As many of you faithful Towelites know, I’m a pretty huge Spider-Man fan. I always have had him and Batman in an equal tie for my two favorite superheroes, and I even have the words ‘With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility’ tattooed on my wrists. That being said, I have not read a Spider-Man comic since the beginnings of Ultimate Spider-Man, and before that, The Clone Saga. It was The Clone Saga that made me give up comics for a long time.
I couldn’t wrap my head around this ‘Ben Reilly’ character coming in and telling me that Peter Parker wasn’t real and everything that I had known my entire life, was essentially wrong. I’ve heard from friends who said they’ve gone back and read those issues, that it’s a pretty good run of comics; but at that time, I couldn’t see any merit to what was going on. Therefore, I stopped reading Spidey.
This review isn’t about giving up on comics though, it’s about having my faith revitalized in a world that the Web Head inhabits. What’s funny about this though, is that Peter Parker isn’t even Spidey, and yet I still loved The Superior Spider-Man. In case you don’t know the concept, Doc Ock was dying and on his way out, he implanted his brain into that of Peter Parker’s, and then put Peter’s in his. He dies and so does Peter. We now have Doc Ock’s brain in Parker’s body, and the result is something of pure brilliance.
Writer Dan Slott and artist Humberto Ramos are introducing us to Spider-Man for the first time. This isn’t the ‘With Great Power’ Wall Crawler we’ve come to know. No, he’s Superior. He thinks faster, thinks bigger, and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty when he needs to. Doc Ock knows that Peter was close to getting his PhD, he gets it. He knows that things with Mary Jane will never truly work out, he breaks it off with her. He even starts up his own science company and cures Aunt May from having to use a cane through nanotechnology. He is Superior to the old Peter Parker in everyway, yet there is something not quite right with him.
First of all, he kills people. Yes, Spider-Man murders a villain and doesn’t think twice about it. He brutalizes MANY others so that if they didn’t die right off the bat, they probably will soon enough. He treats most people around him as an inferior species, save his girlfriend Anna Marie Marconi. She’s a new edition to the franchise, and one that I hope continues to be around because she’s a
delight. Doc also blackmails J. Jonah Jameson, controls the police and firemen at will, and eventually amasses his own Spider-Army and spider-bots to track down crime and dispense justice. His constant forward thinking, makes crime practically non-existent in New York. Practically.
The whole time there’s been an evil lurking beneath the surface, waiting to reveal itself at the last moment. That evil is in the form of Norman Osbourne’s Green Goblin, who thwarts everything that Doc has done and ends up emerging as a Gobin King and ruler of New York. Ock is defeated and makes the decision to let Peter out to take over the mantle and restore the balance of things.
The thing that I love most about this, is that The Green Goblin is ruling his empire completely underground. He meticulously takes his time amassing an army from the defeated henchmen of his enemies. As Spidey takes out the Crime Lords, Kingpins, Vultures, and the like; all of their henchmen flock to a new leader. A Green Madman of pure evil. What kind of hurts the overall run, is that the buildup is so great and intense, and it instantly gets deflated in the final issue. With The Amazing Spider-Man 2 coming to theaters and Marvel NOW! hitting comic shelves, you can tell they wanted to bring Peter back, ASAP.
When Peter finally is released from Doc Ock’s memories and breaks through, it’s the sacrifice of Ock that finally brings Peter back to life. It’s a pretty touching moment, as Doc Ock realizes that Parker has been the ‘superior’ one the whole time. It’s also pretty amazing to see The Green Goblin realize that as well, when you see one of the best comic panels I’ve ever seen.
The realization that Peter Parker is back as Spider-Man was so completely satisfying and brilliant, that I looked past the fact that the culmination of the Goblin King’s reign came to a conclusion way too fast. I was so happy to see the one liner and Pete’s enthusiasm to get back into his good old costume, but also sad that Doc Ock’s run was over in only 31 short issues.
We shall see what the future holds for Peter Parker now that he’s back and having to adjust to being a Doctor, owning his own company, and dealing with a Spider-Man from the year 2099. Dan Slott’s ‘Superior Spider-Man’ made me remember why I loved Wall Crawling in the first place, and I can’t wait to see where the series continues in The Amazing Spider-Man!