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Superior Spider-Man #9 - Troubled Mind, Part Three: Gray Matters Review

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It's a battle of minds as Peter and Doc Ock face-off inside of Peter's mind!

Warning: There will be some spoilers within this review.

The Good

Doc Ock finds the Peter Parker brain pattern anomaly with his scanner and attempts to wipe Peter away for good. Inside Peter's brain, the two battle it out for supremacy.

This is quite the controversial issue, probably just as controversial as AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700 where it's revealed Peter Parker and Doc Ock switched bodies. I will not spoil anything big, but this issue is a huge game changer for the series. On top of that, the decision writer Dan Slott makes in this issue with this character is an awesome way to go.

In the epic battle between Peter and Ock, I thought for sure I'd be cheering for Peter. He's Spider-Man, right? How could you not want to cheer for the good guy? Dan Slott has this magical ability to slowly make you root for the bad guy. There's this amazing turning point where Doc Ock realizes is not Dr Octopus, he's Superior Spider-Man now, and he has this conversation with Peter where he, in a weird way, proves that even though he's killing people, he's actually a superior version of Spider-Man. It comes to this stunning conclusion where I really feel for Peter and all he's gone through, but as the reader, I find myself siding with Doc Ock. I'm blown away with how Slott's writing changes my perception of Peter and Ock all in one issue.

Taking a breather from the craziness, for a moment, Ryan Stegman's cover here is amazing. Not only is it a great representation of the story within the issue, but I love how Spidey's brain is also the title of the book. What a cool concept.

Another quick thing I loved about this issue was seeing Doc Ock, in Peter's mind, in his old green costume with his terrible bowlcut again. I haven't been a fan of any of the redesigns of this character, so seeing this, for one last time, made the Spider-Fan in me happy.

Back to Ryan Stegman... His work is top notch. This is an insane issue. There's a ton of stuff going on, and art-wise, Stegman nailed it. There's so much going on here, and so much action taking place, and Stgman puts together a very clear-cut style that's easy to read and brilliant at telling the story within the book. By far, my favorite page here happens towards the end when a beaten Doc Ock realized who he truly is. It's three, pretty simple panels that flow so well, and I loved the use of the negative space and how Ock's face blends into it.

The Bad

My only real problem with the issue was that the back and forth battle, in the first half really didn't grab me. I didn't like the scenes with Peter and Ock saying to each other "I've got these guys backing me up!" It was a tad cheesy. However, it really picks up the pace and becomes really awesome around page 13.

The Verdict

I know there's going to be people freaking out because I'm not freaking out. Frankly, I'm sick of stagnant story lines. It's nice to see someone doing something risky. Tons of people freaked out during #700 and vowed never to read Spider-Man again, and then those people, for some reason, picked up SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN, stuck with it, and really ended up enjoying it. It's going to be the same thing here, but there's no reason to fret. Everything, at some point, will most likely all go back to normal, so let's enjoy this crazy ride while we can.

This was an awesome issue. It was better than I expected, after reading issue #8. I had a bit of a problem with the first half of the book coming off as a tad cheesy, but overall, this was such a great issue, and an amazing way to wrap up this first arc of this book. Slott does wonders with these characters and the dialogue here, especially during the final scenes, and Ryan Stegman's art is so pretty, and that cover is so awesome. This is an issue I could easily read multiple times because it's the perfect mixture of crazy and amazing.

Overall, I highly recommend this issue.

141 Comments
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Posted by IronAngelX

Meh

Edited by frogdog

There is difference between risky and plain stupid. This story falls on the latter.

Posted by Squalleon

predictable!

but i can see why Slott did it.
he first put ghost Pete to calm the angry fans and when they started accepting SpOck kill him with all his might

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Posted by FadeToBlackBolt

@frogdog said:

There is difference between risky and plain stupid. This story falls on the latter.

Yep, exactly right .

Storylines that haven't been done before are often not done because writers have had the good sense to not write something so stupid.

It's why no one has written a romantic comedy set in Auschwitz.

Posted by akbogert

It is rather amusing that almost everything you liked about this issue and placed in the "The Good" section will fall under many other people's "The Bad" section.

