Inhumanity: Superior Spider-Man Review


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All that’s really missing is for someone in this issue to exclaim “Oh, the inhumanity!”

Insert groan here.

It’s my first review.  Be gentle with me.

WRITER:  Christos Gage

ART & COVER:  Stephanie Hans

LETTERER:  VC’s Clayton Cowles

PLOT:  Dealing with some of the fallout from the Inhumanity storyline where the Terrigen Mists have been released throughout the Earth—

–someone tell Jim Krueger.  That might make a hell of a mini-series—

–the Superior Spider-Man, along with some of New York’s traditional heroes in the form of police and firefighters, faces off against a man who has hijacked some Inhuman equipment in order to try to save the life of his cancer-stricken wife.

THOUGHTS:  I think in general, everyone at Marvel knew Peter Parker wasn’t staying dead despite Slott’s protestations to the contrary.  More so, they knew just as well as we did that he’d be back in time for The Amazing Spider-Man 2:  Spider-Harder.

So the daunting task of all the Spider-writers was to try and make people care about the journey of Doctor Octopus from villain to hero, despite the finite time he would be in that role.  The old adage is true; more often than not, the journey is better than the destination.

Unless you’re driving to South Dakota from Wisconsin in the back of a 1976 Ford Pinto in the summer of 1986.

I’m looking your way, Dad.

Making people care about a “replacement” character for the original is tough, especially when fans know he’s just in the costume temporarily.  Although his lifespan went on far longer than expected, despite the controversy at the time, Ben Reilly is still fondly remembered to this day by a lot of Spider-fans (myself included). 

Despite knowing all the above and even being pragmatic about the state of comics today…I still just can’t bite on the concept of Otto Octavius as Spider-Man (let alone Peter Parker).  Even temporarily.  Other reviewers have touched on it, but his behavior is so crazy town banana pants that it’s implausible for his friends and teammates not to have sniffed this out much earlier.  I remember an issue when Ben Reilly had first become Spider-Man and Johnny Storm was thinking whoa, this guy ain’t acting right!  This isn’t the Spider-Man I know!

And that was a freaking CLONE of Peter Parker, let alone Dr. Octopus in Parker’s body.

So this one-shot starts off with SpOck helping New York’s Finest clean up some Inhuman wreckage; he’s also supervising his own clean-up crew in mechanical spiders to do so and I can’t believe that hasn’t tipped anyone off, either.  It’s just so far outside the realm of normalcy for Spider-Man to have…well…a business.

A man in one of the buildings steals some Inhuman weaponry that fell on the roof; the weaponry—which apparently talks to him—tells him it steals energy, including biolife energy.  He sees this as a means to keep his cancer-stricken wife alive.

SpOck is barely holding his own against him when one of the firefighters risks his own life to enter the draining zone and talks the guy down about how hard it is to lose someone and go on, a thinly veiled (but well-done) reference to 9/11.  The guy caves and SpOck lets him escape arrest so he can be with his dying wife, the moral of the tale that he’s learned something about being a hero and/or being strong from both the actions of the firefighter and the man.

Except we all know that’s a load of crap, don’t we?  And this has been my other overriding issue with this whole SpOck storyline.  Even if it was flawlessly executed and Doc Ock ends up sacrificing his existence to bring back Peter Parker—dying a hero or having learned what it truly means to be a hero and redeeming himself—you know damn well that he’ll be resurrected in time for The Amazing Spider-Man 3, if that tentacle harness in the trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is any indication.  And you know that whatever shred of redeeming qualities he allegedly learned while playing at being Peter Parker will be forgotten in favor of his villainous personality returning.

Not to mention his bowl-cut.

That, my friends, is the unfortunate state of comics nowadays.  A Morbius strip and rebooting of the status quo, so much so that now it’s leaked into the movies as well.  It’s hard to believe there was an age where we were pining for a comic book movie to be made, now I wish they’d take a freaking break from them.

There just isn’t any real character development anymore,or if there is, it’s undone at a later date.  These are cash cows; no one’s going to gut the cow to get to the milk.

That being said, it’s not impossible to pull off the death and resurrection scenario. Brubaker did a hell of a job with Captain America.  But Slott is no Brubaker, and SpOck is no Bucky Barnes, either.  The crew here did an admirable job with what they’ve been handed from Slott’s overall concept.  To a degree, they almost seem to understand more what should happen with this character than the core books seem to be.

