The Superior Spider-Man’s first full guest appearance! And no surprise it’s here – Mark Waid’s shown an affinity for including Spidey in his Daredevil series with “The Devil and the Details” crossover between ASM #677 and DD #8 and “The Omega Effect” crossover with Avenging Spider-Man #6, Punisher #10, and DD #11.
Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Chris Samnee
Color Art: Javier Rodriguez
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Paolo Rivera
Assistant Editor: Ellie Pyle
Editor: Stephen Wacker
THE STORY: Matt Murdock, who has the worst-kept secret identity ever, is accosted in the street by the Superior Spider-Man, who’s been sent by ADA McDuffie to bring Daredevil in. Matt changes into his DD duds and fights Spidey, though is initially suspicious that this is really him, or thinks perhaps he’s being mind-controlled. The fight is cut short when Stilt-Man attacks a helicopter and the two go to work to bring the big guy down. They find that Stilt-Man is tougher than before, having upgraded himself with technology from Doc Ock’s arms. The two heroes manage to bring Stilt-Man down together, after which DD is convinced that Spidey is Spidey, and Spidey is convinced that DD isn’t a menace.
MY THOUGHTS: Two comics came out this same week that saw the new Superior Spider-Man teaming up with another hero/heroes. Besides this one, there was also Avenging Spider-Man #16, which featured his “team-up” with Wolverine & The X-Men. Both issues took the time to address the other hero/heroes being suspicious of Spider-Man’s identity, and both, to me, offered resolutions that were completely unconvincing.
A lot of people said from the time this Octo-Spidey concept was brought up that telepaths and even friends who should know better were going to be a problem. And while on one level I applaud Marvel for trying to address that in no less than two books just one week after the release of Superior #1, it may have actually been best to leave it alone until they had better explanations to give us. In Avenging Spider-Man, he was clearly not acting like himself and Logan was going to have Rachel Gray scan him, but he convinced them that that would be unethical and they let it go. In this book, Daredevil’s suspicious of him for a variety of reasons, but when he finds out that Kristen McDuffie sent him, he says that explains everything and drops all other suspicions.
Matt was faced with: Spider-Man attacking him without asking for any explanation, Spider-Man saying lines like “Surrender or prepare for battle” and “The die is cast,” Spider-Man being silent instead of making jokes (observed by Matt himself in his narration). How is ANY of that explained by finding out that Kristen McDuffie sent him? That tells Matt why Spider-Man might think he’s gone a bit off his rocker, but does that explain why his old friend would just attack him in the middle of the street without talking to him? Does that explain why he’s not talking like himself? It sure doesn’t to me. Plus, in neither of these two issues do the other heroes notice that Spidey is wearing a new costume at the exact time he’s started to act out of character…
My point here is basically this: Don’t insult my intelligence. I can use my suspension of disbelief to get around little issues, and if there is a problem like ‘telepaths and friends could figure him out,’ I’ll overlook it if your story is good enough and you don’t bring it up. But don’t bring it up and then try to explain it away in a manner that doesn’t actually explain away anything. Then I feel like I’m being talked down to, and nothing will lessen my enjoyment of a story faster than that. The ironic thing is, the story in Superior Spider-Man so far actually IS good enough for me to suspend my disbelief and overlook some logical issues with the story. So they would have been better off just not bringing this stuff up.
Now, all that said, I know it probably sounds like I hated this comic but I really didn’t. Overall Mark Waid wrote a generally fun script that took the old “hero vs. hero misunderstanding followed by team-up to take down a villain” and still made it entertaining even though it’s one of the oldest and most overused formulas in comics. Chris Samnee’s art was a nice, light, easy-to-follow compliment to that script. On the whole, this was a fine team-up guest appearance issue, it’s just brought down by the glaring problems with such a central part of the story.
GRADE: 3 misunderstandings out of 5. A mostly well-done guest app that loses major points for only pretending to explain away the problems with its concept.