Superior Spider-Man #14 Review (By Chris!)


Screen Shot 2013-07-25 at 11.36.50 PMThis is a wacky issue. Leave a comment!

THE SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #14
 “A Blind Eye”
WRITER: Dan Slott
PENCILER: Humberto Ramos
INKER: Victor Olazaba
COLOR ART: Edgar Delgado
LETTERER: Chris Eliopoulos

 

PLOT POINTS:

      • The Superior Spider-Man (Otto Octavius’s mind in Peter Parker’s body) leads an army of spider-themed paramilitary troopers and giant spider robots into Shadowland, the Kingpin’s stronghold in Hell’s Kitchen. This spider brigade guns down a lot of ninjas.
      • Blackmailed by Spider-Man, Mayor Jameson must unwillingly sanction this operation.
      • The Kingpin fakes his death by killing a body double and flees in a one-man submarine. The Hobgoblin (Phil Urich) must fend for himself. Thanks to the Green Goblin’s tampering with Spidey’s tech, the spider-bots cannot detect Goblins, so Hobgoblin escapes.
      • The surviving ninjas join the Green Goblin’s underground army. Dubbing himself the “Goblin Kingpin of Crime,” Green Goblin announces that he now controls 52% of New York’s organized crime.
SPIDERZORD!

SPIDERZORD!

OPINIONS!

This issue is about Spider-Man and a death squad of robots and soldiers slaughtering ninjas. After you’ve read that sentence, you either want to buy this comic or you don’t. I honestly don’t think any review can add or subtract from that basic truth.

Superior Spider-Man #14 tickled me in a good way. I can’t help but crack a grin at Slott and Ramos’s to-the-maxness and the sheer in-your-facemanship of their craft. Even as someone who often prefers stories emphasizing character development and relationship dynamics, I can dig an issue like this every now and then, especially when they are this well-executed.

To great effect, the issue begins from the perspective of a Hell’s Kitchen resident and his son, whom we meet again toward the end of the main sequence. Hearing the repetitive “TOOM” sound effect of the Imperial Spider-Walkers rattle their apartment, and seeing the massive machine’s leg through their window grants the reader a ground-level feel for the scale of Spider-Man’s urban assault. That sense of enormity stuck with me throughout the shock and awe of the insane massacre to follow.

Slott’s new story direction makes the Superior Spider-Man less of a conventional “gritty” anti-hero and more like a “super-villain-hero,” for lack of a better term. That is, he fights crime using tactics and an attitude associated with a saturday morning stock villain, such as themed minions, maniacal monologues, and huge mechanical spiders. I can’t say whether or how many times this particular spin on familiar comic tropes has been done in the past, but to me it at least seems like a fresh avenue for a leading, mainstream superhero title to take. Slott, with his affection for cliches and hammy dialogue, is probably the perfect writer to do something like this, and Otto Octavius is the perfect character with which to do it.

Now, a comic that relies extensively on bombastic spectacle requires a decent artist, and this issue has the next best thing: Humberto Ramos. I credit his exaggerated style for emphasizing this story’s cartoonish and frenetic nature. On the other hand, I really dislike his rendition of Spider-Man. Here is the debut of a new Spidey costume–one Ramos himself designed–yet all I can think about is how ugly Spider-Man looks with his swollen back, his torso that impossibly swivels at the base of his rib cage, and his grotesquely deformed legs. Preview images for upcoming issues drawn by different artists reveal that this is a cool suit design, but the getup’s creator sure doesn’t introduce it attractively.

Spider-Man should probably see a chiropractor about . . . uh . . . everything.

Spider-Man should probably see a chiropractor about . . . uh . . . everything.

I have two random points before I sign off. First, I found the Kingpin’s body double, “Smedley Kornfeld,” hilarious. That may say something disturbing about me considering he dies three panels after he’s introduced, but the idea of someone whose job it is to sit on a couch eating chicken wings until the Kingpin needs a fat, dead decoy is funny to me for some sick reason. Second, I’m getting tired of the Green Goblin subplot. Every few issues Slott teases us with a glimpse of the Goblin recruiting a few more henchmen, but I’m beyond finding that interesting without more. Get on with the show, already. But good work, overall.

Screen Shot 2013-07-25 at 11.39.43 PM

B

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(16) Comments

  1. ratpack223

    Okay, Wacker had his 90s fun. When people will look back at this nightmare Spidey period, they will say, WTF were they thinking? Can we move on now, please? Before the character is completely ruined?

  2. Andrew Roebuck

    Wow I am surprised everyone enjoyed this issue. To me I thought this was my all time least favourite issue of Superior yet. The new costume comes out of nowhere with no explanation. I thought the Giant Spider robot was completely over the top and ridiculous. I understand that he is making Spock be a hero like a villain with giant robots, and minions it just seemed to over the top to me. Also I got so annoyed with the Kingpin lookalike. I am glad Slott got rid of the Shadowland but solving a bad story....with a bad story doesn't make right for me. This is just my views on the issue other takes are completely understandable.

  3. Phantom Roxas

    So glad that you used that particular screenshot of Ramos' suit. A perfect example of why I can't stand his art.

