The Superior Spider-Man #15 Review

3222743-15 IN THIS ISSUE!

  •  –Carlie and Yuri Watanabe return to investigate Ock’s crimes/heroic actions
  •  –Mary Jane and Aunt May begin to get suspicious of “Peter’s” behavior

Spider-Pus hones in on the Hobgoblin and enacts a scheme to flush him out and destroy him forever!

Read more to learn more!

“RUN, GOBLIN, RUN! Part 1 of 2, The Tinkerer’s Apprentice”

Written by Dan Slott

Illustrated by Humberto Ramos

Inked by Victor Olazaba

Colored by Edgar Delgado

Lettered by VC’s Chris Eliopoulos

THE PLOT: In the wake of Shadowland’s destruction, Carlie Cooper and Lt. Watanabe decide to take matters in their own hands and investigate where the money came from to pay for SpOck’s tech. While that’s happening, Phil (Hobgoblin) Urich has been bleeding funds since the apparent death of the Kingpin. He takes to robbing banks, eventually regaining SpOck’s notice.

LONG STORY SHORT: SpOck activates “PLAN OMEGA ONE” and broadcasts Phil’s double identity all over New York, just as Phil’s barged into the Daily Bugle.

MY THOUGHTS: Once again this is an issue which does a fairly solid job developing the story and setting up seeds for future issues…and again, I am really frustrated with how Slott chooses to tell his story.

It might honestly just be me, and I’m okay with that. Reviews everywhere are gushing about the brilliance of Slott’s Superior writing, but for the life of me I only see the opposite. There are developments in this issue which I found very intriguing, followed immediately by goofy, hackneyed dialogue and exposition that took me out of the story and made me cringe. Tiberius Stone is revealed to be in league with the Terrible Tinkerer, which is a genuinely interesting place for him to be at. As soon as that’s revealed however, Slott has him dip into an insane monologue that ends when he screams out loud to no one in particular “YOU MESSED WITH THE WRONG NERD!” Sure, it’s meant to be funny and clearly more of an active nudge to old-school villain tropes than not, but because it’s so nonsensical I don’t enjoy it.

Superior_15_02 Moments like these in of themselves aren’t big deals, and I’d be a tool for pretending that they were. They don’t make the difference between a passing grade and a failing grade, but when they’re repeated ad nauseam and lack the sense of tongue-in-cheek, they drag the book down.

What remains to be most egregious is the NYPD’s abject refusal to do anything about Spider-Man flagrantly committing murder. This time he has outright slaughtered people with no regard for due process in front of people. The only comment this earns? “Well, now we won’t have to spend money on a trial!”

This is bad. If Slott has to have Spidey act so demented in public, stop having Cooper and Watanabe treat it like a cover-up for their amateur private detective agency to look into and appropriate the necessary consequences to give the story its proper weight. How can the Avengers let this go? Why isn’t Mary Jane reacting at all? Daredevil? This is such an obvious jump from Spidey’s normal MO, wouldn’t they at least ask Peter about it? If Slott had Ock tell people that he as Peter has changed due to the events of #700, I would buy the lack of interest in showing the reactions from his closest companions. But this is just stupid. After talking to herself in the middle of her burned down nightclub as though she never left, Mary Jane says out loud to herself that Peter might not be himself before dismissing that as being crazy. Because she’s never seen him be cloned before, or heard of the Chameleon before, or some stupid shit, I don’t care anymore. We’re way past Mary Jane needing to play a bigger role in this title. The reasons why she should at least be talking to Carlie about it are innumerable. All Slott is doing now is showing what a moron she is for continuing to write off his bad behavior with a shrug.

The main point is this: If we’re going to read about Ock acting however he wants as Spider-Man, we have to be seen the natural consequences from those actions. It is the self-evident interest in reading the book.