Divisive indeed, but suffice to say I'm siding with the people who are upset that the original Spider-Man is being made to look bad and unsympathetic in the fallout of his very own book. Everyone was upset when Parker died, but keeping him pseudo-alive just to do this strikes me as far more insulting than it would have been to simply off him.

Edited by TheAcidSkull

This issue was Not only terrible, but as a spider-man fan i feel ashamed.

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Edited by laflux
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Posted by animehunter

@akbogert said:

It is rather amusing that almost everything you liked about this issue and placed in the "The Good" section will fall under many other people's "The Bad" section.

Divisive indeed, but suffice to say I'm siding with the people who are upset that the original Spider-Man is being made to look bad and unsympathetic in the fallout of his very own book. Everyone was upset when Parker died, but keeping him pseudo-alive just to do this strikes me as far more insulting than it would have been to simply off him.

@frogdog said:

There is difference between risky and plain stupid. This story falls on the latter.

Yep, exactly right .

Storylines that haven't been done before are often not done because writers have had the good sense to not write something so stupid.

It's why no one has written a romantic comedy set in Auschwitz.

^ALL THIS

Posted by butters911

Good review, but Marcos Martin did the cover for this issue

Posted by HollowPrince65

I loved this issue. I'm actually not upset like the solicitation said I would be. Its weird but I am actually siding with Ock...I never thought I'd love this series so much, buts its a great book and I want more! Cannot wait for #10. Loved the art and after the 'My posse is bigger than your posse' moment. Once it was just Peter and Ock, things got down and dirty. I absolutely loved when Ock made Peter admit that he was wrong about messing with his hand before the surgery last issue. So excited to see where this goes....oh and 2099 SPIDER-MAN IN SEPTEMBER!

Posted by comedyknight

@akbogert: Everyone was upset when Parker died, but keeping him pseudo-alive just to do this strikes me as far more insulting than it would have been to simply off him.

Remember that Peter Parker isn't actually a person. You can't insult them or hurt their feelings. Just enjoy the story, things will go back to normal eventually.

Edited by Lvenger

Gah why am I not surprised? This was a terrible, terrible issue yet all is well in this review. Peter Parker's character has been desecrated and that's a good thing? Something must be wrong with the world. When a writer can ruin a character and be praised for it that is.

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Posted by kingjoeg

Hated this

Posted by TheAcidSkull

@laflux said:

Me and @innervenom123 will feed off your hate

especially yours

@theacidskull:

knock yourself's out. this issue has a lot to HATE, so i hate it. Any spider-man fan would see this.

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Posted by FadeToBlackBolt

@lvenger said:

Gah why am I not surprised? This was a terrible, terrible issue yet all is well in this review. Peter Parker's character has been desecrated and that's a good thing? Something must be wrong with the world. When a writer can ruin a character and be praised for it that is.

Welcome to Comicvine, my friend.

Posted by Lvenger
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Posted by laflux

@theacidskull: Did I enjoy it. Not that much. But am I going to rage. Nah. Spider-Man is my favorite comic book character EVAH, but there is still alot for me to read. I'm Enjoying Luther Strode, just picked up some valiant titles, Top Cow seems nice and for me Scarlet Spider and Venom is filling that Spider itch for me. There is enough to satisfy me until Peter hopefully shows his face again.

But I feel your pain

And it satisfies my hunger

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Edited by Lvenger

@fadetoblackbolt: I've written a review of this issue since it peeved me off so much if you want to look at it. Not nearly as good as you could have done it or TAS' but it brings some flaws in Slott's writing to light

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Posted by MSchiwal

I loved this issue. I have been really shocked with how much I have enjoyed Otto as the Superior Spider-Man and it was great seeing this inevitable battle. As cheezy as it was to see Peter summon up his friends and family... seeing Otto then summon up all of his villains and use them to kill the friends and family? And not only that but killing their memories? It was brilliant, I mean come on, Pete forgot his Uncle's name!

I am also really quite content with the ending. Here's hoping Spider-Man stays superior.

