The Superior Spider-Man tracks down an old friend… The Vulture?!?
Superior Spider-Man #3
Spider-Man is summoned to the roof of the police station by J. Jonah Jameson’s brand new Spider Signal (a la the Bat Signal). When Spider-Man arrives, he uses one of the spiderbots to seemingly destroy the signal believing it to be a beacon for enemies to find the web slinger. He’s told that there are several small Vulture-like criminals rampaging the city. He makes some quick updates to his lenses so he can locate the Vulture more quickly. When he tracks down the Adrian Toomes, he discovers that the henchmen aren’t just small people, or circus midgets, but they are children. When ghostly Peter sees a piece of Otto’s past that enrages Spider-Man at this revelation, Peter is a hopeless passenger as he watches Spider-Man blind Toomes then drop him into the Spider Signal bruised, beaten, and near death. Carlie’s suspicions grow that the man who looks like Peter and is acting as Spider-Man actually is not who he says he is.
Talk about a tale of two series… The Superior Spider-Man is definitely a series that can summed up in its pros and cons. In the pros column, I have to start with Ryan Stegman. His art on the title reminds us that this is still a Spider-Man series. With that should come with a little bit of light and good humor. The look of the book provides some comfort that we are still seeing Spider-Man swinging from one building to another battling recognizable foes and doing recognizable things. Then, there comes the story itself. It may be somewhat of a blaspheme but this story is a good idea if what you’re looking to do is shake things up a bit. Dan Slott is creating what is essentially a new hero in the form of one we all know well. There’s a twist to this though. The building of this character is similar to an idea of an old “What If” story from the 80s. It’s built around the idea that this is what Peter Parker was if he didn’t have an Uncle Ben or a supportive group of loved ones around him. It makes for a compelling idea.
In this issue in particular, that idea of how Otto Octavius would handle an issue based on his upbringing and those he’s surrounded himself with leads him down a path that he uses the power he’s gained to inflict harm and impose his superiority over others. He’s doing good, but he’s doing it all wrong. He comes to the Vulture seeking to help his friend, which is something even Peter Parker probably wouldn’t have done, but when it’s realized that Vulture is employing children and forces Otto to fight them, it triggers that unloved side of him and throws him into a rage that he decides he’s going to do something about it regardless if this is a true friend or not. (Also, did anyone catch a whiff of pedophilia with Vulture? I’m not crazy, right? He mentions something about kids that makes you think he’s got, like, a thing for them, no?)
Then there comes the major flaw of this book. Look, I understand the hardcore Spidey fans having a major problem with the last arc of The Amazing Spider-Man. I get it. It’s hard to imagine how things progressed to that stage. However, I still contend that the story was technically written extremely well. It celebrated everything that Peter was as a man and hero and set up the troubles Otto was going to have with inheriting Peter’s boons and banes. It’s the perfect connector between the past and the present. The problem comes in with Peter still being a character in this series. I’m not talking about the flesh and bone man under the mask. I’m talking about Star Wars style, blue ghost Peter. It completely undermines the value of The Amazing Spider-Man #700. We should be focusing on Otto being the Superior Spider-Man. We shouldn’t be hearing or seeing what Peter is doing or thinking. We all knew Peter would return. We all know that death only applies to people with the last name of Stacy. I don’t think a single one of us expected to already have Peter be a star of this series. It really hurts the book and should have been a major story for The Superior Spider-Man, The Avenging Spider-Man, Morbius, and Scarlet Spider… Like, two years from now. It shouldn’t be this big of the story now. That’s a major problem that undercuts everything that could be good about this series.
I guess a good way to put the negatives about this series is that your brain and body thinks it is good to fart. However, it’s your friends around you that wish you’d just hold off for a better opportunity to let that out.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Stegman’s art is just what the doctor ordered for the series. The basic premise of Octavius trying to be something of a hero but unable to get past his own complexes works well. Very well even.||Unfortunately, the major con of this book and this entire series is Peter Parker. Never thought I’d ever say that.|