Superior Spider-Man #07 Review – Erik’s Take

detailCardiac returns to the pages of Spider-Man as an unexpected new opponent, which catalyzes a renewed struggle on Peter’s part to assert his influence and ultimately leads to a long-overdue confrontation with the Avengers. It’s nice to have the story moving again.

The Superior Spider-Man #07

Words by Dan Slott

Pencils by Humberto Ramos

Inks by Victor Olazaba

Colors by Edgar Delgado

Letters by Chris Eliopoulos

Me? I just woulda rushed on in by now…

1Slott’s penchant for involving obscure characters from the past is something I find very hit or miss. But this time was definitely one of the hits. Cardiac, unlike most of the characters Slott has brought back to face off against Dr. Parkerpus, really seems like a great choice of antagonist. Otto’s superficial encounter with him highlights how the new Spider-Man’s approach is “superior” in the eyes of New York’s current authorities but is lacking the deep-seated morality that drove Peter. 

As he’s done several times now, Otto flies off the handle at his opponent, preparing either to kill or at least brutalize him. He’s fueled largely by the realization that the tech Cardiac is trying to steal is his “neurolitic scanner,” the device he came up with way back in the day that allowed him to control his robotic arms. I really liked that development because it underscores the fact that if Otto bothered to consider what kind of man Cardiac is he’d be able to see that he was fighting on the wrong side. This is a mistake Peter never would have made. 

Ghost Peter rears his annoying head again during the battle, but I didn’t mind it in this case because it’s serving the purpose of furthering the story of his struggle to regain his body. I was genuinely relieved when he was able to stop Otto from delivering the beating he intended against Cardiac, though I did feel it rang slightly hollow after we saw no intervention of this kind at all during Otto’s last few acts of violence. After all, we saw Peter staying Otto’s hand as early as Superior Spider-Man #1. Now in this issue he acts like he’s doing it for the first time, which strikes me as somewhat sloppy writing.

I even have to say that Ramos did a pretty decent job rendering the whole fight. His action sequences are often highly confusing, but here he did a nice job of showing the super-powered scuffle between these two as they crashed into warehouse crates and leaped around with bolts of energy flying everywhere. 

2…Why on earth would you give it a second chance?

Part of the reason why I appreciated this issue is because it felt old school in the right ways. Slott is relying even more heavily than usual on internal dialogue to move the plot forward, going so far as to have Cardiac give a mental monologue to himself for the whole first page of the book just so readers know who he is and what he’s up to. Cardiac’s thoughts are delivered in old school style “thought bubbles,” rather than the modern square caption style — but those captions are still used for Otto’s thoughts. It separates the two in an effectively subtle way and distinguishes Cardiac as a sort of forgotten hero of a lighter, nobler time. (This characterization is a little bizarre, I’ll grant, considering that Cardiac was invented in the early 90s. But somehow it works for me.) 

Otto’s woken up by his phone alerting him of trouble, and with barely even a monologue about how superior he is (finally!), goes swinging off into the night. There’s no delay before he comes face to face with Cardiac and a skirmish ensues that moves the plot along quickly. The focus on flashy superhuman combat with a lot of cheesy expository dialogue, while still developing a lot of story, reminded me of old 60s and 70s Spidey stories in a way I genuinely enjoyed. I was particularly impressed by this because I usually feel much less warm towards Slott’s attempts at bringing back “old school” writing to his comics. It didn’t feel forced to me here, and that made all the difference.

3Good. Now back to base. And step on it.

Finally, Spidey goes to see the Avengers, and I’m right alongside Ghost Peter this time as he expresses his relief that they are finally expressing a delayed reaction over Otto’s suspicious behavior. It’s still annoying to me when I see lines like “I was starting to think you were all taking stupid pills” from Peter, because it’s proof that Slott must be aware of the weak links in his own plot chain, but the upshot of all this is that Cap and his squad are finally putting their feet down and insisting that Spidey get checked out, leaving us on an exciting cliffhanger just as Otto prepares to resist them with force.

While I don’t love every part of it, for the most part this is the issue of Superior I’ve been hoping for. It’s finally delivering on some of the promising plot developments Slott has been teasing, and it was an action-packed read not bogged down by too much absurdity. If this had happened a few issues ago I’d have a much higher opinion of Superior as a whole.

Pros: A solid return for Cardiac, and a very well done fight scene between him and Otto. Characterization is good throughout, and Slott is finally moving the Superior storyline forward in ways that grab my attention and keep me interested in the next issue. 

Cons: The only significant one I can think of is the way Peter’s sudden intervention was treated like a fresh discovery, which was a bit of a head-scratcher for me.

Grade: A-

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(12) Comments

  1. Jason

    I wasn't sold on Ock as Spidey before, but I'm intrigued with the internal battle between Ock and Peter. Also curious to see what the Avengers discover, if anything.I do find it odd Ock, despite is bad attitude, has a better relationship with law enforcement than Peter ever did.

  2. Jason

    "I did feel it rang slightly hollow after we saw no intervention of this kind at all during Otto’s last few acts of violence. After all, we saw Peter staying Otto’s hand as early as Superior Spider-Man #1. Now in this issue he acts like he’s doing it for the first time, which strikes me as somewhat sloppy writing."I saw it as Peter's continued determination to break into Ock's consciousness. He's still learning he can have some control over Ock's thoughts and movements.

  3. NorthernRedStar

    @8It's the highlighted coloring due to the nature of Cardiac's armor / bodysuit. In the earlier panels he's clearly African-American, although now that you mention it, that hairstyle is disturbingly similar to Mr. Osborn who has been missing for numerous issues now...This review pretty much lines with my thoughts, I think this was a steady issue with some good use of "older spidey style" storytelling and dialogue. Could have been the best issue of Superior for now, and definetely leaves you wanting the next one.

  4. hornacek

    @7I was thinking THE SAME THING! Isn't Cardiac African-American?When I first saw that image I thought "oh, that's a different way to bring Cardiac back - have Norman use this costume to disguise himself, like when Spidey had those 4 different identies". But no mention was made of Norman in the review so I guess that's not the case? But still, that guy does not look African-American so is it a coloring mistake? Or is this a different guy as Caridac but just not Norman?

  5. Erik Lexie - Post author

    Peter will finally regain control of his body. But at the last second, Otto will force him to relive all his memories of being an abused child and having the world cast him aside and ignore his vast genius. Falling to his knees in a sudden epiphany, Peter will vow to live the rest of his days as a new Dr. Octopus, and show the world that he really was the greatest genius of all. But he will be a greater Dr. Octopus than Otto ever was... THE DEFINITIVE DR. OCTOPUS!

  6. Erik Lexie - Post author

    We have no idea if he was there for Massacre since we didn't see it and then it got swept under the rug.

  7. Web-Head

    I think the times with Vulture, Screwball & Jester Peter was pulled out and into Ock's memories whenever Ock starts having intense memories coming on, don't remember it happening for Massacre though , I think he was there the whole time.

  8. Donovan Grant

    How come Peter stopped Ock from wasting Cardiac here, but couldn't when he killed Massacre?

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