This week is a milestone in Marvel Comics history. With the release of ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ #700, the 50-year-old title comes to an end and Peter Parker is no longer under the mask of our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
The only other book to hit comic book store shelves from Marvel this week besides the monumental issue 700 was ‘Avenging Spider-Man’. Usually featuring a team-up of Spider-Man and some other heroes, this time around the book acted as more of an epilogue to the end of an era. Additionally, this book sets the stage for the brand new series ‘Superior Spider-Man’, which gets released in the New Year.
Now, I’m going to make this very clear: DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT read this book or this review unless you have read ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ #700. You can’t say I didn’t warn you and if I could keep it spoiler-free, then I would, but I can’t. If I did, the review would just read, “Spider-Man works on a new suit and it was cool.” Not much of a review, yeah? Anyway, I think I’ve stalled enough to keep details out of the preview for this article. Let’s get down to business.
Though not exactly a traditional team-up as we’ve seen in previous issues, #15.1 of ‘Avenging Spider-Man’ features the team-up of Doctor Octopus’ brain with Peter Parker’s body. After the events of ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ #700, Otto Octavius takes a week to adjust to taking over the life of Peter Parker by improving on the deceased hero’s technology and creating an all-new suit to go with his new moniker of the Superior Spider-Man.
The thing that stands out the most to me is that where Otto failed in being a villain, he is now choosing to improve by being a hero. This issue talks a lot about Doc Ock’s shortcomings and constant failures, but now that he has the ability to do much more than he ever could before, he’s doing things the right way. Similar to Bruce Banner’s new revelation in ‘Indestructible Hulk’, I think the new “Peter Parker” sees infinite ways to help people and has a renewed sense of scientific inspiration. We’ll just see how long it lasts.
The next thing that stands out is the costume design of the Superior Spider-Man. The new goggles are a practical and helpful addition, and the shine on the suit may indicate that Otto has added armor to the design, but I wonder why he added claws to the boots and the gloves. Spider-Man can stick to walls last time I checked, so unless their only purpose is an extra weapon in his arsenal, then it’s a pretty poor addition. The super strength and various types of webs are adequate tools for crime fighting, so I’m not too keen on the claws, if not for any other reason that they look weird on the suit.
Claws aside, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, and Dave Curiel did a great job with the new suit and the art in general. Even though we’re still looking at Peter Parker’s face, they’ve done something differently to make him darker. It could be the way that Medina drew the eyes or the way Vlasco inked his face or something like that. I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s a subtle difference in the character where you can tell that he’s different, and I like it.
So far, I’ve heard a generally negative response to the fall of the Amazing Spider-Man, but I appreciate the balls that the Spidey office at Marvel has. What they did is a big deal that will have huge ramifications, but for everyone who’s hating on it hardcore, remember that nothing in comics these is ever really permanent except the deaths of Uncle Ben and Thomas and Martha Wayne. Pretty much everything else is up for change. I’m curious to see where this all goes, so I’ll be sure to check out ‘Superior Spider-Man’ #1 when it comes out in January 2013.
AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #15.1
Written by CHRIS YOST
Art by PACO MEDINA, JUAN VLASCO, DAVE CURIEL
Cover by PAOLO RIVERA