Superior Spider-Man #14 Review (by Don)


3197636-14-digital A new dawn begins as Ock’s got a new costume, new crew, new weaponry, and a new grip on the forces of crime when he decimates Shadowland! But with the combination of the Kingpin, the Hobgoblin and the Green Goblin against him, is anything what it seems? “A Blind Eye”

Written by Dan Slott

Illustrated by Humberto Ramos

Inked by Victor Olazaba

Colored by Edgar Delgado

Lettered by VC’s Chris Eliopoulos

THE PLOT!: Superior Spidey has had enough, and leads a team of soldiers to annihilate Shadowland with the express intent to kill Wilson Fisk and the Hobgoblin.

LONG STORY SHORT!: Kingpin escapes, leaving Urich to fend for himself. He manages to go free once a spider-bot malfunctions thanks to the Green Goblin, who laughs with tickled glee that he’s the new Kingpin Goblin of Crime! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

MY THOUGHTS: Once again we have an issue that doesn’t have any real serious flaws and is overall an enjoyable comic.

And yet…

I dunno. It’s not my favorite type of issue.

Let’s get down to brass tacks. The thing is, Slott has a penchant for taking the traditional comic book nature of his stories (over-the-top plots, characters, plans and technology) and pushing them to the inth degree to the point where the stories won’t be mistaken for anything other than children’s entertainment.

This is not a bad thing, it really isn’t. But I’m prevented from fully enjoying it because the story is so unabashedly removed from anything remotely resembling reality. Spider-Man is introduced as having an entire army of soldiers and his own Spider-Gundams/Battlepods/Veritechs/Mobile Suits/Jaegers/*insert anime mecha reference here*s seemingly overnight and gets the drop on an entire city full of ninjas and criminals. Now when I’m reading this, I’m not actively saying to myself “How..?”, but my brain is. I’m going through the issue, reading panel by panel and getting the gist of where the story is going. But fact that this issue’s plot hinges on SpOck’s ability to just fart out unbeatable technology whenever he likes and overwhelm his opponents…I’m a bit tired of reading that.

This title has become entirely about Doctor Octopus’ ego, which it honestly should be about in some respects. Yet with every storyline ultimately being about him passing judgment on his foes and proclaiming how great he is, I get fatigued very quickly. There’s no variation, there’s no development of the theme besides the obvious, and it makes each issue come off as a result of a “Wouldn’t it be cool…” thought that came to Slott while he was out shopping. Granted there are consequences and developments for the overarching plot in this issue. Shadowland is gone/under control and the Goblin’s gaining a stronger grasp on New York. I’m still left not caring. The fact that Goblin has managed to funk up Ock’s spider-bots is intriguing, but it’s too little for me to get excited over. And Shadowland hasn’t been a major factor in the Marvel books for well over a year now, so at the end of the day it’s a non-issue that the Kingpin’s relieved of it. True, SpOck has saved hundreds of lives in taking it over, and we do see the “man on the street” response to his actions, which added a great touch to the issue. So why can’t I care more?

The fact is that it all goes back to service Ock’s ego in a very safe way that doesn’t upset the status quo. Kingpin says he can tell that Spider-Man’s not the same, but no more than that line is devoted to that realization. Jameson grumbles about SpOck’s flagrant abuse of whatever privileges he thinks he has, but the moment he opened his mouth you knew he’d get shouted down under the threat of being revealed as the tool that he is by SpOck. This would have been a nice way for Jameson to realize the error of his ways and consider coming forward with his machinations, but that would be far too interesting. This issue ultimately leaves me dissatisfied with the attention spent on just Ock destroying Shadowland.

Again, this is not a bad issue. Humberto Ramos’ art is busy and hyperkinetic in a big way that detracts from the action scenes , but it’s still not terrible. I find myself comparing this issue to the two part time traveling story with Grady Scraps last year after #Spider-Island. That remains to be my favorite story under Slott’s run because it was fun, light, entertaining and enjoyable in a way that didn’t claw at my senses. Maybe it was due to the really silly nature of time travel that kept it from being taken too seriously. Maybe it was the wonderful Mary Jane scenes that we saw in it. Whatever it is, I can’t put my hand on my heart and say that Slott has never done a story like that before. This issue is very similar, but I feel as though because this assumes it has stakes in destroying Shadowland, there’s a sense that there should be an underlying weight to whatever light-hearted nature the issue contains. Because I don’t give a flipping darn about Shadowland and nothing of real consequence comes from its loss, I care less about the story as a whole. It ends up reminding me that Slott’s approach to storytelling is akin to a kid playing with action figures. Again, not a wholly bad way to approach a comic, but it’s not my favorite way either.

I wasn’t totally immune to this issue’s silly charms. The scene of Kingpin introducing his double only to kill him for convenience was just wacky enough that it got a laugh from me. It’s completely goofy, but the Kingpin is a goofy character so what the hell, who cares.

My personal problems with the story don’t prevent me from recognizing that it’s not an incompetently written issue. It’s a stylistic preference, and your mileage my very well vary with this. Read it and decide for yourself.


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