Posted by TheAcidSkull

@laflux said:

@theacidskull: Did I enjoy it. Not that much. But am I going to rage. Nah. Spider-Man is my favorite comic book character EVAH, but there is still alot for me to read. I'm Enjoying Luther Strode, just picked up some valiant titles, Top Cow seems nice and for me Scarlet Spider and Venom is filling that Spider itch for me. There is enough to satisfy me until Peter hopefully shows his face again.

But I feel your pain

And it satisfies my hunger

Oh i'm not raging :), there are Good comics to read as well, the walking dead, hulk, thor, daredevil, Scarelt spider. I'm just simply done with the superior BullS

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Edited by akbogert

Someone needs to create a go-to .gif that I can use whenever someone uses the banal "it's just fiction" argument. I don't understand why people are allowed to have positive emotional reactions to comics but when they have negative ones they're told "it's not real, stop caring."

I am still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that, within the main Spider-Man book, we have basically had Peter Parker admit that he would have been a better hero if he had killed people. We have, in canon, had Spider-Man apologize for one of the biggest things that made him the hero that he was. I'm not sure I have the ability to comprehend how someone could praise that.

Posted by TheAcidSkull

@lvenger said:

@fadetoblackbolt: I've written a review of this issue since it peeved me off so much if you want to look at it. Not nearly as good as you could have done it or TAS' but it brings some flaws in Slott's writing to light

stop being so modest, your review puts my review to shame.

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Posted by Lvenger

@theacidskull: Your one is rated as the most helpful user review on CV. So really it's your review that puts mine to shame :P

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Posted by TheAcidSkull

@lvenger said:

@theacidskull: Your one is rated as the most helpful user review on CV. So really it's your review that puts mine to shame :P

THAT PROVES NOTHING! FADE WILL BACK ME UP ON THIS!

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Edited by leokearon

Hurray No more Ghost Peter, the worst part of Superior Spider-man.

I don't see what people are going ape over, Peter died in Amazing #700 and all Otto did was just remove Peter's memories from his mind. Peter is going to come back in time for Amazing Spider-man 2, count on it. Until then enjoy the great series. This entire thing reminds me of Ben Reilly

Posted by stetson12

This issue doesn't make me too mad, because now it just has to explain another way for Peter to comeback. I wouldn't like it if he came back so quickly and not creatively. Having Ock free himself from Parker memories allows Peter to come back in a number of much better ways, and when he does I expect him to prove who in fact is the Superior Spider-man.

Edited by Lvenger

@theacidskull: Fine. But yours is still better than mine.

@leokearon: I could point out the flaws in your reasoning but I've done enough raging over this issue of Superior Spider-Man today. Needless to say prepare for a barrage of opposition to your post now :P

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Posted by TheAcidSkull

@lvenger said:

@theacidskull: Fine. But yours is still better than mine.

@leokearon: I could point out the flaws in your reasoning but I've done enough raging over this issue of Superior Spider-Man today. Needless to say prepare for a barrage of opposition to your post now :P

NO!...JUST....NO!, your review was more accurate and made for more points than my mash clash of a review! your writing skills far surpass mine! Ask fade, he knows how to write kick ass reviews! he'll tell you!

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Posted by leokearon

@lvenger said:

@theacidskull: Fine. But yours is still better than mine.

@leokearon: I could point out the flaws in your reasoning but I've done enough raging over this issue of Superior Spider-Man today. Needless to say prepare for a barrage of opposition to your post now :P

Well if the Amazing Spider-fans can have their say then so can the Superior Spider-fans

Posted by frogdog

Hurray No more Ghost Peter, the worst part of Superior Spider-man.

I don't see what people are going ape over, Peter died in Amazing #700 and all Otto did was just remove Peter's memories from his mind. Peter is going to come back in time for Amazing Spider-man 2, count on it. Until then enjoy the great series. This entire thing reminds me of Ben Reilly

I am far from being ben riley's biggest, but at least ben riley took the mantle in a honorable way. Ock stole peter's life for his own selfish reasons.

