Superior Spider-Man #15 (Chris’s Version)

ssm15An issue so epic it needed MULTIPLE REVIEWS!!! Read my review to learn why, and leave a comment!

 “Run, Goblin, Run! Part 1 of 2: The Tinkerer’s Apprentice”
WRITER: Dan Slott
PENCILER: Humberto Ramos
INKER: Victor Olazaba
COLOR ART: Edgar Delgado
LETTERER: Chris Eliopoulos



    • The Hobgoblin (AKA Phil Urich) visits the Tinkerer (AKA Phineas Mason) for equipment repairs. Tinkerer subcontracts the job to Tyberius Stone (AKA Ty). Ty retains a grudge against Phil from a previous story I’ve already forgotten about, so he sabotages Phil’s gear.
    • Carlie Cooper and Captain Watanabe don’t like Spider-Man’s (AKA Otto Octavius possessing Peter Parker’s body) murderous rampage from last issue one bit, and they’re going to put a stop to it . . . as soon as they get more proof!
    • Phil must pay Rodrick Kingsley (AKA the first Hobgoblin) royalties, so he commits a spree of robberies. The Green Goblin (AKA I’ve stopped caring who he is) himself vows to put Hobgoblin in his place, and deactivates the goblin-proof hacks he installed in Spider-Man’s tech so that Spider-Man can take Phil down.
    • Doc Ock has neglected his life as Peter Parker. However, he finds time to accompany Anna Maria Marconi to the Empire State University, where the chancellor awards “Peter” his final credit. “Peter” need only present his thesis to earn his doctorate.
    • Spidey’s minions locate Hobgoblin. While fighting Spider-Man, Hobgoblin’s weapons fail due to Ty’s tampering. Spider-Man follows Hobgoblin to the Daily Bugle, where he discovers the Hobgoblin’s true identity. Spider-Man pirates all the television channels is New York, tells the world that the Hobgoblin is Phil Urich, and provides a 1-800 number so that citizens can call in with information.


I initially rated this one as a B, but Don and Ryan’s reviews persuade me to slap a big old minus on that bad boy. They reminded me of the absurdity of the entire supporting cast’s failure to move past the “oh my, something’s off with Peter” phase. The dude just trampled into the middle of Manhattan in an A.T.A.T., killed a bunch of magic ninjas in cold blood, and (as far as the cast knows) murdered Wilson Fisk. In a world of super heroes, someone would put a stop to this. Mayor Jameson, whom Spider-Man identified as his font of authorization and funding, would be federally investigated. And Carlie Cooper, who has known about the mind swap since Amazing Spider-Man #700, should quit standing still and warn society that a psychopath has basically taken over the New York.

Where did you find the money to kill all those people, Spider-Man?

Where did you find the money to kill all those people, Spider-Man?

But what lets me look past the story’s flaws is this: Dan Slott is having an obscene amount fun and that enthusiasm infects the reader. (Yes, I presume to speak for “the reader.”) Honestly, I think the three recent Christos Gage-scripted issues helped me appreciate better the enthusiasm Slott brings to the table. Guys like Christos Gage and Chris Yost (good writers, by all means) write SpOck like it’s their job, or like a writing challenge to puzzle through. But Slott writes SpOck like there’s nothing he’d rather do. At every line of pompous dialogue like “minions, attend me!”, and at scenes like where SpOck’s face appears on all the Times Square monitors, flashing the 1-800-555-SPDY number, I visualize Slott giggling to himself at his writing desk. Not that a middle-aged man giggling in an empty room is a mental image I actively seek. Not that there would be anything wrong with it if I did. But one finds oneself swept up in the gleefulness with which Dan Slott writes Superior Spider-Man.

By the way, I think that was the first time I used the portmanteau “SpOck” in reference to the Spider-Man/Doc Ock hybrid. It’s my least favorite moniker fandom has constructed for that character–I’ve always preferred “Peterpus”–but “SpOck” caught on and I’ve quit resisting it.

Anyhooz, I enjoyed this issue. I enjoyed it even though I find characters like Phil Urich and Tyberius Stone grating and uninteresting. Phil earns some reader empathy by the issue’s end by actually being a relatable super villain and a truer “anti-Peter Parker” than other villains hitherto so described. I’m still rooting for him to die, but Slott and Ramos have me thrilling to the chase. Tyberius Stone is still an awful character, though.

Josh Bertone's reaction to Silver Sable and Spider-Woman's absence from the cover of Amazing Spider-Man 687.

Tyberius’s reaction to the movie scene where Superman snaps the Mandarin’s neck and makes off with his cocaine stash.

But I can tolerate minor irritants when the story remains substantially engaging. It’s not all goofy fun, either; we get solid character and relationship development. SpOck considers withdrawing from his life as Peter Parker to fully invest himself in Spider-Man, but right at that moment he receives a call from Anna Maria–the best character introduced in Slott’s run–and it becomes obvious, but not explicitly stated, that she is what’s tethering SpOck to the real world.

