Marvel Comics has been doing a lot right in the last few years. Their movies are selling like hotcakes, and their titles are among the best-written being published today. Superior Spider-Man is no exception. [Spoilers below.]
Occupying the body of Peter Parker, Otto Octavius has changed Spider-Man's life in several ways: He finished Parker's doctorate, started an R&D firm, found new love, put spider-drones on every street corner, even achieved the impossible when he gained the trust of J. Jonah Jameson.
And like any good supervillain, his plans have begun falling apart. Bad guys lose. It's what they do. Octavius' accomplishments are crumbling around him like a self-destructing volcano lair: He's jeopardized Parker's family. His business is on the brink of collapse. He's been fired by the Avengers. He squandered his partnership with Mayor Jameson, who's back to employing Spider-Slayers en masse. Most of these faults lie in nearly every major supervillain's MO— namely, the inability to separate life and work.
But worst of all, Octavius pissed off the Green Goblin. Since the beginning of the Superior Spider-Man, the Green Goblin has done something unique: he deliberately started a franchise. He has several goblin lieutenants, most with their own goblin gliders. He has an army of muscle, and a criminal infrastructure to rival the Kingpin's. (Spider-Man actually enabled this aspect of the Goblin's plan, when he cleaned out Hell's Kitchen.)
But the greatest weapon in the Goblin's arsenal is (and always has been) information: He know's Octavius' secret, and it infuriates him. He can't stand that Spider-Man's "number two nemesis" managed to kill Parker.
The writing team of Dan Slott and Christos Gage have crafted one of the finest Green Goblin stories in years, by perfectly capturing Osborn's vindictive mind: he doesn't attack the Spider directly. No, no. He goes after what the Spider cares about— or in this case, what Octavius cares about. In one glorious splash page, the Green Goblin destroys everything that has ever been important to Otto Octavius.
What truly sets Superior Spider-Man apart from most other comics (Marvel, DC, or otherwise) is the suspense it's managed to build. The ending isn't a certain thing. We know that the 'ghost' of Peter Parker is struggling to free itself from Octavius' mind, but at the moment, that ghost is hopelessly lost in Octavius' own memories.
The fact is, the 'Superior' Spider-Man may not be up to fighting the Green Goblin. Smart as he is, Octavius still thinks and fights like a bad guy. In the past, it's taken every ounce of Peter Parker's strength, courage, and resourcefulness to beat the Goblin. Otto Octavius is no Peter Parker. And he seems to finally have bitten off more than he can chew.
Last and certainly not least, this issue actually fulfills the promise of its cover. And it it magnificent.
The combined artwork of Giuseppe Camuncoli, John Dell, and Antonio Fabela is top-notch. The pacing has been brilliant, setting the stage and erupting into full-scale war. The next chapter of The Superior Spider-Man is going to be very, very important. I can't wait.
What do you think?
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