I've been thinking about this for awhile, since way back when Amazing Spider-Man 698 broke out and everyone could see what was happening to the character from a mile away. Only now, though, do I finally have a solid idea on how I feel about it and what I'm going to say.
I should preface this by stating that I was one of many who could not stomach ASM issue to issue after the travesty that was One More Day. I know, I know, how edgy of me. I don't feel I have to focus on this point, but it's good to understand how I see the book and Peter Parker in general. And basically I feel like Marvel has A LOT to fix about the character before I could possibly get invested in him again.
I also don't feel I need to talk much about the nuts and bolts of the story itself. We all know the twist that Otto and Peter switched bodies isn't all that clever. Remember Secret Invasion? An entire EVENT based on the premise of Super Villains stealing the identities of Marvel's heroes. Clearly Dan Slott did what most of us chose to do and forgot about the whole thing, which is fine and dandy, though I suppose something about how Doc Ock stole his greatest foe's mind the same way he'd steal credit card information rubs me the wrong way. But for what it's worth, Slott is by no means a bad writer, regardless of how you feel about the story being told.
And do I really need to explain how this premise has a very low shelf life? Does anyone really need to hear about how no higher up would ever allow Peter to be dead when there's an entire new film franchise is in production? They couldn't even resist CREATING ANOTHER BLACK NICK FURY to match up with the cinematic universe, even though we already had one, and the new guy is probably the most boring thing to happen to comics in a while? (But that's a rant for another time). Bottom line is, it will last about as long as DC's sales bump from the new 52 (too soon?)
That's all negligible. It doesn't matter all too much. From my perspective, as someone who just can't really care about Spider-man anymore, someone who gets all his web-slinging from the under appreciated Scarlet Spider, I need to judge this on it's own merits. And my Judgement, based on what I know so far?
Who the F@&% wants to read about Doctor Octopus as Spider-man?
Imagine that Peter Parker as we know him never existed, but Otto Octavius is the same person, still in existence, and you care about him the same way you always did.
Do you really want to see him in a Spider-suit?
Nothing about this premise appeals to me. As much as Slott wants to act like he can make a lasting conflict out of Otto trying to be good, do we really care about him that much? Are we that invested in the character that we want to see him carry on his own book? Really?
That is what I think is the core problem with this title. A book doesn't just survive on the story it is telling. You need a character you can latch onto, someone to MAKE YOU CARE about the stakes and the conflict, and actually hope that they succeed.
I don't get any of that from those 3 issues of the last arc of ASM.
All I got from it was the fact that Doctor Octopus is probably going to rape Mary Jane. And make no mistake, people. If you have sex with someone under false pretenses, especially one as important to a relationship as IDENTITY, that is rape.
But let's ignore all this for a second. Let's look at the title of the new Spider-man flagship.
What makes him Superior. Is it Otto's ego, and the title is a slight wink to his arrogance? Maybe. and if that is the case, I won't mind it.
His increased intelligence? Maybe, but Peter is no slouch and has outsmarted Doc Ock more times than I care to remember.
How has Dan Slott and his partners at Marvel explained the title?
"He's more EXTREME" " More violent" "unpredictable" "DARKER".
Some other words come to mind with these.
Any fan familiar with the dark ages of comic books, the 90's, should be very familiar with what Slott is doing here. What makes this book superior isn't a more interesting character than Peter. It isn't a step up in the quality of the writing (since it's the same author and all).
It's the fact that our hero is now an anti-hero, fresh with all the angst and violence only an ill conceived attempt to revive a fan base that long since disappeared could produce.
That really is what rubs me the wrong way. Of all the changes Slott could have picked, he chooses this. I utterly despise these kinds of things, where a character could only be improved by adding grit and violence to him.
In fact, I remember such a thing happened in a well known story. One that may have been adapted into the 2nd biggest movie of this year.
Yes, knightfall. A tale of the man who broke the Bat. And who replaced the Bat when he was unable to continue?
John Paul Valley. Azrael. A man far more brutal than his predecessor. A man willing to maim, cripple, and even kill, out of the belief that his actions are more effective. SUPERIOR, you could say.
The difference here is that Monsieur Valley was removed from his position, and returned to obscurity. Why? Because he was meant to illustrate a point: that bloody, violent means don't make a better Batman. And if that didn't make a better dark knight, that certainly doesn't make a better Spider-man.
That's all I really have to say on this. I should add, I clearly have not read Superior Spider-Man, so all I'm saying is just conjecture, and may in fact be entirely wrong as the title continues. I also don't believe that Dan Slott's Superior spider-man will be "bad", per se. Just... Inferior.
But hey, I'm just some guy on the internet, right? Like my opinion should really matter.