Dan Slott (Writer), Ryan Stegman (Artist), Edgar Delgado (Colorist)
The Story: Spider-Ock needs to take care of his old pal the Vulture, as he is forcefully teamed-up with Carlie Cooper.
The Review: I do believe the series is finally starting with this issue. It may seem like a peculiar thing to say, but with the problems now out of the way, notably the Peter Parker and Mary-Jane situations dealt with, Dan Slott can finally get in the direction he seems to have for Spider-Ock.
Unlike the previous issue, which was all about Peter Parker as a ghost and Mary-Jane, this one is all about Otto Octavius and it is stronger for it. We still get the pompous attitude and some of his arrogance, but we also see a different side of him here. With the information we get on the character, we can finally see some glimpse of just why Otto has become that way and what makes him ticks, which creates some of the finer moments of the issue. These scenes manage to resolve one of the problems that the previous two issues had: Otto was just not a sympathetic character at all. I am not saying that he’s now a much better character and that it justifies all he’s doing, but it sure does help us understand the character a bit better.
His interactions with other characters are also quite fun to read, be it the way that he seems to manipulate J. Jonah Jameson or the way that he first try to help his old friend Adrian, the Vulture. But it is the scenes with the Vulture that makes this a much better experience, a much better book. It goes from sympathy, to genuine friendship to rage against the man he had perceived in the wrong way. The scene where Otto snaps against Adrian is particularly effective, as the brutality against the Vulture here is justified, considering what we know about Otto now.
Of course, it is not all only about Otto, as Peter plays a role here too. Unlike the previous issue where he was only doing some funny commentaries and complaints, his role as a ghost is now used in new ways by Dan Slott. Most of the important information we get on Otto is also gained by Peter, who now has access to his memories. Through the eyes of Peter Parker, we get some truly great scenes, helping both him and us understand more about Otto. There is also Carlie Cooper, who seems to be on to the fact that ‘’Peter’’ is not acting in his usual way. Although this plot is moving quite slowly, it is still interesting to see if Carlie could find some evidence on the fact that Otto and Peter had switched places. Those two scenes, right now, seems to be on the right track to interest us further on the series and on Otto as a character, which is to me the point of the whole Superior Spider-Man series to begin with.
What is also absolutely interesting in this issue would be the art of Ryan Stegman, who outdoes himself in this issue. Last issue, I said that I disliked some of his exaggerated facial expressions as it lowered the quality of the art in the rest of the issue. Here, though, the facial expressions are much less inflated, letting the faces of the characters convey the emotions in much subtler ways. There are some places where the expressions are bigger, but it really does work. The scene where Otto snaps is absolutely powerful thanks for the small touches he add to the poses and mouth of Spider-Ock. The action is also lovely here, with the brutality, yet the grace of this new Spider-Man well demonstrated throughout the fight with the Vulture. All of this is accentuated with the darker coloring of Edgar Delgado who embellishes it all with the lighting and the somber tones, creating some good contrasts in key scenes.
The Conclusion: This is a really strong issue. It manages to bring us some key development and information on Spider-Ock in the most important ways, while it still delivers in the action and art department. Although this series is with its share of controversy, I can still recommend this issue easily.
-Hugo Robberts Larivière