The issue does improve in it’s third act with the Hobgoblin. After a needless scene of the ESU Chancellor that Peter will get credit for the tests that he aced (isn’t that the point of taking and passing the tests? Why is that in question?), SpOck goes after the Hobgoblin and immediately seeks to shut him down once and for all. Phil’s story has been interesting in how it’s been compared to Peter’s as a story of a young person turned hero/villain. To see it seemingly end with his identity blown is pretty cool, as most blown identity stories are usually about the heroes. I’d like to think we’ll be seeing more of Robbie and Ben Urich in response to this, but we won’t.

gob4I also really like Ramos in this issue. The three-artist roster does well for this title, as every time Ramos returns his work looks fresh and energetic. Credit also goes to Edgar Delgado for the wonderful colors. He’s been a welcome addition to the character after Dean White’s work with Romita Jr. which I never cared for.

I hesitate to say that this issue isn’t good, because I think that, ultimately, it is. The crap that Slott is having SpOck get away with really kills my enjoyment, and it just feels like we’re wasting our time in reading the title. Slott could have SpOck murder Captain America at a kid’s birthday party and all we’d get is a “IS SPIDER-MAN ACTING STRANGE?!” news blurb and Carlie and Watanabe stroking their chins while they do nothing. I’ve really had it with that aspect of the comic.


(44) Comments

  1. Nick w

    Big Al you sir are a wizard because in #12 you brought up a good point if spock is so damn good why did he get his ass handed to him and his neck snapped i agree. I know being a writer isnt easy but come on slott

  2. Big Al

    To #39-40 May could tell in minutes when the master of disguise, the Chameleon was impersonating Peter during Civil War. I don’t see how the woman who raised this man could be so blind to the obvious. Personally I think MJ should’ve been, not on the case but known something was wrong long before Massacre. Again, past stories support this. If Slott wanted to tell this, why not just minimise or not have May or MJ interact with Otto at all? I could possibly buy the other characters not know what is up. That being said didn’t people AT HORIZION already notice Peter was acting odd?

  3. Asa

    @40 Don't you think that the people at Horizon would also notice that he's gone all mad scientist and then just stopped turning up to work? Spider-man suddenly becoming ultra violent and the avengers not stepping in, especially after he hires goons and kills people in broad daylight? None of these things would be ringing any alarm bells to you? Even a member of the public could see that spider-man has changed drastically, and so much of the plot and writing just don't make sense from a logical perspective its hard to suspend disbelief.

  4. Mike 13

    @ 39 - agree to disagree I guess... May wouldn't think anything is wrong with Peter aside from the fact that he's been genuinely more nicer to her... as far as him disappearing from her life (as it's been recently), it's not like Peter has never been gone unexplained for lengthy periods of time before... I do agree however that MJ should be more on top since the Massacre killing... I get that one... but in the end, it's not ruining the story for me... I understand that Slott is purposefully keeping the flow as to who investigates what and who's suspicious (or not), but in my opinion, I don't think anyone (except for the MJ/Massacre situation) is acting "out of character".

  5. Big Al

    To #38-Occassionally noticing something is off about Peter once or twice across 15+ issues but not acting upon it or dismissing it despite the extremly obvious ways Peter is not acting himself is not the characters being suspicious. That is them being dumb for the sake of the plot. It wouldn't be AS egregious if Otto was actually only subtly different from Peter but he's acting waaaaaaaaaaaaay differently. I am not saying they should all be figuring out exactly what happened but Mary Jane and Aunt May especially should have figured out that there is something seriously wrong with peter and done something in reaction to that around like issue #2. Those two characters have been in extremly similar situations to this before and reacted differently to how they have here. They're basically being written out of character to facilitate this thing

  6. Mike 13

    @ 37 - It's not like nobody is suspicious, but everyone is acting like Mary Jane and others should have been all over a Dr. Strange prostate exam with SpOck by issue #3... I think it's flowing nicely enough for me, and it's holding up fine... in MY opinion. :)

  7. Big Al

    To #35- Because you have to do it organically, you can't just unplug the rules for the sake of the story you want to tell. We could have a story where Spider-Man in on the moon and that'd be a unique opportunity but if the logic and storytelling about how we got there and what Spider-Man does there doesn't hold up, then it isn't worth it at all

  8. Jack

    The entire series is founded on what Ebert called the Idiot Plot: everyone has to act like an idiot for the plot to keep happening.

