The Superior Spider-Man #7
Writer – Dan Slott
Penciler – Humberto Ramos
Inker – Victor Olazaba
Color Art – Edgar Delgado
Letters – Chris Eliopoulos
The Avengers are finally going to throw down with the Superior Spider-Man, but sadly, this is not that issue.
Last issue (the real Superior title, not the Age of Ultron detour) saw Otto Octavius continuing his extreme brand of brutal justice, and Spidey’s teammates finally realizing something is off and deciding to face him.
The vigilante Cardiac is the latest opponent to cross paths with the Superior Spider-Man, and this is made to be a bigger conflict than every other prior instance of brutality (or murder!) because Cardiac is a doctor who just wants to bypass the red tape and help people. Meanwhile, Peter Parker is finally able to regain control of his own body: he can control some motor skills, and now Otto can hear Peter in his head. Both of these events help us make the transition from seeing Otto as the “hero” of this title to supporting Parker, but after six issues of this charade, it’s not really necessary.
While Cardiac is the nicest foe Otto has battled, we already have the message that Otto is crossing a line and not every super criminal deserves to be savaged; Jester and Screwball and the bullies last issue already set that up. Cardiac also unknowingly finds himself in a situation where Otto has to prove he’s the biggest genius in the room, we’ve seen it. We’ve seen Peter vie for control this whole series, and while it’s great he finally has some, it really hasn’t changed anything. Otto even realizes Peter’s control, but doesn’t truly acknowledge it. Otto’s ego gets in the way, again. And finally, the Avengers corner Spider-Man and demand an explanation, and instead we get a cliffhanger setting up the fight. Again.
This is the most disappointing issue of Superior Spider-Man so far because now Slott’s beats are starting to wear thin. When Peter proclaims, “Finally someone out there noticed! I was starting to think you were all taking stupid pills or something,” it feels like Slott is winking at the audience and acknowledging some of the complaints he’s had since before this story even got off the ground, but here in the seventh issue, it feels like it’s too late.
That said, Slott redeems it all on the very last page. The last page pays out in a big way with one line by Thor, and I hope the next issue takes this slow burning fuse of the past few issues and explodes in that Mighty Marvel Manner.
While the story may feel a little worn, the presentation helps mask it. Humberto Ramos and Victor Olazaba continue their stellar line work with dynamic action scenes and dramatic panel layouts. Edgar Delgado keeps the book bright and crisp, the perfect complement to that famous Ramos exaggeration and Spider-Man in general.
This is not a bad Spider-Man comic, and certainly not a bad issue of Superior Spider-Man, but it does feel like padding. Perhaps that’s not all on Dan Slott’s breakdowns: we’ve got an Age of Ultron exploding over here, new titles announced spinning out of Superior Spider-Man before it’s done, and a countdown clock on the title itself. The idea itself is still sound. This issue just drags that conflict out and shows some superior wheel spinning from Slott.
Also! Avengers by Ramos, please.