  4. stillanerd

    @#8 CrazyChris--I admit it's a theory that isn't entirely perfect and but of a long shot (although Doc Ock being in Peter Parker's body was one as well) However, let's consider the following: *When the Green Goblin first appeared, the immediate assumption was that it was Norman Osborn. However, Dan Slott has making a big deal about the Green Goblin's true identity, including at this years Comic Con, by essentially saying "How do you know he's really Norman? We have yet to see who it really is under the mask." That pretty much suggests the Green Goblin simply being Norman Osborn is far too obvious. *Also, given how gradual this Green Goblin subplot has been compared to how fast other developments have occurred in Superior Spider-Man, it seems evident that Slott is setting up the eventual confrontation between SpOck and the Goblin King as some big climatic battle for Superior Spider-Man. *Given the teaser that came with Inhumanity in which Marvel says is showing the prominent characters in 2014 in the Post-Inhumanity status quo, it shows the Amazing Spider-Man rather than SpOck. That, right there, suggests Peter Parker is going to return somehow, someway sometime next year, coincidentally in the same year as the Amazing Spider-Man 2 film. *Look how Norman Osborn disappeared from the hospital--he apparently left without any of the usual security being present and left on the very same day Julia Carpenter was admitted into that very same hospital. Julia was the only person who knew Peter was in danger and, having Madame Web's telepathic powers, could easily use them, even while in a coma, to control Norman's body in a desperate attempt to save Peter. *Note how in Superior Spider-Man #4, the Green Goblin tells those two Vulture kids that he knows all of the Spider's secrets and tricks. But of course, that doesn't actually make sense for two reasons: 1. Because if the Goblin logically wouldn't know that Spider-Man is now really Doc Ock and 2. Norman no longer knows that Peter is Spider-Man thanks to Dr. Strange's psychic blindspot. The only way this statement would be accurate is if the Goblin knows Doc Ock is in Spider-Man's body, and the only person that would fit would be Peter himself. *We know, thanks to Superior Spider-Man #10 and this issue that this Goblin has a lot scientific and technical skill, enough to reprogram the spider-bots to overlook anything Goblin related. That eliminates Harry Osborn, Gabriel Stacy, and Bart Hamilton as possible suspects. Maybe even Roderick Kingsley since, even though he has technical skills, is not nearly at the level reprogramming the spider-bots would suggest. Which leaves either Norman or Peter. *Out of all the spider-bots he tells the former Vulture kids to check out, he specifically picks the one right outside Mary Jane's nightclub. And notice those kids didn't actually know why they were sent there, nor were they actually ordered to firebomb the club. That was something they decided to do once they found out the spider bot couldn't detect them. And notice it was completely shut down, as evidenced by the fact that the phones and wi-fi at the club no longer worked BEFORE the Goblin kids flew over to cause mischief. *Also, with regards to speech, behavior, and actions, keep in mind that, if Peter is in Norman's body, Norman's mind would still be in there as well. Not to mention that the Goblin Formula does make a person insane. Both of these things could very well be affecting Peter if he's in Norman's body.

  5. hornacek

    @8 - Regarding my Pacific Rim post, I'd agree with you if this wasn't the first time this sort of thing happened in Slott's run: - Zombie pirates attack in an issue around the time the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie is released. - Spidey creates a new Neon stealth Spider-suit around the time Tron Legacy is release. I know those two movies are Disney owned so it made sense for Marvel to want to promote them, and Pacific Rim is from Warner Bros, but I wouldn't put it past Slott to think "Hey, there's a movie about giant robots coming out around this time, let's put that in this issue." I guess it could be a coincidence.

  6. CrazyChris

    7 - I honestly don't think we have any clues as to this Goblin's identity. The idea that he's Peter makes no sense to me. Absolutely nothing about his speech, behavior, or actions points to that.

  7. CrazyChris

    1 - Any similarity is probably a coincidence. 2 - I think the program maybe recognized the Osborn technology in Phil's gear. Just a guess. 3 - Any similarity is probably a coincidence. 4 - I think the Green Goblin would probably not want Hobgoblin running around. The fact that Green Goblin's program benefits Hobgoblin seems like an unintentional side effect. 5 - Because the Green Goblin's program is not widely known about. 6 - Yeah.

  8. stillanerd

    @#4 reader--Actually, I think the "Goblin Protocol" that's been programmed into the spider bots is automatic and not under the Green Goblin's direct control. Meaning that whenever it sees anything directly associated with the Green Goblin, be his equipment, mask, or tattoos, the spider-bot instantly ignores it. The Hobgoblin costume Phil wears came from one of Osborn's hidden stashes and therefore coincidentally fell under the "Goblin Protocol" program. BTW, I still believe that the Green Goblin--or rather the Goblin Kingpin of Crime--is indeed Peter Parker in Norman Osborn's body. Or to be more precise he's both Peter AND Norman.

  9. Donovan Grant

    Totally agree with that Ramos panel of Spider-Man kicking. I couldn't tell how he did that at first.

  10. reader

    Can't imagine Norman or Pete (if it's him) letting Hobgoblin go. If he wants to be a crime lord then I'd think he'd want to be the only goblin around, unless it's Kingsley in the Green Goblin outfit then it kinda makes a bit more sense since he has a thing with Phil.

  11. Big Al

    This sounds a lot like Superior #9 for me. It’s a premise and status quo I hate but at the same time they execute that premise really well. I genuinely want to read this out of the synopsis alone because it sounds so gloriously OTT. Plus I like Goblin so this sounds interesting. I do have to question how you program a robot to NOT detect someone just because they wear a mask that looks like a Goblin.

  12. hornacek

    "an army of spider-themed paramilitary troopers and giant spider robots" Hmm, could Slott have known that Pacific Rim would have just been released when this issue came out?

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