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ART:  Forewarned, I am not a gigantic art critic because everything I’ve ever tried to draw looks like the artistic equivalent of English translated to Japanense and back to English again.  I’m not a big fan of the “manga” style, or overly cartoony, and prefer a more realistic depiction.  I grew up with the Romitas and Andru and others in that vein. 

The art in this issue was gorgeous to me; somewhat reminiscent of Alex Ross with its realistic and almost painted overtone.  Of which by the way, it seems the latest verison of SpOck’s outfit borrows from his original concept for Raimi’s first Spider-Man movie.  Marvel paid for it; I guess they decided to finally use it somewhere.  It’s not my favorite interpretation of the classic costume, but since SpOck isn’t my favorite interpretation of Spidey, I guess that’s par for the course.

GRADE:  Despite my overall rant on SpOck, I found it an enjoyable issue…except for the price.  $3.99??  See, I really haven’t bought many comics since probably the Clone Saga in the 90’s.  I’ve gotten some TPB’s used/on sale or single issues here and there, but mainly I’ve either gotten them from the library or read them once they come out on Marvel Unlimited (which I’ve ponied up the money for that the past three years or so).  Why?  Frankly, not a lot of what’s been put out the past ten or twenty years has been worth spending that kind of money on.

That’s Marvel’s biggest misstep, I should be Marvel’s target audience.  I’m a male in my thirties with disposable income…and even I did a double take when I bought the digital issue to do this review.  $3.99 for 21 pages?  Back in my day, I could have went to the general store with a $5 bill and gotten myself four issues and a six-pack of beer.

Granted, that beer was Schlitz, but it was beer nonetheless.

So again, while I have the disposable income to waste $4 on a 21 page comic, that doesn’t mean today’s youth does, and while this was an entertaining enough way to kill twenty minutes, if I was 18 or 21 again (or younger), I’d find better ways to spend my coin than on a one-shot tie-in to yet another “event,” featuring a version of a character that’s going to disappear in three months and more than likely never be seen again. 

B

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(6) Comments

  1. Warren

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  2. AC

    I agreed so much with what you said that i almost feel like i would have written the exact same review. (I'm only two years older than you, maybe that has something to do with it.) Nothing that happens in comics seem to matter anymore, it will just be reset later, have to agree with the movies and all, and that's just killed comics for me. The only thing i haven't managed to give up is this website! But very good review, good luck with your forray back into the comics world, hopefully the'll put something good out there for you to read.

  3. Jeff Flannigain - Post author

    Thanks for the welcome! Bitter? I was aiming for grumpy old man! :) Part of my motivation for doing this is to start reading comics on a regular basis again so it is partly that; it's also partly that absolutely none of my friends or family read comics. Hell, only one of my friends plays video games, and I have a few who have managed to not even buy a computer or cell phone yet. And I'm only 39, so it's not like I'm hanging out with senior citizens here. So this review was pretty much an initial vent on the state of comics in general to get it out of my system. I've had literally no one to talk about all of this with for oh...the past twenty years or so. To which is another part of my motivation to do this; to connect with others who have a love of Spidey and comics in general. To which this website has in abundance. I'm looking forward to the return of Peter Parker and future...less bitter...reviews. :) And I can't believe I missed The Search for SpOck. It was right there in front of me and my mind didn't connect the dots! Well played, hornacek. Well played.

  4. Lockdown

    Well done in the review. I agree these tie ins are good stories but they can have it a dollar cheaper.

  5. hornacek

    "The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Spider-Harder" made me laugh. The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Spideric Boogaloo And the inevitable sequel ... The Amazing Spider-Man 3: The Search for SpOck.

  6. Shaun Martineau

    First off, welcome to the review team. It's awesome having all this new blood and reviews on the front page. I got to say, there was a lot in the review I really liked (the references and the vast knowledge of Spider-Man material) and there was a lot of what you said that I agree with (basically everything you said about SpOck and the Brubaker comparison), but this was really bitter. It felt like you just started reading comics again (also seemed like you were pointing this out at the end?) and were surprised by the price and hadn't moved past the Doc Ock thing (it's been over a year, I was fuming at the start, but I've calmed down since considerably.) Your grade kind of shocked me, but it lines up with mine too. Regardless, I'm interested to see your next review now that you've gotten the Superior rant out of your system (we all had one) and I really liked your style.

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