Superior Spider-Man #21 (The Chris Concurrence)

ssm21It’s time for you to read the truth about Superior Spider-Man #21.

And remember to post a comment.

WRITER: Dan Slott
PENCILER: Giuseppe Camuncoli
INKER: John Dell
COLOR ART: Antonio Fabela
LETTERER: Chris Eliopoulos



      • Stunner attacks SpOck, thinking him responsible for Otto’s death. SpOck sends his spider-bots to deactivate the machine that generates Stunner’s holographic avatar.
      • SpOck commandeers the hologram machine to create a very 90s-looking Doctor Octopus avatar. The holo-Ock informs Stunner that he has found another love. The holo-Ock also visits Dr. Schnoz and tells him that Otto Octavius’s greatest ideas were inspired by Peter Parker, boy prodigy. Schnoz recants his accusation that Peter plagiarized Otto’s work, resulting in the acceptance of Peterpus’s doctoral thesis.
      • Carlie visits Otto’s grave, only to find no body present in the ground. The Goblins capture Carlie, and the Green Goblin begins reading her journal.

Don’s review pretty much says it, and I almost wish I could just cosign it and call it a day. I would, however, supplement with the point that it is not necessarily a “big coincidence” that Stunner awoke from her coma at this point in the story. The original Stunner stories came out somewhat before I started reading Spidey comics, but I gather from internet osmosis that she fell into a coma because she offered up her essence as a means to resurrect Otto after Kaine killed him. When Otto’s body died again in Amazing Spider-Man #700, it broke the spell and awakened Stunner. This is consistent with how Superior Spider-Man #20 depicts Stunner waking up at the exact moment Otto’s body dies, and with Stunner’s dialog in #21 explaining why she awoke. I possess an admittedly limited knowledge of the older stories, but it seems like there is a nice continuity at play here.

The fight with Stunner is my favorite Superior Spider-Man action sequence so far. Stunner really comes across as a power house who could smear SpOck into the pavement if she got a clean shot in. Between the direct threat Stunner poses to SpOck himself and her wanton endangerment of innocent bystanders, the encounter tests SpOck’s resolve in a way his other battles have not. The best moment comes when Spider-Man has to hold a packed bus suspended in webbing to keep it from crushing Anna Maria, while Stunner beats him from behind. Don’t get me wrong, Stunner by no means pushes SpOck to his limit, but she poses a serious enough challenge to make the confrontation thrilling.

If the creators do their job, even c-list villains can be impressive.

If the creators do their job, even c-list villains can be impressive.

I found that the character motivations driving the conflict were believable. Normally, I dislike comic book fights premised on misunderstandings, but the misunderstanding here (Stunner’s belief that Spider-Man killed Otto) is natural rather than contrived, and Otto’s reason for not clearing up the misunderstanding is obvious (it would mean revealing the secret of the mind swap). A commenter on Don’s review, Stuart Green, mentioned that Otto’s dumping Stunner is unbelievable in light of how dedicated he was to her in the 90s stories, but I find that the amount of time that has passed and the incredible job Slott has done at developing Otto’s relationship with Anna Maria makes that point understandable.

Like Don, I also appreciate that the Goblins’ capturing Carlie helps move forward the story lines of both sets of characters. At the very least, now that these threads have merged we’ll have one tedious, lagging subplot instead of two. I also had the thought that Carlie should not be lollygagging at the cemetery before bringing her proof of the mind swap to the Avengers. My fellow Crawlspace contributor Josh Bertone suggests that Carlie hopes to get ahold of Mary Jane before going to the Avengers so that Mary Jane can accompany her as someone whom the Avengers know and would believe. Carlie could fear that the Avengers would disbelieve her, that they would tell Otto about her accusation, and that Otto would then kill her. I think that theory makes about as much sense as any explanation could reasonably make, given the plot. But I don’t think her conspicuously visiting Otto’s grave in the middle of the day shows an abundance of caution, or the appropriate “sense of urgency,” as Don put it.

"I can PROVE that a genocidal maniac has infiltrated the Avengers and is endangering all of my friends, and I must WARN EVERYONE! Well, first I need to get to the flower shop, then I gotta hang out at the cemetery, but once my weekend errands are finished I must WARN EVERYONE!"

“I can PROVE that a genocidal maniac has infiltrated the Avengers and is endangering all of my friends, and I must WARN EVERYONE! Well, first I need to drop by the flower shop, then I gotta visit the cemetery for a while, but once my weekend errands are finished I must WARN EVERYONE!”

