A big criticism that I’ve been hearing when it comes to ‘Age of Ultron’ is the portrayal of Peter Parker. As we all know by now, Otto Octavius transferred Parker’s mind into his own dying body so that he could take over the youthful body of his greatest foe, Spider-Man, in order to cheat death and to become a better Spider-Man than his nemesis ever could be. However, when the first crossover event of the Marvel NOW! era began, everyone noticed that Spider-Man’s dialogue was very similar to the now-extinct Amazing version of the character rather than the current Superior one. For something that claims that it’s taking place in the current Marvel Universe, that’s a pretty huge mistake to be making, right?
Well, this tie-in issue of ‘Superior Spider-Man’ might be just the thing to remedy that snafu. Previously in ‘Age of Ultron’ for Spider-Man, the Owl and Hammerhead had captured him with the intentions to trade the wall-crawler to Utron in exchange for the permission to keep their dastardly deeds in operation. However, that plan was foiled when Hawykeye rushed into their stronghold to rescue his friend and teammate. Now, back at the Avengers’ base under Central Park, Peter has been reunited with the remaining heroes and he has the opportunity to end this madness brought upon by Ultron, as we saw in the preview from last week. After he’s informed that Horizon Labs is still intact, Octo-Pete accepts a mission from Iron Man as a decoy to get to his own laboratory to execute a better plan to defeat this evil robot once and for all.
First of all, ‘Age of Ultron’ is doing something very interesting with it’s tie-ins. With past crossover events like this, whatever title was being tied in had to push back whatever story they were telling in order to accommodate the crossover story. But now, Marvel is releasing the tie-ins as AU titles that appear to act as one shots. For example, instead of interfering with whatever Matt Fraction has going on over in ‘Fantastic Four’ right now, they’ll be releasing ‘Fantastic Four’ #5 and ‘Fantastic Four’ #5AU. Instead of completely interrupting the flow of the current arc, they’ve created a tangent issue that exists alongside the regular issue. It’s just like ‘Back to the Future 2’ when Marty goes back to the alternate 1985 where Biff is in charge of everything that exists right alongside the real 1985. By doing the books this way, if you happen to not be following ‘Age of Ultron’, you could choose not to get the AU title and still be in the loop. It’s quite an intriguing concept and I wonder if they’ll utilize it for future crossovers.
Next, Christos Gage delivers an excellent story in this one-shot tale. Doctor Octopus still has plenty to learn about being Spider-Man. Sure, he’s got the basic “With great power…” shtick down pretty well, but there are still other facets of the web-slinger that he just doesn’t understand. For instance, the idea of teamwork and being a member of the Avengers. In this issue, he figures that one out the hard way when he tries to do things all alone rather than being a team player. When he learns his lesson, it just seems so genuine. It really is a great moment to witness on the page.
And speaking of great moments, I really liked seeing the Superior Spider-Man team up with Quicksilver. I’d like to see more pairings of former villains in the future, especially if they involve Otto, who is still so new to this doing good thing.
Finally, the issue of Spider-Man’s dialogue thus far in ‘Age of Ultron’. They do address the matter in this book, but it’s a super quick fix. The explanation comes by so quickly, but it’s sort of there, so I guess everyone now knows why he’s speaking more like the original Peter Parker. It’s not as satisfying as everyone would hope, but it makes sense. The main thing to take away from this issue anyway is the message behind it.
Overall, there was a great balance of character development, action, and story in this issue, which resulted in a nicely crafted piece of work. ‘Superior Spider-Man’ #6AU is probably one of the better event tie-ins I’ve read over the past few years, so you should definitely pick it up if you’re following ‘Age of Ultron’.
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #6AU
Written by Christos Gage
Art by Dexter Soy
Cover by Marco Checchetto