First Impressions – SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #1


One. Issue. Flat!

Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. Move over Amazing Spiderman, it’s the Superior Ottoman!

So if by some miracle you’ve managed to remain unspoiled so far, at the end of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700, Peter Parker died, his consciousness stuck in the body of a dying Doctor Octopus while the bad doctor took his place in Spiderman’s. Now, despite Otto Octavius’ promise to carry on in Peter’s name, we now have a villain in the driver’s seat of one of the most beloved superheroes in comics. SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #1 marks the official start of Ottoman’s adventures.

And yes, I’m determined to make “Ottoman” a thing. Try and stop me.

His old body (and greatest nemesis) just buried, Otto!Peter heads to fight a new/old threat: a new Sinister Six composed of various minor Spiderman villains. Includes Overdrive, Boomerang, Shocker, The Living Brain, a new Beetle, and Speed Demon.

The New(?) Sinister Six

All capable of fending off normal people by themselves, though not even the pre-700 Spiderman. Now they have to deal with Spiderman as channeled by a former supervillain. A supervillain who happens to be insulted that the group he created and recreated dozens of times has been consolidated in-name only, and staffed by losers.

Oh, there will be blood. Blood and pain. Even The Living Brain, a robot, feels pain…a point lampshaded in the comic:

The Living Brain's Lament

As we’re shown repeatedly, Ottoman is going to play the superhero game, but on his terms. He’s brutal, arrogant, impatient with innocents and those Peter loved in life, and cares more for his ego than doing good. He has rare moments of doing the right thing in spite of himself, but as we see, it’s treated as not entirely of his own will that he sporadically acts like a different person.

But as much as I’d love to explain why, that would be telling. All I can say is I’ve once again underestimated Dan Slott. I’ll stop doing that from now on.

Instead, we’ll take the time to finally address one element of this new status quo I deferred before: the Superior Spiderman costume. In an effort to make his new role in the universe more his own, Ottoman altered the regular Spiderman costume. The coloration was switched from a red and blue to a red and black design. The logo on his back was enlarged and made more stylized, almost malign. Claws were added to the gloves, and the feet include sleeve for the big toes, also ended with claws. And finally, the large eyes were beveled rather than being perfectly curved, making them – unsurprisingly given their designer – reminiscent of goggles.

I actually didn’t even notice the change from blue to black until just as I sat to write this, so it’s safe to say it doesn’t bother me. The only really odd decisions were the claws, toes, and goggles. And even then, the claws at least mesh with the idea of a darker Spiderman. Now the goggles in particular seem, let’s just say it, kind of stupid. But they also make sense in context of who is wearing them, and the beveled edge is largely downplayed anyway. One might not even notice it at a glance, and trust me when I say there are far worse alternate costumes for heroes.

My only complaint is how Ottoman hasn’t developed optional mechanical arms for the suit yet. Yeah, his new body doesn’t share the original’s neural connection to the arms, but he’s a scientist. Building a headset of some kind would be child’s play. Heck, I doubt Horizon would mind if Ottoman said it was both in memory of a fallen foe and a powerful tool for those suffering debilitating injury.

So the operative question becomes: will I proceed with the series? Obviously yes, because Slott basically proved my suspicions correct, so I have to see how it plays out. On the other hand, seems like a rightious fast one Marvel just pulled. That or a mandate from on high that Dan Slott agreed to, but delivered with his fingers crossed. It’ll become clearer later.

Better question then: should you be reading SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN? The answer is a resounding…maybe. Those who decided to quit Spiderman out of protest – assuming they hadn’t already quit the franchise out of disgust already – have perhaps jumped the gun without knowing it. For those who harbored desires to start reading Spiderman, this is hardly the best time for obvious reasons. This is by no means a bad book, just not what is expected of the Spiderman franchise based on popular culture and decades of established continuity.

For those on the fence, remember that Dan Slott is a great writer and knows what he’s doing. I hope.

On an vaguely related note, SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #1 contained this ad:

Comics Scan 005

This is a thing that’s happening. As is with most everything related to Spiderman these days, I don’t know how to feel about this.

What do you think? Have you abandoned Spiderman for dead? Should Ottoman be given a chance? Will there ever be a Sinister Six again, now that its original founder switched sides and would never allow it to crop up without him? Is it funny that The Living Brain is a robot that can feel pain, or just really sad? Leave a comment below. Feedback is always appreciated.

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One Response to First Impressions – SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #1

  1. Pingback: The Weekly Pull (1/30/13) – SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #2 | Sequential Smart

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