In the Marvel Universe, it’s been two weeks since the death of Doctor Octopus and the rise of a new, Superior Spider-Man. In that time, the new inhabitant of Peter Parker’s body, Otto Octavius, has managed to upgrade the wall-crawler’s crime-fighting arsenal with various improvements to his suit, gadgets, and make some extremely mature decisions regarding the hero’s love life. He also gets the mayor of New York City, J. Jonah Jameson, who has hated the web-slinger from day one, to no longer consider the part-time Avenger a menace. In less than a month, Doc Ock fixed Peter Parker’s life, which has practically been in shambles for 50 years. And while it still has it’s detractors, ‘Superior Spider-Man’ might be one of my favorite comics right now.

In the last issue, the spirit of the real Pete took a backseat while Otto took the wheel and tried to pursue a relationship with the love of young Parker’s life, Mary Jane Watson. After a series of failed attempts, Otto-Pete made a breakthrough in his “dating trials” during a battle with the Vulture’s minions and finally realized that the one true way to keep MJ safe is to move on from their relationship. It was totally a series of heartbreaking events.

Spinning out of the events of the last issue, we now find Spider-Man going after the winged maniac and his gang of little flying henchmen. However, since Octavius was a former partner and friend of Adrian Toomes, he first tries to offer the villain a way out of crime to insure that his former Sinister Six running mate doesn’t meet a fate involving a prison cell. Naturally, things don’t exactly as planned.

At first, I didn’t think that this issue was going to be great. The gag in the first few pages with the Spider-signal was a little corny, though I enjoyed the back and forth between J.J.J. and Spidey and the rather obvious crack at Batman. But by the end of the book, that gag turned into something much more. The full circle motion of the story was great, including the flashbacks in Otto’s life. I often talk about how when a writer puts a shotgun on the wall, then he better use it by the end. Dan Slott totally used it and in a most excellent way.

The thing with the Superior Spider-Man is that he’s not evil. As I’m reading these books, it really looks like Otto is trying to do good works. He’s just extremely aggressive in nature. But then this particular story, the aggression is semi-justified. Carlie Cooper sees that as well, which is why it almost seems like she’s accepting that Pete is just growing up, just as Mary Jane did in the last issue.

When it comes down to it, ‘Superior Spider-Man’ has everything that I loved about ‘Amazing Spider-Man’. It has the amusing battle banter, the tales of young love, the dashing heroics, and the colorful villains. The difference is that it’s a lot rougher. It has an edge. That’s not to say that it’s better, but it’s different, while still keeping the essential elements of the Spider-Man we all know and love. I truly think that the people that opted to boycott this book are really missing out on a great comic. Dan Slott and his whole team are knocking it out of the park. I know that this won’t last forever because there’s a finite ending to Otto being in Peter’s body. There has to be. But while this is going on, I’m definitely enjoying the hell out of it. This is how you make a 50-year-old character fresh again.

Final Score:




Written by DAN SLOTT