Warning: This review contains spoilers from The Amazing Spider-Man #700. Following quickly on the heels of its predecessor, the inaugural issue of The Superior Spider-Man made its debut this past week. It was the final issue of the long-standing The Amazing Spider-Man series that brought us to this point. Fans were in an uproar in what happened in that issue and the chain of events that brought us to the new, the improved, The Superior Spider-Man.
So in the oversized whopping finale of The Amazing Spider-Man, we saw yet another famous superhero pass away, giving way to a new idenity whose duty it will be to maintain an old heroic moniker. The infamous Doctor Octopus was fading as his body was slowly dying. In one last effort, Doc Oc traded his consciousness with that of Peter Parker’s, allowing him to take over Parker’s body while the mind of Parker seemingly died with Doc Oc’s body. But it wasn’t only a new body that Otto Octavious encountered. He also inherited the memories of Parker, and no, Mary Jane is none the wiser. He is, however, enlightened in the ways of a do-gooder which has influenced his behavior and actions in a positive light.
Dan Slott (The Amazing Spider-Man, World War Hulk) commandeers the story and does so in intriguing fashion. This first issue is a real page-turner if nothing else and kept me glued the whole time. Though you’re looking at the same physical Parker, the thoughts and dialogue from him are very much Doc Oc. Not for one line do you mistake one character for the other. While Octavious is good guy reborn, there’s still a very slight, yet very obvious hint of devious flavor in the air.
Another factor that’s a game-changer here is the method our new Spidey goes about catching the bad guys. There’s a whole lot more strategy involved, sitting back and lying in wait, fighting from afar and letting technology do the work. Peter would’ve swung in and gone fists up and webs out. One’s not better than the other, but the new style of fighting crime is a welcomed change combined with the restrained, but devlish intent that’s resting just below Doc Oc’s surface.
Ryan Stegman handles the artwork here and his presence is a sigh of relief. Stegman’s work on the ongoing Scarlet Spider series is vibrant and exceptionally drawn, especially in the case of action scenes and character expressions. His drawings easily convey the intended script penned by Slott, resulting in a pretty solid dynamic duo of their own. Hopefully this is one pairing that’s not disrupted anytime soon. The artwork on issue #700 of The Amazing Spider-Man was poorly chosen as it portrayed more of a kiddish, animated look to it, thus dissolving the serious overtones intended.
The Superior Spider-Man introduces us to a new take on the wall crawler that takes me back to the days of a more cunning webslinger, more specifically in the moments of the black-suit Spider-Man. I always liked the no-holds-barred approach the corrupted and mentally exposed Peter Parker took in those instances. There was no mercy rule for the bad guys back then and with Dr. Octopus as the new Peter Parker/Spider-Man, we find him somewhere between that and normal Spidey. The only downside to all this fun is I don’t know how long Marvel will be able to keep it up. This title is definitely a winner, but I also get the premonition that this theme is going to get old before long.
Let’s face it. I seriously doubt we’ve seen the last of the real Peter Parker. Bruce Wayne healed from a broken spine and then death via Darkseid’s Omega rays. Steve Rogers returned from a fatal gunshot wound. They both came back. That’s what happens in comics. You need to shake things up every once in a while. If it causes significant tremors amongst the fans, then it’s worth releasing. I commend the creative think-tank at Marvel for going in this direction with their #1 superhero. I just hope they keep it interesting and eventually give us the return of the real Mr. Parker.