  9. Mike 13

    I'm loving the book... at some point, Peter will be back, so why not explore this really unique opportunity that we'll never see happen again? I'm not staying awake at night wondering which characters in the book are acting stoopid? If that were the case, I would have stopped buying comics in the early 90's... Sheesh...

  10. Duarte

    What I really don´t understand is how can everyone here complain on and on about Slott´s writting, his ideias and basically everything, yet everyone is still buying the book? This is a genuine question, i´m not trying to be a smart ass. Since ASM 700 I have yet to buy a single SM book. It´s not that hard, basically I have the same reasons as everyone here. Besides there are so many forums, reviews and previews that I don´t have to read the story to know what´s happening

  11. Big Al

    To #30-That's what I mean by acting out of character. Usually I hate when this happen but I just want this whole era to be forgotten about.

  12. Sbee

    @24 no I meant with the characters reactions and behavior. Every character besides spider-faux since superior started have dropped 50 iq points it seems. It's just frustrating what I've got to believe these characters act and do.

  13. Lockdown

    I agree, I'm tired of the supporting cast acting like complete idiots. I said that in my own review of the book. It's getting old with Carley knowing all and saying all but doing NOTHING!

  14. Jack

    The Tinkerer doesn't seem so terrible these days (though obviously he is enabling various super-powered thieves and hit-men). Slott does like to break character patterns, and when it works, it's good. It's when he has to stick to an established template, even one that has worked well for forty years, then he loses steam, and starts bending characters into contorted shapes.

  15. DadaHyena

    I enjoyed seeing the Tinkerer still running his repair shop-front (even if he's had to move several times when supervillain schmucks use the front door and alert the neighbors!); his exchange with Hobgoblin was funny and his interaction with Tiberius was almost touching in a grandfatherly sort of way. Little things like this always seem more memorable than the action scenes to me.

  16. Jack

    People are interested in this because there's an end-game assumed. If Marvel ever announced that Peter Parker was really Gwen-Stacey-kind-of dead, and meant it (instead of their usual phoniness), customers would be very unhappy. Slott is driving this series down the same street that Cuse and Lindelof did with LOST, and if he doesn't stick the landing people will be disgusted the same way they were with the LOST finale.

  17. Big Al

    To be honest I am at the point where I’d be willing to write off the characterisation of everyone under Slott and since BND the same way we all wrote off Mackie’s and Byrne’s characterisation in the Reboot. Like everyone ignores how Flash laughed at Peter for having a dead wife and Peter sleeping on the streets. To #22-You still have a suspension of disbelief? Wow. I remember having that when I read Spider-Man.

  18. Sbee

    @22 I find it so frustrating that we as fans of spider-man now have low expectations for the next issue of superior. When slott finally gets ripped from this book and I assure you he won't go willingly he will leave such a stain on the spidey universe that he will go to the top of the list as most hated writers for spider-man. I currently don't have any expectations for superior I can't even stomach one issue without all the suspension of belief you have to apply to the series. I fear when Kane and this imitation finally meet.

  19. Xellos85

    Like another reviewer said, I enjoyed this issue but mainly because my expectations are pretty low at this point. I expect cheesy, over-the-top exposition - it's Slott's bread and butter. I was just happy to see the supporting cast again, even if they mostly acted like idiots. MJ figuring it out and then immediately disregarding it as "crazy" was especially annoying. My disbelief suspension is being pushed, and if someone doesn't start putting it together soon and we don't get some kind of end game plan - it's really going to get old.