Two more points. First, I’m over the Green Goblin subplot. I don’t want to see him again until he does something. Technically, in this issue he undoes the one thing he’s done in this series by switching off his spider-hacks. Second, Ramos’s art in this issue looks far better than usual. He occasionally slips in a few awful proportions, but overall he keeps the story energetic without going too off-the-wall.

Not bad.

Not bad.



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(20) Comments

  1. Mike 13

    Probably... I bet this has a 50 issue life span... more if the sales maintain as high as they have been...

  2. Danold

    I think that Superior Spider-Man will last 100 issues. Might as well see the progression of Spock trying to rule the world.

  3. Barrel Jumper

    @12...and ever when Slott is done dragging it out, if sales are still decent Marvel will drag it out another 2-3 years. They have learned nothing from The Clone Saga.

  4. RDMacQ

    @9- Stillanerd- I do think that things won't end up rosy for Anna Marie. Personally speaking, I think it would be an interesting twist to have Ock "reveal" his ID to Anna, but have her reject him. Or he opens up to her in a moment of need, thinking she is his "soulmate" or that she would be able to "appreciate" him more, and she turns him away. I think it'd also be interesting if this happens while things are spiraling out of control for "Peter." You know, he's unable to manage his personal life, his empire is crumbling away, and he's finding that it's not as easy to live "Peter's" life as he boasted which leads him to turn more and more to outright villainy. Granted, whether or not that would happen is neither here nor there, but I think it'd be an interesting route to go as it would help to support the idea that Ock is NOT the "Superior" Spider-Man, which has been something the book has been pretty lax on as of late.

  5. stillanerd

    @#10 Nick MB--Oh, I would enjoy some variation of the first scenario, too, and tells Otto that, for all his proclamations of how "Superior" he is compared to Peter, he's not nearly the hero he thinks he is because, at the end of the day, he's still a liar, a hypocrite, and murderer. If it came from some other character, or even say Peter himself, it wouldn't nearly have the same punch; but if was Anna Maria who said it, it would potentially floor Otto.

  6. Nick MB

    @9 - My theory about the ending of Superior, for what it's worth, is that Otto will fall for Anna to the extent that he feels he should tell her the whole truth about who he is, and this will lead her to forcibly reject him. Which, in turn, will lead him to either go full tilt villain, just in time for Peter to somehow come back to stop him, or give up his hold on Peter's body to prove to her that he isn't all bad. I kinda hope they go for something like that rather than killing her off simply because it's less obvious, but interested to see either way.

  7. stillanerd

    "Where did you find the money to kill all those people, Spider-Man?" LOL! That caption of yours, Chris, I think perfectly encapsulates the utter ridiculousness behind the whole Carlie Cooper investigation subplot for the reasons you've pointed out. "...he receives a call from Anna Maria–the best character introduced in Slott’s run–and it becomes obvious, but not explicitly stated, that she is what’s tethering SpOck to the real world." Yep. Which makes me even more convinced that something really bad will happen to Anna Maria when all is said and done that will drive SpOck back into full-blown crazy super-villain mode. That and the fact that Anna Maria brings up the notion of "THEIR future together." I'm not sure if this means that Anna Maria will be SpOck's "Gwen Stacy" in the sense she'll be tragically killed, but one does get that feeling about her.

  8. Big Al

    I’ve always just thought of it like this. Whenever usually you would say ‘Peter’I say ‘Peterpus’ to refer to him out of costume and whenever I’d normally say ‘Spider-Man’ I say ‘SpOck’ to refer to him in costume. To #2-Amen brother. I think Phil was a genuinely interesting character in the 1990s when he was created. Heck he was more interesting when we were all just SPECULATING that he might have been Green Goblin V. He was in fact a truer young, everyman hero than Peter Parker ever was and it makes me sad that he’s now disliked to the point that I and others would rather he be dead rather than his character ruined any further. Simply put he is not a good villain, never was. Heck this whole concept of him being like Peter because they’re about the same age is BS because Peter was in like his late 20s when Phil was just a college drop out.

  9. DadaHyena

    I've always imagined playing a villain is much more self-indulging (and rewarding and fun) than playing a hero, so I can see how Slott would be having a blast writing for him. You can only imagine what insane new heights he'll take the character to next, but I say go for it: it's better to be ridiculous than boring any day!

  10. Zer0

    Gotta say, I love the last page, when SpOck hacks every monitor in town to deliver his message, or the little scene with Anna Maria, when he acts politely to his old colleague for her benefit.

  11. reader

    Wherever Pete is, he must be really annoyed that no one has figured it out yet, but then again Slott is writing so Pete must also be praising Ock for being able too fool everyone. Anyway, it's always been a pet peeve of mine whenever anyone uses the times square jumbotron like it has a speaker.

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