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Superior Spider-Man #2 – Review

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #2

By: Dan Slott (Writer), Ryan Stegman (Artist), Edgar Delgado (Colorist)

The Story: Spider-Ock tries to properly seduce Mary-Jane while Peter watches with absolute horror what the villainous Otto Octavius is trying to do with his body.

The Review: Dan Slott is a smart guy.

This may sound like something out of the blue and a rather weird way to start this review, but bear with me. It seems he knew right from the start all the negative hype the turn of events in Spider-Man’s life would ensue from fans. He anticipated just what the fans would hate and cringe upon in his concept of Spider-Ock and managed to do something unexpected about them. In the first issue, it was about the fact that Peter was still somewhere in there and in this one it’s all about Mary-Jane Watson.

A lot of the talk with the Mary-Jane situation going on the Internet was about if this constituted as rape, considering the situation. While Dan Slott does not take on that touchy subject in this issue, what he does with the situation is actually much more interesting. The focus of the issue being that Otto is actually courting her in different ways; one can see his frustration of never actually getting the girl as fast as he would wish to. Despite his best efforts, his methods are just too different, something noted by Peter Parker, who now acts as an unseen ghost in the series.

Adding Peter as an observer of what Spider-Ock is doing brings back the fun in the equation, serving as an unseen foil to the numerous shenanigans that Otto is doing with his body. His various reactions to what Otto is creating or interacting with are actually fascinating, showing us that there were indeed ways that Peter could have been better as Spider-Man, that he could have been superior. Many of the decisions made by Otto are actually quite surprising, both to the reader and to Peter, making for some smart and unexpected developments for Otto. The focus in this issue may not be on our villain-turned-kind-of-heroic, but he becomes quite interesting in this issue. Like I said in the previous review, this is an unpredictable comic and this makes for a strong book.

All is not perfect, though, as there are tidbits that become a little bit annoying here, such as Peter being too much of a focus in most pages. I get that he was the big reveal at the end of the first issue and that some of the spotlight should be on him, but it makes for a rather sharp contrast with the previous issue that centered only on Spider-Ock. It may sounds a bit weird, but seeing Peter react to everything Otto do makes the actions of Spider-Ock that much more interesting, making Peter kind of pale in comparison. He has become a reactionary character, unable to do anything but comment on everything he sees, while Otto actually advances the plot and the action. This does not mean that Peter is absolutely boring here, quite the contrary, but it would have been nice to get some more thoughts from Otto in certain key scenes of this issue. There’s a line that Peter says in this issue that pretty much sums it all up:

-‘’So this is it then? Me. Floating around…While you mess things up. Hit on girls. And play around with a robot butler.’’

It is bizarre to admit it, but Spider-Ock kind of grew on me in the span of two issues now that I know that Peter is still alive considering how Peter does summarize it all.

There is, however, something that kind of lowered in quality, albeit very slightly and that is the art. While Ryan Stegman manages to make some truly enjoyable actions poses and some terrific ‘’mad-genius’’ panels, there is something that was not as good as the first issue, notably his facial expressions and some of the faces in general. Some of his faces have too many lines on them, while some of his expressions are quite exaggerated. It is a style that can be used to great effects, but in some place it is distracting and perhaps a little bit too embroidered. Still, Stegman deserves some major credits for his anatomy and the liveliness of his style in this issue despite my disliking for some of the facial expressions he draws.

The Conclusion: A great issue with some good and surprising development on the Spider-Ock/Mary-Jane situation and the Peter-as-a-ghost situation. It is helped by some strong art and colorization, even though it did not reach the same level as the first issue. If Dan Slott continues to play this smartly, this will be a run to remember fondly.

Grade: B+

Hugo Robberts Larivière

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5 Responses

  1. Again an issue that was far better than I expected it to be. As can be seen with the whole rape-issue you really dance on the edge of things with a bodyswap-story like this one. One little misstep and it would all turn to shit. Adding Peter as ghost was a good decision, I think. He really was purely the comic relief for nearly everything happening in this issue. After all, we, the readers are the only ones who actually ‘hear’ him. Besides that his influence on the story at this point is barely noticeable. Saying that, though, I think it’s a great move for the more lightweight-drama shown in the past two issues but from here on out Peter’s influence on the story should rise. Maybe Peter can learn to talk to Ock-Spidey… or something.
    And I definitely would like a series that would seriously consider how different a “Spidy-Ock” would be if he would be the one in control over a longer period of time… but ultimately one has to admit that this probably is a series about Superior Spider-Man becoming the Amazing Spider-Man again.

  2. I would probably read this comic if Parker was actually gone. Parker being a ‘ghost’ is flat out stupid.

  3. “While Dan Slott does not take on that touchy subject in this issue, what he does with the situation is actually much more interesting.”

    Watching Dr. Ock try to seduce a woman is more interesting than wondering if a man lying about his identity to have sex is rape? Awkward male trumps deceived woman? That seems self-indulgent. As if maybe you just relate more to Ock so care more about him. That’s fine normally, but not here. Either way, no wonder women feel like second class citizens. If Mary Jane does engage with Spider-Ock, we’ll see how Slott writes her reaction when she finds out the truth. If she is anything less than horrified, and doesn’t feel violated, than no number of all-female teams would be able to compensate. And it’s the feeling of violation that makes it rape, it’s just that the act of violation and knowledge of violation are timed apart. If they try to excuse this by having her go into denial or justify it, than it shows Marvel is just hype on the gender equality front, taking advantage of a trend to get publicity.

    • The thing that is actually more interesting that I am referring to is not the seduction, but rather the conclusion of this whole Mary-Jane/Spider-Ock thing. Of course I believe it would feel wrong that he succeeds in seducing while using lies and deceptions to trick Mary-Jane, as you are right in the aspect that this does constitutes as rape.

      Fortunately, Dan Slott does not go that way. Read the issue, you’ll be as surprised as I was, believe me.

  4. I loved issue #1, but I felt like Peter was a HUGE intrusion in this issue. I’ll stick with this longer for sure, but I’m hoping he goes more into the background in future issues. If this book is going to be about Spider-Ok, then I want a book about *Spider-Ok.* I really, really enjoyed watching his methods and being inside of his head in issue #1; and while I don’t mind Pete’s occasional interjections, I do NOT want this book to be about ghost Peter. It was okay for this issue I suppose, especially since MJ was the focus (and his commentary DOES provide a nice contrast to Ock’s outlook), but it was the chance to watch Spidy-Ok that made me love this series. If that goes away, and this becomes the Peter Parker Commentary Pages, I’m going to be very, very sad.

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