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Superior Spider-Man #22 - Darkest Hours, Part 1 of 4: Face To Face Review

5

Between the vanquishing of his foes, the acquisition of his doctorate, and the start of a new business, everything’s comin’ up Otto! Or...IS...it??

The Good

Dan Slott has become an absolute master of teasing out long-term stories hidden under shorter arcs and this issue of Superior Spider-Man is a fantastic example of him at his best. Ever since Otto “got rid” of his Parker Problem once and for all, the theme of this book has been him overstepping his bounds and overreaching on his ambitions, but without devolving him fully into a cartoonish supervillain. It’s been an amazing balancing act and Slott has kept it up amazingly well for a very, very long time. This issue gives us a great look under the hood at the absolutely amazing relationship between doctoral tutor Anna Maria Marconi, one of my favorite new characters to be introduced into the Marvel U, and Octavius. Their banter is top-notch, but so is their intellectual romance. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, however, as Venom (still Flash Thompson) is back in New York and back on the trail of one of his newest, most ruthless foes. But when Spider-Man and Venom clash, neither has any idea what they’re in for.

Part of what makes the relationship between Anna Maria and Octavius so heartwarming are the pencils by Humberto Ramos, who certainly isn’t known for subtlety, but a little melodrama never hurt anyone and sometimes it’s refreshing to see massive, grinning smiles as well as baleful, sinister scowls so prominently featured, particularly among Ramos’ signature hyper-kinetic panels that turn every conversation into a scene from Glengarry Glen Ross. Victor Olazaba has the unenviable task of reining in these wild visuals and does so with incredible deftness and even makes it look easy. And as much credit as I give the pencils, Edgar Delgado’s colors absolutely need to be highlighted for making the entire thing leap, bounce and sling off the page. You’d be hard-pressed to find the wall-crawler looking better.

The Bad

I realize it’s a well-worn trope, but Spidey getting pulled away from stuff at inopportune times has practically graduated to a meta-joke, and in fact there’s even a reference to it made in this issue. It doesn’t really serve to heighten any tensions, and comes off as something of a cheap shot. I’m not a fan of Venom sort of just “showing up,” even if I am happy to see him (and Slott does a fine job writing him) even if it is to pursue a loose end from his solo series. I wouldn’t have minded taking an issue to have him arrive and give it a little more weight.

The Verdict

I continue to enjoy every issue of Superior Spider-Man that I read. Dan Slott took one of the biggest risks in comics history, but it’s allowing him to tell inventive, amazing stories that wouldn’t have been otherwise possible without a far, far less interesting plot device. This issue is nice because we DO see a lot go Octavius’ way in stark contrast to the usual “Parker Luck,” and the things that are going wrong behind the scenes aren’t bad timing, they’re all of his making so it feels more earned.

55 Comments
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Posted by cameron83

I actually enjoy SSM.......

Hm.

Anywho,I liked this issue a lot,especially the way Otto is using his mind to the fullest and helping people.

Posted by spinningbirdcake

I actually enjoy SSM.......

Hm.

You should. It's a well written series.

And I love Anna Maria so much.

Posted by Bloxxeh

SSM is awesome. 'Nuff said.

Edited by TheAcidSkull
Posted by Fenderxx

So excited for this , loving what Dan Slot is doing with spider-man, and I am a huge venom fan .. .win - win baby yay !

Posted by kilomac29

I loved everything about this issue, beginning with the cover. That cover was so visually striking IMO.

I did feel a little let down by the Venom introduction. I haven't read any of the Venom series and don't know much about the character, so I would have liked to see a little more.

Posted by sparty-dbq

*Sigh* Y'know, I really didn't want to bring this up, but seeing so many people apparently gushing over this thing between Otto and Thumbalina or whatever the hell her name is, I feel I have to throw this out there before you get to far ahead of yourselves.

Remember the *ahem* "concerns" that many were voicing before issue 2 of this series was released? Particularly those regarding Mary Jane and a certain "R" word? Well, don't the rules for that technically carry over to anyone Otto would involve himself with while he's committing life-fraud? It doesn't matter if this version of "Peter Parker" is the only one she's ever known, he's still not Peter Parker. It's all built on a lie! You're basically rooting for a felony to occur.

Posted by ImagineMan16

I've decided that I'm just going to collect Superior as a whole after it ends. I think it will read a lot better that way.

Edited by InnerVenom123
Edited by The_Titan_Lord

Didn't enjoy the previous issue. But hopefully this one is OK.

Edited by cameron83
Posted by Kerrigan

Personally I enjoy SSM while being aware that it's fundamentally built on the old comic trick of making characters stupid rather than the plot clever. It's a little dumb, but still fun.