  20. Enigma_2099

    @#19 This is Marvel. They'll do it, and they won't explain it. Screwing with continuity is how we got here in the first place!!! And you want them to stick with it NOW?!?!? @#14 Read #16...

  21. RDMacQ

    @17- Sure, the supporting cast should have a better reason. But the likelihood that we'd get something like that is unlikely. At least under Slott's tenure. He's not big on recognizing his mistakes or acknowledging previous flaws. @18- Watanabe dying is perhaps a logical route to go, since it would show that Ock isn't "reformed" and it would put Carlie more into a corner. But I doubt that Carlie would go to MJ. If anything, I'd say MJ would go to her, and they'd compare notes. Carlie won't get reamed out, since she's the creator's pet. Remember, Carlie can never do anything wrong. If anyone gets on her case, it shows how unreasonable THEY are.

  22. Big Al

    #13 and #16-no it can be fixed without a full reboot, it just requires effort. Rebooting it is the easy fix to everything and also the dramatically lazy option. I WANT the continuity to stay in place, just rebooting it whenver something get's hard is a really wimpy thing to do. Say there were some kind of nanotech octobots in everyone's system dulling thier reactions to SpOck or that a telepath was restraining them, something like that. #18- I'm not crazy about Watanabe but...if one of the two people investigating this must die let it be Carlie.I hate her character but actually I'd rather she die because Watanabe reminds me a bit of Jean DeWolffe and I think Spider-Man should have a regular friend on the police force again like he did with Jean. Also i thought the spider sense works on non-threatening stuff. Like wasn't he able to tell what room MJ was in when he was asleep in Marvel Knights?

  23. stillanerd

    @9 CrazyChris--Especially when you consider that she should've told Mary Jane her suspicions the moment she found out MJ was going out with "Peter" again. However, I have feeling Carlie wanting to get hard evidence against SpOck is going to seriously backfire, especially now that Captain Watanabee is going to become the Wraith again, which also means you just know Watanabee is going to die and thus Carlie will be in serious trouble. @10 reader--To be fair, it may not have gone off because it doesn't register Anna Maria as potential threat.

  24. Superspidey

    @15 I think that the supporting cast needs a better reason for not realising than "oh yeah, I wasn't really paying attention when you brutalised and murdered all those people and invaded the privacy of everyone in Manhattan, my bad."

  25. Superspidey

    @14 because the characters have all changed dramatically to fit Slott's purposes, Peter would inevitably be blamed for the crimes Spock committed whilst in his body, he would have to rebuild the relationships with all the people around him as well as get a new job etc. It'd be so much easier to reboot the sh*t out of the entire universe than to try fix this mess.

  26. RDMacQ

    @14- I'm inclined to agree. There's nothing being done here that couldn't just be resolved with (a) putting Peter back in control of his own body and (b) having people (preferably being written by another writer who can look at this objectively) come out and say that they should have known something was up sooner and that it was their fault for not doing anything to intervene.

  27. Nick MB

    @13 Why? They haven't done any major retcons or changed the continuity as far as I can see. All it would require to "fix" it is to write Peter back into his body, surely? You could do it in one or two issues if you wanted to.

  28. Big Al

    Let me get this straight. Mary Jane lives in a world where Skrulls have invaded, where her in-laws turned out to be robots, where her ex’s aunt died but was an actress, where one of her ex’s enemies entire gimmick is that he impersonates people and for several months thought the Peter Parker she’d known for years was a clone with the exact same memories...but the idea that Peter isn’t himself is just CRAZY (town banana pants)? Even defenders of Superior #2 can’t let this s*** slide. This is beyond out of character now, Mary Jane is not this passive and was never this dumb. #2 – I agree about the dialogue but I think JMS had good ideas, at least in his first half. Most notably he thought Aunt May should know the secret #3 - you are right. I mean the Bugle was not the ONLY anti-Spider-Man institution around so why would other papers like the Daily Globe be suddenly cool with Spider-Man’s actions? #5 – Slott seems to be showing Ock as ‘right’ by covering up or preventing the consequences from happening. The absence of bad stuff means Ock was in the right, right? #6-Thats a good point actually, why did Otto used to lose all the time if he’s this near- batman strategist? #8 and #9 – If Slott’s pet character has even been dumbed down we’re in trouble

