Superior Spider-Man #1
Script – Dan Slott
Art – Ryan Stegman
Of the entire Marvel NOW line up, Superior Spider-Man is perhaps the most controversial. The story follows Otto Octavius who has transferred his mind into the body of Peter Parker, and is continuing Peter’s life as Spider-Man. This gives our lead a very different personality, that of a jerk. The primary conflict of the issue is Spider-Man dealing with a new version of the Sinister Six. The issue also establishes that Peter and Mary Jane are dating and that Peter has been making some interesting weapons for Horizon Labs. The issue concludes with a predictable “surprise” that will likely build into a later story arc. This issue mostly works as a starting point for the new Spider-Ock and to get fans used to this new Parker.
The writing is pretty good, while jerk Peter isn’t that likable as a protagonist, it works for the story as Otto was never a friendly guy. If you were fond of the overly aggressive black suit Spider-Man then you will probably accept this personality shift faster than others will. The story is set up for how things will work in this new run of Spider-Man and that is fine for a first issue. All the returning characters are acting normal, but I do find it odd they do not seem to notice Peter’s personality change. The way Spider-Man fights is more aggressive and that also harkens back to the black suit era of the series. The end of the issue also has implications for later stories, but you see it coming a mile away.
The artwork is really good. The style is very similar to the previous Spider-Man run and the action is well done with the fights looking pretty good, but occasionally little short on panels. The use of shadow is great and really adds to the mad scientist in Peter’s body aspect of the story. Mary Jane also looks as beautiful as you would expect, but it also points out the pervy side of Otto. The one thing I also like is how Peter’s hair changes in different situations. When he is doing science it is sticking up, on a date it is nicely combed, and in public it is just messed up a little bit. This adds both realism and symbolism to the story. Best of all the strong art helps supplement the story writing by adding more layers.
The changes to Spider-Man will not make fans happy and there will likely be backlash against this choice and against the new series. However, other heroes have been replaced in the past and Peter was replaced by Ben Reilly for a time back in the 90s. If you are a long time Spider-fan then this will be a difficult transition. If you can try to put your bias aside then you will likely enjoy this story. If you are not as hardcore about Spider-Man I think you will enjoy this new turn for Spidey. If you have never read a Spider-Man comic before, this may not be an easy entry point as they do not recap much of Peter’s life in this book. Personally, I am approaching this period of Peter’s life with an open mind and I hope it will lead to some interesting and new stories for Spider-Man.
3 out of 5 – Take a point away if you are a hardcore fan