lvenger's Superior Spider-Man #9 - Troubled Mind, Part Three: Gray Matters review

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The Superior Spider-Man? More like the Self Righteous Spider-Man!

Usually I try to take the glass half full approach to everything I do in life but I alternate between an optimistic and practical or realistic view. For this issue of Superior Spider-Man, I came in with the glass being empty approach so I wouldn’t be disappointed with how Slott handled this issue. Given that future solicits for Spider-Man still have Superior in the title, it’s not hard to guess that Ock will be sticking around in Peter’s body. But it’s what happens in this issue that easily beats Superior Spider-Man 2 for being one of the worst Spider-Man stories I have ever read and moves it into the worst Spider-Man stories ever category for me.

SPOILERS FROM HERE!

The Good

  • · Despite my very much wanting to give this issue a zero, that can’t be managed on a CV review. And Stegmans’ art is very good in this issue. His pencilling offers a clear and engaging look at the faces of the characters in the issue. The action scene is brutally drawn by Stegman and Delgado’s colouring sprinkles a suitable tone to the direction of this book. This is one of the few things I can appreciate about the direction of Superior Spider-Man, the tone of Stegman’s artwork

The Bad

  • · Where to begin? Well regarding the ‘witty’ exchange between SpOck and the Living Brain, I can’t begin to express how clichéd that is. It’s a common gag across the entertainment industry that a double act usually has a competent member and a nitwit who constantly makes mistakes and is shouted at by the other guy. Slott tries to for that effect but given his attempts in the previous issues, it falls flat in his face as it’s an overdone gag that doesn’t work that well.
  • · If one overdone plot point isn’t enough for you, more is on the way. The story moves onto SpOck entering Peter’s mind to clear out the Parker memory fragment. Peter summons memories of his friends and family to defend him but Ock responds with manifestations of Peter’s doubts and fears in the form of his enemies. Seriously Slott? This is how you express your story? Not in an innovative, creative way but a rehashed version of the protagonist’s friends against his enemies corresponding to the good and bad attributes of Peter? That’s not only deplorable, that’s lazy story telling.
  • · After Peter’s doubts have killed his memories of his friends and family, Peter proceeds to Spider-Man up and attack Ock. What Slott has Peter say in these few short exchanges in the fight is kind of related to what’s going on in the story, but it’s as if Slott has forgotten how to write Peter. He sounds whiny, brattish and almost as arrogant and self righteous as Slott depicts Ock in this series. It’s a very disconcerting sight to see Peter demand his body back as Slott has him do. Even though I obviously empathise with Peter and am wholly on his side in this awful debacle, the way he’s written isn’t right. In a way, it’s a good thing the remains of Peter go in this issue so he’s not written poorly by Slott anymore.
  • · After enduring a beating from Peter and demands for his body back, Ock realises that apparently the most responsible course of action is to give the world the Superior Spider-Man it needs. And guess who Slott unanimously decides that to be? Yep you guessed it, Ock! A self righteous, stuck up monster who brutalises, terrorises and murders his foes, along with alienating Peter’s friends and allies all for some absurd notion that the anti heroic at best SpOck is capable of being a better Spider-Man than Peter.
  • · Whilst the two Spider-Men fight in Peter’s mind, Slott justifies SpOck being the better Spider-Man by pointing out that the Mayor and police are on his side, crime is down, foes like Massacre can never threaten anyone again. Somehow, in Slott’s warped fantasy of how he wants to write this story, this means that SpOck is superior than the greatest, most morally virtuous hero in the Marvel universe. Seems totally the least legitimate thing in comic book history. Throughout his 40+ year history, Peter Parker has done things that leave Ock’s morally dubious acts in utter shambles. There should never be a comparison between the strength of Ock’s character and that of Peter’s.
  • · I need a separate point for this criticism and this is gonna be a long one. Not only content with giving Spider-Man fans this Superior rubbish for another year at least, Slott desecrates the very nature and essence of Peter Parker’s character in order to justify why SpOck is going to make the better Spider-Man than Peter for the time being. And then, and then we have the absolute horror of horrors occur. SpOck asks Peter why he interfered with finding the scanner so he could cure a little girl. And Peter says he did it so Ock wouldn’t find him in his mind. That’s right, Peter Parker, the man who sold his marriage to the devil to save his aunt doesn’t want Ock to save a dying little girl because he wants to save his own skin. Such an event happening is a definite call for cursewords so if you know any, imagine they are supplemented in this review. This disgusted me when I saw it on the page. Absolutely disgusted me. I was expecting bad things but for Slott to do this to my favourite Marvel character, it’s utterly reprehensible. For Peter to be this worried about himself to not care about whether the girl died is a disgrace to Spider-Man’s character. Do you know what makes a Superior Spider-Man for me? Someone who makes sacrifice upon sacrifice to do the right thing, someone who faces trial after trial yet stays on the right path, someone who has lost many people he has cared about in his life but still adheres to be a responsible person and hero to others and continue what he does to help other people selflessly. These are all things Peter has done time after time yet in that one moment of bad characterisation, Slott has ruined all those good moments by having Peter act like a self centred jerk just to make SpOck look like a Superior Spider-Man.