And it's just a story arc about Otto Octavius while Pete is temporarily "dead." Lot of overreaction.

Edited by Revendawn
@sparty_dbq said:

*Sigh* Y'know, I really didn't want to bring this up, but seeing so many people apparently gushing over this thing between Otto and Thumbalina or whatever the hell her name is, I feel I have to throw this out there before you get to far ahead of yourselves.

Remember the *ahem* "concerns" that many were voicing before issue 2 of this series was released? Particularly those regarding Mary Jane and a certain "R" word? Well, don't the rules for that technically carry over to anyone Otto would involve himself with while he's committing life-fraud? It doesn't matter if this version of "Peter Parker" is the only one she's ever known, he's still not Peter Parker. It's all built on a lie! You're basically rooting for a felony to occur.

So first off let me say that I think you'd be able to sell legitimate concern for political correctness and acceptability had you referred to the character by name instead of "Thumbalina or whatever the hell her name is". It's hard to buy that you actually are all that worried or curious about this sort of stuff when that's your opener. However I do think this is an interesting subject, because you are right it is a weird moral grey area, so let's talk about it.

Comic books are essentially sci-fi, so yes I'm going a little sci-fi with my description. Let's say we live in a day and age where brain transplants are possible. Someone saves your life by putting your brain in a donor body. You are you, but new body. Would it be considered rape for you to now go out and use that body for consensual sex?

Most likely no, but what people were upset about was the belief that Otto would use Peter's history to take advantage. In other words you in your new body go try and hook up with the widow of the donor. Which would be certainly wrong and no matter what word you call it in the words of Shepard Book "you're going to burn in a special level of hell".

The catch and where I agree we are looking at an interesting moral quandary is this. Anna Maria has fallen for Otto, but he is pretending to be Peter Parker. So he's not using Peter's past to his advantage, but he is lying. So here is where I think the distinction is. Anna Maria was not into Peter Parker. That name didn't do anything for him, his looks didn't do anything for him, it wasn't until his (Otto's) personality and intellect came out that she was attracted. It was also well after the Parker memories were erased that their relationship became as much.

So personally I think it's OK. The relationship is certainly a good deal twisted. He is keeping things from her (but that's nothing the real Peter hasn't done from pretty much everyone in his life), on the other hand I can see people feeling weird about it and if it makes them feel that way I can't say they are wrong. So far I think it has been fun to watch, but I already feel bad, because you know this doesn't have a happy ending for her one way or the other.

Posted by Shallbecomeabattoo

@sparty_dbq: Thumbalina? Way to show respect for the handicapped.

Do you go out of your way to make people dislike you, or does it come natural?

Posted by comicbookfan93

Ah Anna Maria is a great character and aunt may's reaction was brilliant can't wait till she properly meets her

Posted by cameron83

@sparty_dbq said:

*Sigh* Y'know, I really didn't want to bring this up, but seeing so many people apparently gushing over this thing between Otto and Thumbalina or whatever the hell her name is, I feel I have to throw this out there before you get to far ahead of yourselves.

Remember the *ahem* "concerns" that many were voicing before issue 2 of this series was released? Particularly those regarding Mary Jane and a certain "R" word? Well, don't the rules for that technically carry over to anyone Otto would involve himself with while he's committing life-fraud? It doesn't matter if this version of "Peter Parker" is the only one she's ever known, he's still not Peter Parker. It's all built on a lie! You're basically rooting for a felony to occur.

So first off let me say that I think you'd be able to sell legitimate concern for political correctness and acceptability had you referred to the character by name instead of "Thumbalina or whatever the hell her name is". It's hard to buy that you actually are all that worried or curious about this sort of stuff when that's your opener. However I do think this is an interesting subject, because you are right it is a weird moral grey area, so let's talk about it.

Comic books are essentially sci-fi, so yes I'm going a little sci-fi with my description. Let's say we live in a day and age where brain transplants are possible. Someone saves your life by putting your brain in a doner body. You are you, but new body. Would it be considered rape for you to now go out and use that body for consensual sex?

Most likely no, but what people were upset about was the belief that Otto would use Peter's history to take advantage. In other words you in your new body go try and hook up with the widow of the donor. Which would be certainly wrong and no matter what word you call it in the words of Shepard Book "you're going to burn in a special level of hell".

The catch and where I agree we are looking at an interesting moral quandary is this. Anna Maria has fallen for Otto, but he is pretending to be Peter Parker. So he's not using Peter's past to his advantage, but he is lying. So here is where I think the distinction is. Anna Maria was not into Peter Parker. That name didn't do anything for him, his looks didn't do anything for him, it wasn't until his (Otto's) personality and intellect came out that she was attracted. It was also well after the Parker memories were erased that their relationship became as much.

