Marvel NOW! Review: Superior Spider-Man #1 by Dan Slott & Ryan Stegman
by RJ Schwabe on January 9, 2013

Superior Spider-Man #1: Hero or Menace?

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Ryan Stegman
Release Date: 01/09/2013
Cover Price: $3.99
Review: Digital Copy (From Comixology)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably heard the news. Otto Octavius (Doctor Octopus) has switched bodies of Peter Parker (Spider-Man), and then Otto’s body died with Peter’s brain supposedly inside it. However, before he died, Peter transferred all of his memories including the trauma and the guilt he has experienced over the years. With this new knowledge of what Peter went through, Otto decides to devote his life to the path that Peter started, as the Superior Spider-Man.

Synopsis

  • A “New Sinister Six” has formed with new members: Boomerang, Shocker, Speed Demon, Living Brain, Beetle, and Overdrive. They steal a Barometric Oscillator but are confronted by the new Spider-Man.
  • After getting beat up, Spider-Man attempts to leave, but returns to rescue a police officer from an exploding boomerang allowing the Sinister Six to escape.
  • Back at Horizon Labs, OttoPeter works with the scientists to create weapons intended to help Spider-Man.
  • OttoPeter then goes on a date with Mary Jane while listening to the Sinister Six through his headphones.
  • The Sinister Six invades Horizon Labs the next day, and are confronted by Spider-Man who was waiting for them. He uses the technology of Horizon Labs to easily defeat the Sinister Six, and even invites the media to watch.
  • OttoPeter is about to damage or kill Boomerang, when Peter (from inside OttoPeter’s head) stops him, saying he’s going to find a way back into his own body.

Questions and Answers

Q:    Has Peter Parker gone to heaven?

A:     No, he is an unseen personality inside OttoPeter’s head, who can stop him from doing things.

Analysis

Wow, dozens of mixed feelings about this book. The short answer is clever and well done, but not sure I really enjoyed it.

First off, this is a brilliant character study of Otto Octavius, even given the influx of the morality and memory of Peter Parker. In addition, Dan Slott does a MASTERFUL job of putting things into this first issue that would bring out a reaction from Otto’s side of his brain, and not Peter’s, most notably the Sinister Six.

Actually, from the first page, you learn the exact difference between a hero and a villain’s core being. If a hero was hanging out at a graveyard, he would be at the graveyard of a mentor, a friend, or a love? Otto, well he is hanging out at his own graveyard. We learn very quickly that OttoPeter is very much driven by his ego.

The other thing that is very clever is that we see how Otto is actually smarter than Peter Parker. Able to combine his knowledge of science and his abilities as Spider-Man together to easily defeat the new Sinister Six, and almost showing them up at every turn.

And I loved Otto having to force himself to realize that all of his achievements will be remembered as ones scored by Peter Parker. The price of this switch from his decaying body to Peter’s youthful one is Doctor Octopus’s ego. And even though he knows that the trade is more than fair, OttoPeter feels a little cheated by it.

It is very clever and interesting. If this was a new hero, or an alternate universe, or a what if story, or some mini-series, I’d probably be okay with it. But this is Spider-Man. I may be able to read a comic book where Wolverine or Gambit or Iron Man made arrogant selfish decisions as heroes. And while I understand that OttoPeter is going to be an ego-driven selfish character, it doesn’t make me want to read more about this character. Especially now that Slott has given us an ‘out’ for this altered hero, as Peter is living inside his head along with Otto.

I really do not understand the reaction of Mary Jane in this issue. Yes MJ and Peter were never married, but as I understand the (Brand New Day) altered Spider-Man timeline, they still spent significant years together. I’m sure there were several body switching, brain altering, crazy new persona, it’s a clone and not Peter situations. Wouldn’t Peter’s arrogant behavior give her major cause for alarm?

I think it is interesting that OttoPeter is more confident than Peter Parker, bordering on arrogance. That take is interesting enough to see a Peter that is confident and driven enough to get what he wants done as well as what he wants to have. But the arrogance is a real turn off for me.

This was a fine book, a clever story, and a fine read, but I just don’t know if I want an internal monologue of an arrogant, gloating, OttoPeter each month.

My recommendation is very simple. If you are intrigued by where the Octopus/Spider-Man brain switching story is going to go, then read it because it is very enjoyable. If you were unsure about whether you want to read a story where Doctor Octopus is a hero, then I would probably avoid it.

Verdict

For me, this did everything you want a comic book to do, except get me to read another issue (tho I certainly may do it for ComicNexus). I can’t give it a bad grade because it is clever and interesting, but it certainly did not pull me in having me wonder what will happen next issue. I chalk it up to a good story that isn’t interesting enough to engage me as a regular reader.

Overall Grade: 8.0 (good, but not my thing)

 



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