Back in the nineties, art was king in comics and it didn’t really matter if you had a story or not. All you really needed was a new costume design for the hero or the villains and you were ready to pump out 30 pages of punching and kicking. Which is why the latest events in Superior Spider-Man bring up some bad memories. Three classic villains with completely new costumes…that can’t be good right? Well let’s find out shall we, is it good?
Superior Spider-Man #12 (Marvel Comics)
Check out our reviews of issue #10 and issue #11 if you missed them.
Last issue was mediocre, mostly because it set up what we’re reading in issue #12, but for those of you unaware of what’s going on it’s pretty simple. The Spider Slayer is getting executed on the Raft, J.J. has asked Spider-Man to be there in case something goes wrong and of course something did. SpOck, being the genius that he is, planned for every escape to thwart the Slayer, but it’s also trapped him as well. On top of all this, Slayer had his bots infiltrate the compound and give Vulture, Boomerang and Scorpion new suits and powers. SpOck hasn’t faced this much adversity yet. Can he make it?
Bot vs bot. Who ya got?
As a double shipped book there isn’t a comic on the stands that leans more on the reader to keep up with every single issue than this series. It’s the epitome of serial comics, which is fine and dandy if you’re reading every issue, but if you come in cold you could be at a loss for why the comic is so good. You see, writer Dan Slott knows the reader isn’t stupid, so he doesn’t hold your hand but instead harkens back to previous tidbits dropped or character developments that push the story forward. The reader going in blind, even with the opening summary, won’t really appreciate what we’ve got going here. However, this is a series that if read through completely is going to be remembered as a classic.
James Bond villain burn!
And this issue is no different. Things are coming to a head here, as we’ve seen SpOck kill a villain, make choices that are immoral and generally put gears in motino to slowly but surely create a police state. There’s a moment in this issue where J.J. gives him the go ahead to murder the Slayer. Now maybe it’s just me, but J.J. is only mayor, and doesn’t have any authority, but considering there’s a close up of a spider-bot in the panels below, methinks SpOck is going to use this to absolve himself.
Spidey’s face in shadow = evil thoughts!
That’s not to say this issue isn’t enjoyed on its own merits. The fight sequence is fun and fast with a bit of story thrown in as it’s made obvious SpOck isn’t as good at fighting as Peter was. For maybe the 8th time now a villain has said, “why aren’t you joking?” and “how did you not dodge that?” which makes you wonder when, because it will happen I assure you, someone will figure out he’s not the real Spider-Man.
This is made all the more interesting because of SpOck’s psychosis. The man wants to be the best—he called himself “Superior” for crying out loud—so when he falters or shows signs he’s in fact a lesser Spider-Man you know it hurts his character deeply.
- Giuseppe Camuncoli’s pencils work well with the darker tone of the story
- Spider-bots get some love
- Not fully enjoyable if you’re coming in blind
The sweeping nature of this ongoing story is an amazing thing. A lot of folks get burned out on a story, or the story gets old and boring. Just look at Scott Snyder’s Court of Owls storyline and you can see a story that overstayed its welcome. This series however continues to slowly drop details and plot with merciless patience. Slott is credited with the plot for this issue with Christos Gage on script and it’s working. The dialogue is great here and the plot only seems to get better issue by issue.
I suspect some fans are going to cry foul when we get the Dark Knight-esque plot twist at the end of this issue. Spider-Man must choose between saving J.J., a group of bystanders, or kill the villain. Am I the only one who thinks this is an awesome way to show how far SpOck is willing to go in his evilness?
This issue is going to be an important one for major later developments, which makes it all the more profound and interesting. When J.J. gets a closeup that takes up a third of the page you know it means something and it looks as if we’re entering a world where it is widly known Spider-Man kills. Yikes. Of course, now that Superman kills (in the movies anyway) I suppose audiences won’t be taken aback so much. The fact that there’s so much gravity brought down on this issue of Spider-Man killing though, it’s pretty clear Marvel is handling it much better than Warner Brothers did with Man of Steel. A good thing, for sure.
Is It Good?
Yes. This epic soap opera only gets better and better.