So personally I think it's OK. The relationship is certainly a good deal twisted. He is keeping things from her (but that's nothing the real Peter hasn't done from pretty much everyone in his life), on the other hand I can see people feeling weird about it and if it makes them feel that way I can't say they are wrong. So far I think it has been fun to watch, but I already feel bad, because you know this doesn't have a happy ending for her one way or the other.

Wow. That was so well-said.....wow.

Edited by ScarletBatman

@sparty_dbq said:

*Sigh* Y'know, I really didn't want to bring this up, but seeing so many people apparently gushing over this thing between Otto and Thumbalina or whatever the hell her name is, I feel I have to throw this out there before you get to far ahead of yourselves.

Remember the *ahem* "concerns" that many were voicing before issue 2 of this series was released? Particularly those regarding Mary Jane and a certain "R" word? Well, don't the rules for that technically carry over to anyone Otto would involve himself with while he's committing life-fraud? It doesn't matter if this version of "Peter Parker" is the only one she's ever known, he's still not Peter Parker. It's all built on a lie! You're basically rooting for a felony to occur.

No because Ann met SpOck after the mind swap. The charges were directed against Otto because he was (ab)using the history shared between Peter and Marry Jane to have sex. He did not reveal his true identity, so she assumed she was sleeping with Peter. That can easily be viewed as rape.

With Ann, however, things are very different.She has zero prior interactions with Peter. We also know she isn't the kind of girl to go after the pretty guys. She thus fell in love with Otto, not Peter. What Otto is doing is just a Sci-Fi version of using a pseudonym, or an assumed identity. However, he did not impersonate some one famous, nor is he cashing in on his name/identity, nor did he do anything else to mislead Ann.

With this in mind, all allegations are null and void. She fell in love with Otto, not Peter.

The only issue now is that when all is revealed - will she scorn Otto or stick with the man she fell in love with (but not his body).

Posted by GraniteSoldier

So very much been looking forward to this...I'm hoping they do Flash Thompson some serious justice here, because every character from Mary Jane to the Avengers has been dumbed down considerably for this book.

Having said that, I've been enjoying Superior. The above is a gripe about it, sure, but it is not AS bad as people say because, well, we all know Peter is coming back.

I'm hoping they don't dumb down Flash for this, though, he's a great character and can use the strong showing.

Posted by TheAcidSkull

@innervenom123: haha

superior still sucks, and slott is still a hack.

Posted by TheAcidSkull
Posted by consolemaster001

@theacidskull: I enjoyed it....until he started f***ing that midget.

Online
Posted by TheAcidSkull
Posted by skyjumpermike

@sparty_dbq: get a life. The thing that is most disturbing are people so concerned with the sexual experiences of a comic book character and even worse the fixation that it will be rape if it ever happens. You are the worst type of nerd.

Posted by PunyParker

REALLY???.....5 STARS?!....WHAT?!..

When it comes to Superior,i have a feeling that they first put a the 5-star rating,and then they write the review.....

I mean,ok,some issues,yes,but this?....so this has the same quality as issues #9 and #19 had?....

Then Slott goes around and says "You may not like it,but the reviews say it's awesome so shut your mouth."

P.S. It's his girlfriend.Of cource he would have sex with her......i didnt see you blabbering when JMS made MJ and Pete ,practically, sex-adicts in his run.....

Posted by WWAJfan

REALLY???.....5 STARS?!....WHAT?!..

I read it....and I agree...5 stars it's too much, I personally thought this issues was very slow paced and boring. superior Carnage was better.

Posted by Wpr

1st off didn't Flash recalled his brief encounter with Spidey in Carnage USA?

Also 5 Stars? 2 stars is more like it. Some of Flash's line felt a bit forced, ex. ''Sides of the Angels'' he sounded more like Brock on that particular line. Looking forward too see Flash kick's SpOck's ''Superior'' A$$

Posted by PunyParker

@wwajfan said:

@punyparker said:

REALLY???.....5 STARS?!....WHAT?!..

I read it....and I agree...5 stars it's too much, I personally thought this issues was very slow paced and boring. superior Carnage was better.

EXACLY!!
It's not bad,but it's a borign forgettable issue.....5 stars?......this is mockery.

Edited by Wpr

@wwajfan said:

@punyparker said:

REALLY???.....5 STARS?!....WHAT?!..

I read it....and I agree...5 stars it's too much, I personally thought this issues was very slow paced and boring. superior Carnage was better.

EXACLY!!

It's not bad,but it's a borign forgettable issue.....5 stars?......this is mockery.

Agreed

Posted by laflux

Writers don't tend to review comics which they don't like, hence the high ratings.

That being said, I'm probably going to pick up SS right now through the "Venom" Arc, just to see what happens........

