Comic Review: Superior Spider-Man #11
Superior Spider-Man is the very controversial new series than spun-out of the end of Amazing Spider-Man. Plotted by Dan Slott and scripted by Christos Gage, issue 11 finds Otto now settling into his new life as Peter Parker. With the lingering spectre of Peter’s consciousness purged entirely from his mind, Otto is now free to continue unhindered. I was especially curious to check out this week’s issue now that Peter is gone from the series.
The issue opens with Otto begrudgingly sat in his university lecture. Returning to the university setting has been a great source of comedy for the series so far. Otto’s intellect is far beyond that of who’s teaching him, a fact he is blatantly aware of. However, the bulk of the issue deals with the impending execution of Alistair Smythe, better known as the Spider-Slayer. Otto makes his way to The Raft, the island prison for super criminals, to oversee the execution and ensure Smythe cannot escape. The issue goes between moments of humour and some more rather dark serious segments. I thought it was especially interesting to see Otto reflect on his former time as a dying prisoner himself. It added a layer of real humanity to him. Watching him uneasily recall how close he came to death was a refreshing change from witnessing him inflating his own ego. I hope the series can create some more of these somber moments as time goes on.
More than any story since the start of the series issue #11 is set up as a great jumping on point. The status quo is quickly glossed over bringing anyone up to speed who may be out of the loop. Although following on from past events there’s nothing here that you can’t gather from the issue itself. I’m surprised I haven’t seen Marvel market this as a new point to get aboard, as it really is perfectly positioned to accept new readers. Practically anything that might leave people left puzzled is quickly explained through dialogue or captions. However us longtime readers aren’t left wanting as the reflective portions are brief and only ever so slightly affect the flow of the story.
It’s hard to lock down who’s the ‘real’ ongoigng artist of Superior Spider-Man. Due to the issues regular release schedule the artist switches out often. Cleverly Marvel have established a cohesive art style to the series. Every issue is bursting with bright colours that make New York and Spider-Man himself look alive and dynamic. Giuseppe Camuncoli is the penciler here, which makes the third different artist we’ve had in three issues. His art is actually my favourite of Superior’s artists, which is saying something considering the talent on the title. His art is clean and has a real weight to it. When the action scenes kick in the level of detail really adds to the brutality of what’s going on. The subtle muscle definition on the Spider-Man costume also helps imply there’s real power behind every blow.
Superior Spider-Man is one of Marvel’s most consistently high quality books. The unfolding story is incredibly entertaining to watch as we see Otto accept his new role. Despite the change in protagonist from Amazing Spider-Man, this still feels very much like a Spider-Man book. It has humour but it’s also got scenes that are deadly serious, it’s all masterfully balanced. Issue 11 is no exception, if you’re a new reader or you’ve been a Spider-Man fan for decades this is well worth your money.