them.  8/10

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