“Everything You Know is Wrong,” published by Marvel.
Written by Dan Slott. Drawn by Ryan Stegman.
For over a month now, I’ve been scanning for ways that Otto Octavius has been the superior Spider-Man over the beloved Peter Parker. Reading some of the critical responses for Amazing #700 in the letters column made me ponder on the nature of heroism. Otto Octavius is running his greatest experiment: executing the duties of Mr. Great Responsibility. Will an anti-hero protagonist lose the essence of Spider-Man? I wonder about some of the readers who ended their Spidey comics run at 700.
Some of the responses critical of the direction the main Spider-Man has gone indicate that Spider-Man has fallen off some godly pedestal. A Spider-Man comic seems to be comfort for readers who don’t want shades of gray or don’t follow Modern Age trends. I can’t change minds because I’ve been entertained by Superior so far and I’m used to shades of gray. This is a never-ending serialized story; we’ve should’ve known long ago that Marvel will want to take Spider-Man in all sorts of directions.
Otto Octavius comes close to performing a full deconstruction of Spider-Man. It wouldn’t be fun if Otto went on and on, page after page snickering, “Hey! Peter’s/New York’s way of using Spider-Man is dumb! See how smart I am now.” Dan Slott somehow managed to put in a story with characters and consequences. Superior isn’t at an Avengers-sized problem yet, so there’s wiggle room for Mary Jane and Carlie Cooper not to pounce on the fact that Spider-Man’s not Peter Parker.
Carlie, a crime scene investigator, does suspect something’s up. However, if you’re expecting an “A-ha!” moment where she exposes Otto and Peter makes his way back to the realm of the living then you’re going to be disappointed. This is a ongoing serial, after all.
Otto Octavius has a emotional breaking point that’s supposed to make him more “heroic.” What makes Otto snap is too on-the-nose, though. Also, assume the worst with the types of people Adrian has as his minions. There are bits and pieces to Otto’s past with the Vulture. I can’t make the full context since I’m only a casual reader, but Otto seeks to give Adrian Toomes a clean slate. Being a superhero comic, Vulture thinks that Spider-Man has gone nuts. Soon, they go off into the New York skies to fight.
Otto wants to do to Vulture what he couldn’t do to the literally forgettable Sinister Six baddie in Superior #1. I’m pleased that the outcome has no Peter-ference yet demonstrates Otto’s craftiness. Moving onto Otto’s love of gadgets, his new enhancements seem handy at first but will surely complicate him later.
The Vulture-Octavius conflict is left dangling, but I find Otto’s relationships with New York’s good and decent citizens more compelling.
Time and sales figures will tell if Superior will be amazing. How Spider-Man is Spider-Man works and can go in so many directions. I’m open to a new era; Peter’s failure to stop Doc Ock isn’t the first mistake he’s ever done. Even though our comics-buying decisions differ, I will thank Tom Hebbelin, Jeremy Moore, and Rob Walton for sobering me up on who a hero truly is.
Preview Superior Spider-Man #3 at Comicosity.