The Avengers and X-Men’s Epic Battle is over. Scott went insane. Charley took the dirt nap. Hope and Wanda made everything better. So Now what?
Well, NOW is the time for Marvel to shuffle the deck and play a new hand. It’s relaunch city as The House of Ideas brings us 20-something new #1s with all-new creative teams over the next 5 months. What will the new 23 have in store for us Marvel Zombies? Well, be sure to check out this column each week as we dissect the first issue of every new title under the Marvel Now Banner. And I don’t mean Bruce Banner…..well except when the title has the Hulk in it….you get what I mean. So sit back and relax as we check out what’s new in the 616.
Well, it’s finally come. The moment that most of us Spidey fans have been dreading. The first issue of Superior Spider-man #1. I know that’s probably not the best attitude to have going into this book but can you blame me? When it was revealed back in #698 that Peter Parker and (spoiler – like you haven’t heard by now) Doctor Octopus had switched bodies, a collective groan was heard throughout comicdom. Then, in issue #700, while I didn’t hate the fact that Doc Ock saw the error in his ways and learned that “with great power must come great responsibility”, it still wasn’t a great issue. And this was the set up to ease us into the idea that Otto Octavius would now be the wall-crawler. I don’t think I was alone in my fear that this story would not be to my liking. But Dan Slott has had a few good stories under his belt and I can’t deny that Ryan Stegman is better than Spidey’s been getting in the art department. So I sat down to read the newest chapter in the Spiderverse and was a bit surprised by what I got.
For anyone that didn’t see the preview at the end of ASM #700, the book begins with Doc Ock in Peter’s body bidding ado to his old life when he hears something interesting on his police scanner. Turns out a ragtag group of also-rans (including the likes of Boomarang, Shocker, Speed Deamon, The Living Brain, Overdrive and a new Beetle) are now going by The Sinister Six and are stealing some hi-tech machinery. Well Octo-Spidey will have non of this. That is after he gets over being insulted by them taking up his former team name. The battle is a piece of cake for Otto at first until unforseen factors enter the fray. That’s when he decides to bolt and let the cops handle it. But something draws him back to the scene to protect a police officer in danger and he finds a way to diffuse the situation. The cops are greatful and ask him if there’s anything he needs. He tells them to send the now destroyed carcus of the Living Brain to Peter Parker at Horizon Labs. Back at the lab we see that Otto-Peter is more Doc Ock then ever, sporting goggles and a buttoned up lab coat ala a mad scientist. He’s also kept the mannerisms and attitude of his former self as he deals with his co-workers. He easily diffuses what might be a problem with his boss by showing him the recent inventions he’s created for the company. This brings on the realization that all his future endeavors will be credited to Peter Parker and not himself. As he wrestles with the idea him now BEING Peter, he’s distracted by an invitation from Mary Jane to dinner. At dinner, Otto continues to act very un-Peter-like as he ignores Mary Jane while staring at her rack and listening in a bug he planted on the sinister six before they made their escape. MJ notices his odd behavior and questions him but he dismisses it as he’s already hatching a plan to catch the Six who’re are planning to hit Horizon Labs tonight. This leads to a showdown at the labs between Spider-Man and the Sinister ones where Spidey has all the advantage. He makes short work of them using a number of new inventions and is about to go for the death blow when something stops him. His new conscience, perhaps? Or is it something more?
Let me start off by saying that I didn’t hate this story. It was much better than the last few issues of Amazing Spider-man. But storywise and character-wise it’s all over the map. Doc Ock is not trying t blend in but he’s still going about trying to be the hero. Why? It doesn’t feel like he really learned anything from Peter’s memories. It’s more like he’s trying to prove that he’s better than him. If that’s the case, why not play that up? Instead, he’s having fights with himself about Peter getting the credit for his inventions even though he is Peter now. The lame duck Sinister Six was an odd choice for a first outing. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to have him face a big gun? To show how superior he actually is? That being said, I did enjoy the antics of this gang especially Overdrive turning the BigWheel into a getaway car. I also liked some of the new ways this Spidey used his abilities. But overall, this issue felt very glib. It lacked personality. If Dan Slott wants us to like the Superior Spider-Man, he’s off to a bad start.
The artwork of this issue was pretty good. It had an energy that was lacking in the last few issues of ASM. The colours provided by Edgar Delgado were also very vibrant and enticing. It made more than a few moments of the story bearable. I especially liked the action sequences. There was a great feeling of fluid movement and nothing appeared cluttered. I am looking forward to seeing more of Stegman’s work on this book. I just hope there’s a stronger story to go along with it.
I guess my main concern with the book is that it lacks any real effort in making this character a hero. I know he’s a villain but isn’t the whole idea that Doc Ock’s got a second chance on life? So why not show him actually trying to be better. It’s an interesting concept that if done right, can be a very compelling story. But since they’ve already introduced this back door conscience element, I don’t see anything really materializing on the character building front. I think it’s safe to say that I not picking up issue 2.
So this 1st Issue is done but there’s plenty more to come. Check back here in the coming week’s to find out which books are worth your time which are a waste of it.
And if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!
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