Posted by GBrutality

From the get-go, I've actually been ok with Dr. Octopus becoming Spider-Man. I figured it was gonna happen and was okay with it because, well it's comics. The return to normalcy is inevitable. The whole death at the end of 700 was sucky, but I for some reason wasn't too fazed. This issue however made me very uncomfortable. See, beating Spider-Man physically is one thing, but what makes the hero unique are the bonds he forms and his never-say-die nature. His memories were completely wiped and we watched that happen in a really heart-wrenching fashion. We watched uncle Ben bloody, beaten and dead again, while Peter forgot his name. That, yes, Doc has points, and there are villains that there is no other way to deal with them other than how Massacre was, but it's still the fact that a hero is something deep down Octavius can never be. Enemy or not, that's what separates Peter from Otto in the sense that what has been done, Peter never would have dreamed on his worst day. Otto is someone playing dress-up and if there is any heroic nature truly in him will realize he killed someone who he actually idolized, fractured dozens of honest relationships, continues to fool these innocent and good people, just because his ego couldn't let it slide. I'm all for this switch but because Peter's return is also a whole slew of stories we could get from over time, but reading all of that was painful. As a long time spider-fan, seeing his deserved memories ranging from the bugle to family to friends all disappear on him was truly sad. This isn't me swearing anything off and looking to complain all the time cause in all honesty, I like the series. It's just Ock giving a lecture over a little girl dying, when Spider-Man has saved countless lives, and now that he is just looking to fill his shoes since Peter's life sucks less than his, thinks he made some sort of grand point? That girl was in that condition because of Octavius. There wouldn't be a need for the extensiveness of what she needed if he hadn't been trying to bring about the apocalypse. So that point made no headway with me and got me more annoyed because wow, Peter wanted his own body back for a second more than he was willing to allow Ock to correct his own mistake, which he wouldn't have even been able to do had Peter not been in his brain mucking about and Octopus trying to get rid of him in the first place.

Posted by leokearon

@frogdog: I'm more referring to the way Ben was treated by fans at the time, who wouldn't give Ben a chance just because he wasn't Peter Parker

Posted by Lvenger

NO!...JUST....NO!, your review was more accurate and made for more points than my mash clash of a review! your writing skills far surpass mine! Ask fade, he knows how to write kick ass reviews! he'll tell you!

Well the points we made were similar so it's hard to distinguish. Not that it's a bad thing because we both knew exactly what was wrong with this issue :P

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Edited by MSchiwal

@gbrutality: Honestly I think that it made a lot of sense the Peter lost that battle. Peter's worst flaw has always been his self doubt. Certainly in every arc where it comes up he eventually overcomes it, but it always rears its head again. He is constantly down on himself and thinking the worst of his own actions. While it is the aspect I have always least liked about Peter, it is without a doubt a core aspect. So when Otto brings up Peter's recent missteps, of course Peter is going to think of them as worse and it created a self-doubt in himself... as opposed to Otto who never, ever doubts himself. His biggest flaw has always been his arrogance but in that case it was his saving grace as in the end with the two of them fighting for the body it eventually became: What if he really is better? vs Of course I am Superior!

Posted by akbogert

@lvenger said:

@theacidskull: Fine. But yours is still better than mine.

@leokearon: I could point out the flaws in your reasoning but I've done enough raging over this issue of Superior Spider-Man today. Needless to say prepare for a barrage of opposition to your post now :P

Well if the Amazing Spider-fans can have their say then so can the Superior Spider-fans

The opinions of fans of a 700-issue series and character pack far more validity and clout than those of people defending a 9-issue series. When what you have loved for a few months requires the desecration of what people have loved for decades, your opinion becomes somewhat irrelevant (and don't take that too personally -- I feel that my own opinion on any of the New 52 changes to characters, for example, is irrelevant in the wake of how those changes ruined pre-Flashpoint versions of those characters and stories).

@gbrutality: I completely agree. I appreciate that even a person who is enjoying the series can frankly point out why the way this was handled in particular bothers people so much.

Edited by InnerVenom123

All this mad.

Posted by Kerrigan

Geez, Pete will be back. Most story arcs have the villain seemingly triumphant in the middle, and no matter the details of the plot, Slott's a fairly conventional writer in structure.

And no, no sympathy for Ock. He's murdering scum. Occasionally feeling mild pangs of guilt doesn't make up for that.