The Carlie scenes do leave us with some intriguing questions, like why is Otto’s grave empty? What secrets did Carlie write in her journal, and what will the Goblins do with that information?

Switching gears to another subplot, it surprised me that the plagiarism allegation problem was resolved so quickly–I had that pegged as the ironic plot twist that would end up ruining Otto’s fledgling business empire. The concept that Otto can solve his problems with a tangible, holographic version of himself strikes me as mildly silly, but I guess it’s fair game in the Marvel universe. As an aside, it is a nice touch that Otto’s holographic avatar embodies the white-suited 1990s version of Otto that Stunner would know.

I’ll give #21 the highest grade I can give it without putting it on the same level as truly exceptional issues like #9 and #19.



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(21) Comments

  1. Spider-Dad

    21 issues (and counting) and Doctor Octopus is still give Marvel credit for dragging this storyline out so long and having people buy it. Can't wait until I come to the Crawlspace and see that Peter has returned.

  2. sthenurus

    Does anyone else thinks that this holo machine could be used by peter subciouscius to rebuild a "spider-Man" capable of fighting SpOck?

  3. Jack

    If Ghost Peter really is Peter, and not memory-remnants taking on a life of their own as Ock said, and if the new Goblin was active at the same time as Ghost Peter, then the new Goblin can't be Peter.

  4. Danbbqman

    I don't know if I buy P. Parker being the new Goblin. But it looks like the new Goblin will learn SpOck's secret, much like the original Goblin knew that Pete was Spider-Man. Hopefully SpOck doesn't end up with amnesia! This issue was very good - a real page turner. I really thought Anna Marie was going to get crushed under that bus. Also, when I read the scene with Carlie at the grave side it was pretty exciting when she fell into the empty pit. These reviews are great and the comments are thoughtful. They make reading each issue a little more fun!

  5. Stuart Green

    @CrazyChris - I get what you're saying and thanks again, buddy. I can see how people could accept Otto dumping Stunner because he's falling for Anna Maria, but having Stunner come back after being in a coma since 1997 and then having Slott have Ock dump her in her return issue, only to most likely fade into the background and likely not be used again for another 16 years in a Spidey comic, it seems a little soon to do the rejection, is all. Also, I don't see things ending well between "Peter" and Anna Maria.I do agree with Kevin that, having grown up and read Spidey comics for many years, especially the 90s, I like the Armani suit look for Doc Ock. Mark Bagley's art with Ock in that suit in comics and trading cards was what made it one of my favorite Ock looks (even though it was what he wore in one of the worst, infuriating comics I read, part 4 of "Web of Death", which had Ock die). I just don't know many friends who are fellow Spidey fans that like that Ock look, so it's nice to know there are some CrawlSpacers who do like that suit.Also, there are some scans up of the Ock/Stunner romance from "Web of Death" if anyone is curious enough to check them out:, Chris, I still don't like the progeny aspect because it's going work out badly for Ock and Peter when both go back to their own bodies (and I have a feeling Peter won't be dead much longer -- hint, hint, sequel film, a new #1 relaunch for Spidey's comic: Marvel can't resist). Ock will be mad he said that because now Peter will get credit for his work that Ock actually created, something sure to hurt Ock's ego, and if word gets out from someone like Dr. Lamaze, Peter will now be associated with being involved with the same psychopath who tried to poison New York, had Black Cat gunned down, stole the Nullifier, etc., etc. Would anyone really want to hire Peter for a job knowing he had ties to Otto Octavius and have that be on his résumé?Anyway, that's just my two cents. I hope everyone here is having a good night.

