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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Review: Superior Spider-man #2

Disclaimer: As a huge fan of Doctor Octopus, I am all for the idea of having Doc Ock be Spider-man in the form of a little mind-switching with Peter Parker (however short-lived it will probably be).  Therefore, if you're looking for a review of Superior Spider-man that tears it apart with left over anger from Amazing Spider-man #700, you've come to the wrong place!

Imagine something with me for just a second.  What kind of Spider-man book do you think we would have if we took the writing style of the Lee/Ditko era and combined it with the kind of wink-nudge adult humor found in a Dreamworks animated movie?  The answer is probably a Spider-man story written by Dan Slott...and I mean that in the best way possible.

When we were introduced to the idea of Superior Spider-man, we were told this would be a Spider-man book unlike any we had seen before (hence the adjective "superior").  We are now only two issues into Dan Slott's new Spidey series, and, so far, he has kept his promise.

In issue two we continue to see the ways in which Doc Ock (through the body of Peter Parker) has improved the way Spider-man functions as a superhero.  Now that he has accomplished this, Ock has moved on to his next goal: getting Mary Jane Watson to fall in love with him.  All the while, Peter's subconscious fights for a little recognition.

As previously mentioned, Doc Ock has completely revolutionized what it means to be Spider-man.  Not only has he patched things up with arch-rival J. Jonah Jameson, but this new Spider-man no longer has to be constantly vigilant over the streets of New York.  This is perhaps the most ingenious part of the entire issue.  Ock's use of spider robots (and an iPad app to monitor them) is a brilliant blend of today's technology to solve a problem Spider-man has had for 50 years of comics.  Being Spider-man?  Thanks to Doc Ock, there's (sort of) an app for that.

What Dan Slott does so well in this issue is the inner monologues and thought-processes that go along with Ock as Spidey/Peter Parker.  Super villainry aside, Doc Ock is first and foremost a scientist.  It is this scientific way of approaching not only being Spider-man, but Peter Parker as well that makes for some very funny moments in the issue.  Ock treating going on a date with MJ as a science experiment is one of the greater moments in this issue.  Not only does Ock's use of the Scientific Method to gain the attraction of Mary Jane make for good humor, but it also allows Ock to solve yet another problem that had plagued Peter since he became Spider-man: relationships.  I won't give away what Ock's conclusions are about the matter, but it was a bit of a surprise.

Slott also shows great comedic timing with his writing of Peter's subconscious trying so hard to interact with Ock and MJ.  While it at times borders on the childish, one can imagine it's rather frustrating to have someone else in your body going about things in completely the wrong way.

With Ock solving so many of Peter's long-term problems in a matter of two issues, it sets up a very interesting story dynamic for the book:  What kind of problems will this Superior Spider-man face?  We got a tease of this at the end of the first issue, but the jury seems to still be out on this one.  This will be the most interesting thing to see develop over the course of the series. 

The art is improved tremendously in this issue.  Ryan Stegman does a good job of drawing borderline cartoonish facial expressions, but the first issue was plagued with a lot of panels with action that was difficult to make out.  This was not the case with this issue, and it really allowed for things to flow a lot more smoothly.

Overall, this was a comic that improved on its opening, and has begun to set up what will hopefully be a very exciting chapter in the history of Spider-man. Superior Spider-man #3 comes out just next week, so I'll try to be a little less long-winded with the review then.

Rating: A+

Summary: Superior Spider-man #2 improves upon a decent opening issue, setting up for what could very well be a fantastic series.

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