  29. Sbee

    Ha I like the idea that spider-faux will have to kill a big time hero in order to get investigated and leave it to slotts ahem intelligence it's going to be hulk or Thor. 2heroes spidey would never have a chance at killing but spider-faux can because of how brilliant he is as a hero. I saw him in the new marvel event infinity man galactus is in for a surprise when he meets this far smarter faster stronger and just overall better spider-man. I bet slott held his precious spider-faux hostage unless he was promised galactus was defeated by him.

  30. reader

    Ock's spider-sense should have warned him when Anna picked his pocket, or maybe not, I don't know. I guess stillanerd was right about the "goblin protocol".

  31. CrazyChris

    8 - Carlie is the stupidest character in this whole thing. She has known about the mind swap since ASM 700 and has not done anything about it.

  32. Enigma_2099

    Donovan, Donovan, Donovan... as long as Slott's writing the book, the only person that will act with any kind of intelligence when it comes to SpOck will be Carlie. Because she's so perfect, remember?

  33. Daddypool

    I guess that the "Parker Luck" is working "for" Otto, rather than against him. Or rather, now Spock is free from the "Octavius Luck"..... Still....Spock's approach to being a hero makes sense for who he is. It's just the personal life that is falling apart, as it did for Peter....

  34. Jack Brooks

    Then my question is, if Otto is so right about strategy and tactics all of a sudden, why did he used to lose all the time? (minus the "the villain must lose" rule). If peter was so illogical and unscientific, why did he win? All of a sudden, Otto is an infallible strategic genius. E.g. Peter didn't build an army of spider-bots maybe because he didn't think it was ethical to spy on everyone 24r hours a day, not because he was stoopid.

  35. J

    I remember seeing an interview with Chris Yost who said that the trick to doing a "Superior" book is to show how Otto is right. That seems to be their goal, the Spidey-Team I mean. I have mixed feelings about Slott's attempts to do this, but enjoy Yost's, by and large, thus far.

  36. J

    @2 "Strazynskis run had some appalling ideas, but goddamn, I have never read more natural dialogue from the title before or since." Preach!

  37. Darth Spidey

    So after reading this review I decided to take a study break at Barnes and Noble. Slott's latest book didn't disappoint my low expectations. Is it just me or is the plott armor he's used for so long like a window pane that refuses to shatter, but instead continues to grow an insane number of cracks? For just a moment Grant, I was pretty excited that it seems as though some of the main characters were beginning to piece thigns together that SpOck isn't Peter. Then it occurred to me how close the majority of these characters are in Peter's life. You're dead on in your analysis that Slott is telling the story in an Inferior method as opposed to the title. Slott literally has the phrase of Parker luck to a new extreme by allowing SpOck to do whatever the heck he wants. Remember the old days where Spidey so much as crossed the path of a murder, or some schmuck robbed a bank wearing a Spidey costume? The Bugle, NYPD, and even some of the neighboring heros were immediately on his case. Now we've got at least two public murders, not counting the other casualties and yet nobody is pointing a finger at SpOck. Forgive me but I can't credit Slott as a genious or even a good writer. I miss the Spidey that cracked jokes and actually handled his responsibilities without crossing the line. Is the end in sight?

  38. B-Mask

    Again, it's not that Slott's a terrible conceptual writer, but it seems that recently his desperation to put words on paper has lead to those ideas coming across as poorly written. It's hard to believe that people in the Spider Man universe used to speak like people. Strazynskis run had some appalling ideas, but goddamn, I have never read more natural dialogue from the title before or since.

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