Posted by TheAcidSkull

@lvenger: thats true bud your's was more organized. :P

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Posted by Lvenger
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Posted by TheAcidSkull
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Posted by leokearon

@akbogert: So Doc Ock fans don't have the same validity has Spider-man fans? That's stupid, Doc Ock has been around just as long as Spidey so my opinion is just a s valid as yours. I love Superior because I'm a big Doc Ock fan and Superior is just another evolution of his character (which should have happen earlier, thanks a bunch DeFalco) and I'm enjoying it. So Otto has been Spidey, so what Otto defeated Spidey in his first appearance and Peter came back. This is no different, it's just taking longer. Pete will be back by the time of Amazing Spider-man 2, because Marvel love their movies.

Edited by Tony_Shark

Everyone is just hurt that Peter is gone, but Doc Ock is a better Spider-Man. You can't make everyone love you. The world isn't perfect, and I'm sorry if this crushes your dreams, but it is the truth. It doesn't make us monsters, but does gives us a hell of a story. I support Dan Slott.

Posted by Lvenger
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Posted by soduh2

Even if Ock has good intentions, any lecture he could have against Peter would be like the pot calling the kettle black. He didn't only kill Peter, he literally stole someone else's life, he can't be justified for that. I think Slott will have Otto realize that when "everyone" starts to love Superior, and that's when Peter will return.

Posted by TheAcidSkull

@lvenger said:

@theacidskull: Slott is a hack? :P

well yes but i wanted to say that your writing skills are better.

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Posted by InnerVenom123

@frogdog said:

@leokearon said:

Hurray No more Ghost Peter, the worst part of Superior Spider-man.

I don't see what people are going ape over, Peter died in Amazing #700 and all Otto did was just remove Peter's memories from his mind. Peter is going to come back in time for Amazing Spider-man 2, count on it. Until then enjoy the great series. This entire thing reminds me of Ben Reilly

I am far from being ben riley's biggest, but at least ben riley took the mantle in a honorable way. Ock stole peter's life for his own selfish reasons.

Let's not romanticize the past. Ben's reign as Spider-man was ushered in through a test that proved the Peter Parker fans had been reading about for three hundred issues since that first Clone Saga was a fake.

Posted by akbogert

@leokearon: If the triumph of your character requires the destruction of another one's legacy, then yes, your opinion becomes irrelevant. Keep in mind that I said earlier that I think Peter just outright dying would have been a lot more palatable. I don't mind Ock getting the spotlight he deserves -- he is a cool character. But the fact that that spotlight requires literally killing Peter's legacy and making MJ a complete moron -- that's the thing that I take issue with, and if you're going to argue that those things are justified because Ock deserves to look good, then that's where your opinion becomes irrelevant to me.

As for people arguing that Ock is right, I think there are a lot of great points in here as to why that's a distorted view. How can he be the "better Spider-Man?" Better crime-fighter, maybe? Better hero? Not a chance, because he's stolen a life, killed people, is lying blatantly to everyone -- he has zero moral ground to stand on, and is therefore not only not the better hero, but not a hero at all. How do you define "Spider-Man?" Surely being a hero must be part of it? Surely being committed to good must be a part of it? When people say Otto is better at being Spider-Man, what they really should say is that he is better at diminishing crime while using spider-based powers. I've always thought there was more to Spider-Man than just that, but I guess I'm in the minority.

Edited by Kerrigan

I don't remember: do we know what happened to Ock's body and the gold octobot? Having Pete still be in one or the other or both might be the way back. Doesn't have to make too much sense in Marvelland.

Or maybe Mephisto will just change everything back to how it was...

Posted by darkwingdan

I see a lot of people complaining about how much they dislike the direction of this series. If that's the case, why are you still buying this title? If you really want to send a message to Marvel about your dissatisfaction, commenting on the internet is not going to do it. A decline in sales, on the other hand, will. It makes no sense to keep buying a title if you don't like it.

For example, I picked up the first couple issues of the New 52 Superman and Green Arrow. I didn't like them, so I stopped buying (I've since picked up GA now that Lemire is writing). Most people work too hard for their money to spend it on something they don't enjoy.

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