Story: Dan Slott
Art: Ryan Stegman
What They Say:
A perfect jumping on point as The Green Goblin returns — and Spider-Man is nowhere to be found!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Superior Spider-Man had one of its best issues so far in the previous issue, so it’s not a surprise that things take a bit of a different turn here, quieter and almost a bit more introspective as other events start to tick up. With Octavius having dealt with Peter in the mental battle for control, that’s freed him up completely to feel like he can take on the world now as a far superior Spider-Man – and Peter Parker. If not for the stronger level of violence and the overconfidence at times, you’d find yourself really rooting for Octavius. And even with those issues, it’s hard not to come close to that anyway because he’s such a hoot to watch. The feeling of freedom he has now having dealt with Peter is clear from the start and it’s definitely a very different kind of character than we’re used to.
One of the things that I do like is that Octavius really manages his schedule and that goes a long way in dealing with his daily life problems. While the usual schtick is that heroes react, Octavius instigates and that has him dealing with things before it becomes a problem, such as going after the low level types like the new White Dragon and The Owl. Those two are fighting over basic street turf, but Octavius takes them out before it sprawls into a problem since he has eyes everywhere. We also see that later in the book when he goes after Tombstone and some others he’s associated with while sending the fire department an early alert on a fire elsewhere. Of course, that fire is more important than he realizes as it’s MJ’s club and she and her staff are in it, but that’s grist to be dealt with later.
For a lot of this book, it’s about Octavius feeling free to do as he pleases in moving his life forward, Peter-free. We see him moving quickly towards his doctorate, with plenty of snark for “Don,” we have the fun of him enjoying a meal with May and the others where she’s just doting on how he’s growing up and doing so well now. And we get some good bits with his tech toys and the like. There’s also a short, terribly short, sequence where he gets to do a dessert date with Anna and we see just how utterly adorable the two of them are together. Granted, I’ve long been a Gwen guy and I totally loved the period when Peter and MJ got married back in the McFarlane era, but this pairing just has me grinning from ear to ear watching them.
The other area playing in the buildup aspect in the background is that as Octavius takes down each of the minor bosses along the way, the minions and thugs run for their lives and are really panicking because there’s seemingly no place to go that the Spider can’t find them. What becomes intriguing, right through the end, is that they’re being corralled up by the Green Goblin’s henchmen in order to build an army under the streets that will rise and really give Octavius a challenge. It’s well spaced out across the book and as it goes on and we see the minor pitch they make to others along the way, it builds very well. Add in some time seeing how Goblin himself is tweaking Octavius’ tech without Octavius realizing it and then revealing himself to be a Goblin King really sets the tone well for what’s to come. I’ve long lost my interest in the various Goblin related villains, but this marks a really nice little twist.
Another issue in a series that I really can’t believe works as well as it does. I was hooked hard in the first five issues with the trade that I got on the cheap digitally and working through the series in singles from there has been a real treat. This installment is definitely a jumping on point, but the whole series so far is just a must-read work that has me loving it. This installment gives us some good story starting material, solid character pieces and progress, decent action and some fantastic artwork from Ryan Stegman once again. There’s a lot to like with this Superior Spider-Man and I’m growing afraid of seeing it eventually coming to a close.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: May 22nd, 2013