granitesoldier's Superior Spider-Man #20 - Spidey Still Standing review

Stunning the Black Cat

Felicia Hardy, the Black Cat, has been a long time favorite Spider-Man supporting character of mine. So when I heard she was making a re-appearance in Superior Spider-Man, of all things, I had mixed feelings of "awesome" and "oh hell". Given Ock's disposition for brutalizing criminals and his desire to "woo" women with his new body, I wasn't sure where Slott would take this encounter.

Well, the cover is a bit misleading, but what happens is so short and abrupt I feel he was just trying to screw with Black Cat fans like myself.

In this issue we learn that Ock, after having left Horizon, is planning on starting is own company, called Parker Industries with a loan from Aunt May and her husband and with Sajani Jaffery. Meanwhile, Madame Webb and another "patient" in her room both awaken from their comas (Madame Webb has grim news, of course) and Ock pitches his thesis for his Doctorate.

This is amusing, as he is using his old work as Doc Ock as his basis. Dr Lamaze, having been an old colleague of Ock's, realizes this and accuses "Peter" of plagiarism. Ock, in Ock fashion, swears to prevent Lamaze from ruining him and getting his Doctorate. If we know Ock, this probably won't end well.

We see more of Carlie's crusade to prove Spider-Man isn't Spider-Man, and we get a short glimpse at Mary Jane moving on from Otto's disrespect and verbal abuses.

The issue ends in stunning fashion, with an old enemy of Spider-Man's and an old acquaintance of Otto's.

Giuseppe Camuncoli's artwork is good, for the most part, but there are a few times where character's look much heavier than they should or facial expressions are just overly done or look completely off.

The real negative, aside from the artwork at some points, is how this issue feels like a filler. Certainly, there are going to be issues that are just there to bridge the gap between one issue and another, but I feel like this was just done with the run in with Felicia just so Ock covers all bases in Peter's life. What I mean by that is, I feel Dan Slott included her just to have Otto piss her off, and lead to later problems for Peter when he returns. Otherwise, this entire issue could cut out their interaction and the issue is exactly the same. It has no real impact. Plus, for all his genius, how does Otto not think that Lamaze, who he used to work with, would not be familiar with his work? Yes, Otto's arrogance and dismissal of other's intelligence is nothing new, but I feel like he'd be smart enough to cover the work a bit to seem a bit more original here.

Superior Spider-Man has been going pretty strong. Last few issues we've been seeing Otto's life begin to blow up in his face, and despite trying to make things work, the foundation continues to slowly crumble. This is a good place to jump in on, if you'd been debating whether or not to read it, because it is slow and there are new developments going on and little that would need previous explaining. Things are going to get interesting fast, though, as I can't help but feel this is all setting the stage for issue 25 and "Darkest Hour", when Ock finally meets Venom.

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