I could go on but I’ve said enough bad things for one review. Suffice to say, I’m very disappointed in the quality of this series and the treatment of my favourite Marvel character. I dropped this book at 6AU so I’ve made my position very clear on how I feel about the direction Slott is taking Spider-Man in. If you’re even on the edge about continuing this series, I would strongly urge you to drop it now as by continuing to follow your favourite character like this only reinforces his treatment at the hands of Slott like this. To those who actually like what Slott’s doing, well I guess I’ll never understand the warped perceptions of Slott’s writing. And this is coming from a former Slott fan.

Recommendation: Stay the hell away from this series until Peter comes back with a new creative team!

51 Comments
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Posted by TheAcidSkull

KICK ASS MAN! THATS WHAT YOU DID RIGHT HERE!

Could not agree more!

Posted by Lvenger
Posted by TheAcidSkull
Edited by alpha1001

Um hello,

does anyone know why Slott is favoring ock more than peter(along with the rubbish story)

...BIG SPOILER AHEAD

....

....

....

....

Slott and Ock have the same sized GUT!!!!!

There you have it.The sole reason for this garbage story.

Anyways about Ock's blame on Peter for putting his life over Ock saving Amy Chen,wasn't it Ock who initially damaged the girl????? And he too was too fired up to snatch the scanner from Cardiac.And he damaged a hospital for his selfish need.(Not to mention he still took it after saving the girl.

Conclusively , meh.

I think we should stop posting our rage .Gives Slott more and more reason to increase it.And now that Peter's wiped out,what more possibly could Slott ruin more.(There u go ,a challenge.)

Ans: Kill all of Peters friend and family next,I suppose.Maybe slowly Slott is injecting new support cast also. "The remnants of an old life must make way for the new"

Edited by broo1232

Nicely done :)

Edited by 8008S

I know they have to keep the Spidey/Ock thing going for a while to tell the stories they've planned but this was quite a bad way of doing it.

@gojirag I agree with your points, but what bugs me the most is that I'm not entirely sure whether Otto's moral stand reflects that of the people writing the title. I mean, it's one thing when we're shown how a character has delusional or twisted principles, but this just makes it look like Slott and/or the editorial staff agree with those principles entirely. I thought it was a really cheap shot at expense of Peter's integrity

Edited by Lvenger

@alpha1001: Firstly, lol. That comparison has been made before. Secondly, I thought that Amy was dying of a terminal illness and Cardiac stole Ock's helmet to cure her. Ock then helps Cardiac use the helmet to cure the girl and then uses it to get rid of Peter.

