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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(18) Comments

  1. Sbee

    @16 yeah true but this time whatever spider-faux makes will retroactively erase Peter from the marvel universe and everyone's memories forever and even change the movies to make it so it was spider-faux who was the spidey in them!! Nothing can stop slott!!

  2. hornacek

    @15 - "erases Peter from the marvel universe forever!!!" Didn't Slott already do that in ASM #700? And again in SSM #9

  3. Sbee

    @14 haha don't be surprised when spidey-faux pulls out a goblin repellant down the line and just humiliates green goblin in one spray. Or better yet Peter Parker repellant spray and takes it like an inhalant and erases Peter from the marvel universe forever!!!

  4. hornacek

    @12 - The ridiculousness of SpOck's arsenal is reaching the levels of "Batman Shark Repellent".

  5. Nick

    I hope zach comes back to the show and scarlet spider vs Spock is good because they both need their asses handed to them

  6. Sbee

    @11 you're right him working at horizon does give slott some leeway but my god man with the force that this faux spider has I'm uhh pretty sure the avengers would at least make a call. He has the forces that rival doom even and that's absurd on so many levels ugh. I look back on the tron suit now myself as the golden years of slotts run we'll as golden as you can get with this legendary writer.

  7. hornacek

    @10 - I know SpOck works at Horizon Labs and Ock would have lots of tech from his previous criminal schemes and lairs, but it is pretty ridiculous that all of a sudden he has this robotic spider-army. Remember when Slott had Peter create his new Tron suit and some of us cried foul about it? Who would have thought we'd be looking back on that as "the good ole days of Slott's run". Peter creating a stealth Spidey-suit seems completely believable compared to this spider-army.

  8. Sbee

    It's amazing to me that this superior spider-man can all of a sudden haves mechs and an actual army at the drop of a hat. And it seems shadowlands was brought up just for him to conquer it and once again for slott to show off his spider-man and how incredible he is. This has to be the worst case of wish fulfillment I've seen in a while. I'm assuming next he'll take over the hellacarrier and make fury his secretary.or just come in and take over jean grey and Charles Xavier's school for mutants just because. Sorry for the rant where's my Peter Parker?

  9. Darth Batsy

    @4 - I have to agree with you. I miss Peter's jokes and ability to ad lib during a fight to bring the conflict to an end. Granted it would be nice to see Peter back in action actually using a bit more preparation for taking down folks like he did in Spider Island. All the same...the Superior book has become Inferior in both plot movement and interest value. @7,8 - I'm afraid Marvel will push this as far as they can in the name of the almighty 3.99. Would that we be so lucky for this to end soon. I'd almost be willing to buy the ending of this book just to watch Slott have to crucify his favorite character.

  10. Jack Brooks

    That's what I am concerned about. This series isn't a bad idea, as long as it has an absolute slam-bang ending, and Otto has the wrath of God come crashing down on his head in spectacular manner. But the fact that it's selling so well will motivate Marvel to drag it on- and-on, way past its sell-by date.

  11. Barrel Jumper

    14 issues and even the reviews are starting to seem tired and unoriginal, I can only imagine how bad the actual comic is. They had a decent idea for a 3-4 issue storyline, but like the Clone Saga it is clear Marvel will milk SpOck until sales drop low (God make that soon).

  12. Xan

    Plots like these just really reinforce to me how much Ock!Spidey seems to be Dan Slott's self-insert power fantasy in the meantime until the inevitable reveal of how Peter is the truly Superior Spider-Man.

  13. Extreme Spider

    Anyone else gets the feeling that due to the enclosed nature the Spider-Books has taken since OMD that the "destruction of Shadowland" won't be referenced by anyone else in the Marvel Universe? And btw the idea of Spider-Man becoming Batman and having a plan for even when a bird shits is getting real old. Dude even has a Zord...

  14. Eddie

    " the point where the stories won’t be mistaken for anything other than children’s entertainment." WORD!

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