Posted by VeganDiet

@sparty_dbq said:

*Sigh* Y'know, I really didn't want to bring this up, but seeing so many people apparently gushing over this thing between Otto and Thumbalina or whatever the hell her name is, I feel I have to throw this out there before you get to far ahead of yourselves.

Remember the *ahem* "concerns" that many were voicing before issue 2 of this series was released? Particularly those regarding Mary Jane and a certain "R" word? Well, don't the rules for that technically carry over to anyone Otto would involve himself with while he's committing life-fraud? It doesn't matter if this version of "Peter Parker" is the only one she's ever known, he's still not Peter Parker. It's all built on a lie! You're basically rooting for a felony to occur.

No because Ann met SpOck after the mind swap. The charges were directed against Otto because he was (ab)using the history shared between Peter and Marry Jane to have sex. He did not reveal his true identity, so she assumed she was sleeping with Peter. That can easily be viewed as rape.

With Ann, however, things are very different.She has zero prior interactions with Peter. We also know she isn't the kind of girl to go after the pretty guys. She thus fell in love with Otto, not Peter. What Otto is doing is just a Sci-Fi version of using a pseudonym, or an assumed identity. However, he did not impersonate some one famous, nor is he cashing in on his name/identity, nor did he do anything else to mislead Ann.

With this in mind, all allegations are null and void. She fell in love with Otto, not Peter.

The only issue now is that when all is revealed - will she scorn Otto or stick with the man she fell in love with (but not his body).

"Nor did he do anything to mislead Ann"

Yes, he has. That's exactly what he's doing by presenting himself as Peter Parker, slightly arrogant, handsome, smart guy, and not as Otto Octavius, convicted murderer who once tried to blow up all of New York and murdered his way into that body he's in now.

Do you think Anna Maria would want to sleep with Potto if she knew he was a convicted murderer who tried to fry the entire planet to ash just a few months ago?

I'm banking on no.

It may not technically be rape, but it's certainly messed up and problematic.

Edited by MideonNViscera

I really liked the Peter scenes before the superheroics kicked in. Even if it's really Doc Ock, it's nice to see things coming together for him. I thought his dialogue with Sanjini(?) was pretty funny.

I also like that Flash didn't just go instantly nuts when Spidey attacked him. He figured it made sense, even if he wasn't totally correct as to why.

Aunt May talking about diversity in regards to Anna, then Jay mentioning Cardiac, or however that played out, was super awkward haha In a humorous and intentional way though.

Posted by ConcernedSpiderFan

I don't like talking about this whole rape thing its been covered a trillion times. I like Anna I'd say she's the second best idea Dan has had in Spider-Man titles. The thing is rape will always hang over the series because Otto is using Peter's body Otto is not raping Marconi but any sexual act of his is raping Peter.

Posted by MideonNViscera

I don't like talking about this whole rape thing its been covered a trillion times. I like Anna I'd say she's the second best idea Dan has had in Spider-Man titles. The thing is rape will always hang over the series because Otto is using Peter's body Otto is not raping Marconi but any sexual act of his is raping Peter.

I don't want to talk about the rape thing, but 2 of the 3 sentences in my post will be about that.

Posted by Ando123

Great issue

Edited by TheCheeseStabber
Posted by TheAcidSkull
Posted by TheCheeseStabber

@theacidskull: he did GLA (Great Lakes Avengers) He has a special place in my heart

Posted by InnerVenom123
Edited by TheCheeseStabber

@theacidskull said:

@thecheesestabber:

everything by slott is retroactively bad because of that one thing i dont like

...I never said that O.o?

I enjoy his Superior and GLA I'm just ticked on his Venom writing....

Thats what you get for making assumptions....

Posted by trunkszero157

I stopped reading spiderman years ago, picked it up back for the last issue of amazing. Lets just say SSM is one of my must have pick ups.

Edited by TheAcidSkull
Posted by TheAcidSkull

@thecheesestabber: I'll admit that he did good work but then he was given to much freedom. His hank pym was amazing.

Posted by TheCheeseStabber
Edited by TheAcidSkull
Posted by Rainja

Honestly, I aint a fan of Superior Spiderman. I dont like the whole Doc ock gimmick but i am only interested in Venom and the Green Goblin in this arc.

Posted by Blues32

I just want this to end...bring back the real Spider-Man. Octavious is such a tool. He's ruining EVERYTHING. Because of him, New York is in for some serious trouble. Goblin's got a powerful foot hold now.

The only thing I'm really interested in seeing is if that's really Norman under that mask. It's what one would first assume...but he was pretty messed up by the end of his last scheme. That and the battle between him and Hobgoblin. Last time was cheap...Norman wasn't even in costume.

Edited by novi_homines

Picking up the trade after this review.

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