  6. CrazyChris - Post author

    Thanks for all the comments! Keep them coming.1 - Happy to be able to do it this time!2 - Thanks for being available to exchange ideas on the issue!3 - I don't think that Menace used the grave as a trap. I guess it is possible, but the issue makes it seem like Menace was just following her.4 - I'm actually surprisingly not sick of Ock one year later. I think Slott has done a good job of finding a different hook for every story to keep it from getting repetitive.5 - That could be it.6 - I think I can go along with that for two reasons. First, this is a universe where dead super-people come back to life all the time, so it would not be a surprising event to anyone. Second, Lamaze is a buffoonish character, so I can see him being easy to manipulate and fool.7 - Personally, I never thought it was a very likely theory.8 - Again, I don't think this stuff would be THAT implausible in the Marvel Universe. Child super-geniuses are known to exist (e.g., the Future Foundation) and Lamaze has seen "Peter" ace every exam with no effort, so he could realistically believe that he was some sort of prodigy.9 - I thought the redesign for Stunner was pretty cool, too.10 - From now on, any crime committed by Doc Ock is causally linked to Carlie going to that flower shop. It'll be all her fault! If only she had brought exact change, she could have been out of there sooner and none of this would have happened!11 - Since your comment inspired me to discuss a point that I probably wouldn't have otherwise, it was only fair to cite it. Regarding your points, I agree with Kevin's responses. Also, there was a brief scene much earlier in the series where Otto grappled with the idea that Peter Parker, not Otto Octavius, was getting all the credit for his accomplishments, and he had to persuade himself that he IS Peter Parker now. For me, that was enough to deal with and move on from a character beat that the story had to address but didn't need to be hampered by.12 - I agree13 - I doubt it is either of those, personally, but I don't think we have any clues to make an educated guess.14 - Stunner's VR machine was stored in Carolyn Trainer's lab, but I don't think she's been mentioned otherwise. I don't know what her status is.

  7. Kevin Cushing

    @11: First, I had absolutely no problem with the way Ock let down Stunner in the issue. I found it totally believable, having read all of their Clone Saga stuff and all of Superior to see his relationship with Anna Maria develop. Second, I don't know your age, but if you're from the same generation as me that grew up in the 90s and who are now of an age to be a large and vocal part of the fanbase, I think Doc's business suit look is actually very popular with us! Third, it's not at all strange for Ock to give all the credit to Peter since he now IS Peter. He just gave the credit to himself. As far as he's concerned, he's Peter Parker now and forever, that's why he's getting a legitimate Doctorate as Peter, and he just found a way to get back some credit for all of his inventions as Otto.

  8. Stuart Green

    Wow, my comment got mentioned in the review! I still think because of Ock's dedication to Stunner, and vice-versa, they could've done a better job than have Otto dump Stunner in the very issue she comes back in, but then again this is Marvel, the same company that breaks up romances and married couples right and left, so I'm not totally surprised. I'm also probably one of the few who likes Ock's 90's business suit look, so I'm surprised that happened in this issue. I also think that Ock saying Peter was involved/inspired/whatever in Ock's work just so SpOck could get his doctorate was cringe-inducing. Would Otto REALLY give so much credit of his work to Peter, who was a sophomore in high school when Otto had his infamous lab accident that turned him into Doc Ock? That'd be like Dr. Doom saying Reed Richards was the guy who was the inspiration or really created most of his accomplishments: it doesn't sound right.

  9. ryan3178

    I was very happy with this issue myself. I'll have my review later tonight. I however am with everyone with Carlie going to the flower shop. It's slasher film cliché wrapped in rainbows and ponies thinking.

  10. DadaHyena

    I really enjoyed Stunner's redesign as a massive brawler instead of the super-model version of the 90's. True, her appearance here is sort of a rehash of Titania (who Dan Slott wrote so well waaaaay back in She-Hulk), but her motivations were great and it's a shame it's all over so soon.

  11. Jack

    True: Didn't Doc Ock die publicly? Wasn't he a devastated physical wreck? Wouldn't Peter be a four year old when he was allegedly helping Octavius?

  12. xonathan

    Can someone explain to me the Green Goblin is Peter theory? I know it's wishful thinking, but is there any indication that this happened? Didn't Norman's body disappear before the mind transfer in 697? I just see this theory come out of nowhere...

  13. Phantom Roxas

    "The holo-Ock also visits Dr. Schnoz and tells him that Otto Octavius’s greatest ideas were inspired by Peter Parker, boy prodigy. Schnoz recants his accusation that Peter plagiarized Otto’s work, resulting in the acceptance of Peterpus’s doctoral thesis."…How the hell does that guy fall for this? It's supposed to be common knowledge that Doctor Octopus is dead, and yet, not only did he refer to Otto as his good friend in spite of the events of Ends of the Earth, but somehow, a holographic form of Doctor Octopus says "Oh, my ideas were inspired by Peter Parker", which would prompt him to give SpOck his approval, and yet he doesn't find that strange AT ALL?

  14. PunyParker

    The same scene in Superior #1 with SpOck standing over his own grave,and he didn't fall into it.....i guess the only good explanation is that Carlie gained some pounds,due to the stressfull research....

  15. reader

    Did menace use ottos grave as a trap? I'd love it if Green Goblin is STILL Pete in Ocks old body and that is why they've been hiding his face from us.

  16. Bertone

    The Carlie caption had me in stitches. I laughed loudly at work when you sent the text about flower ship taking precedent over the Avengers.

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