@gojirag: Watch the language please. This is a family friendly site. If you do feel the need to swear, please cover words such as s*** or other cursewords like this.

@broo1232: Thank you. Will you be reviewing this?

@8008s: Agreed 100%

Posted by FadeToBlackBolt

Great review, mate.

The worst thing about this is that it's having a retroactive effect on Peter that is "was he ever really that good a person, or was he just lucky enough to never be tested?" Slott isn't content to ruin the current Pete, he has to destroy the past as well.

Posted by Lvenger

@fadetoblackbolt: You see this is why I'm glad I told you about this review! Slott trying to demonise Peter into only being good in the sense that he was never tested is another damning aspect of this series.

Edited by FadeToBlackBolt

@lvenger: There's just nothing good about Superior Spider-Man.

Even AvX was OK to blind Iron Man and Avengers fans, but who is Superior written for? Doc Ock fans? What, all seven of them? Anyone who legitimately believes this run to be beneficial to Spider-Man and the medium at large has no idea what they're talking about.

Posted by Lvenger

@fadetoblackbolt: You complimenting AvX after a fashion? Superior must have something fundamentally wrong with it. I agree that this doesn't have a solid direction in mind. In fact it's been brought up that Slott has done this because he relates with Doc Ock somehow. He even said so in an interview. He's telling the Spider-Man story he alone wants to read.

Posted by broo1232

@lvenger: No problem. Don't know if I'll review it may do but see how much time I have.

Posted by FadeToBlackBolt

@lvenger: He's telling the story of himself as Spider-Man. It's a comic written for masturbation purposes, that's all it is.

And there are things wrong with it, anyone who knows anything about writing would look at this series and say "no... that's not how you structure a story". There are no redeemable factors, it ineptly flies in the face of key literary conventions (and not in a subversive and iconoclastic way) and is just bad in every technical way one can look at a text.

Posted by Lvenger

@fadetoblackbolt: Well thank you for putting an image of Slott masturbating over classic Spider-Man stories now. I don't expect I shall get to sleep tonight without having a nightmare :P

Have you read the issue yourself? I thought you'd sworn off the Big Two?

Edited by FadeToBlackBolt

@lvenger: I read the scans I could find. I don't pay for anything from the big two (other than the Batman Inc and AC trades, and my arm might be twisted on JL Dark), but I still keep an eye on what's going on.

Posted by Lvenger

@fadetoblackbolt: I see. That'll be the same with me if university forces me to cut down on comics. So far I can manage 4 in the future once I'm in but there's a lot to think about. Have you bought any AC or Inc trades yet? What do you think?

Posted by FadeToBlackBolt

@lvenger: I've read the first two issues of Inc (I have the first trade), but no AC yet. I'm waiting for the point where reading something from Marvel/DC doesn't make me think about the current state and consequently want to OD on sleeping tablets.

Edited by alpha1001

I think its worse than clone saga.

Does anybody agree with me????

Peter thought for his safety only for a moment(power responsibilty dialogue)but ock has been doing this his whole life and that too in Pete's body(getting a degree,hitting on MJ,trying to SNATCH the scanner off Amy Chen etc.)

Edited by Lvenger
Posted by Jack_Omally

If you honestly need to read this...Pirate it!!!

I can think of no worse thing to do then reading it without paying for it.

Posted by alpha1001

@jack_omally: bro,don't even pirate it(feels like reading an e-book).It feels the same.If u have the hard copy,just use it as a rough copy or scribble pad.

Edited by Ninjablade09

Great review, I've read scans of them fighting in there Spidey costumes, and I agree with everything you said. But what irks me the most is the inconsistency. I don't know if Slott has noticed or not but the reason he made Ock continue as Spider-man is to continue the Spider-man legacy as a means of good, not evil. Heck the last thing Ock says to Peter in 700 is that he doesn't want this responsibility, he would rather die. I think I might ban this issue from my collection like I did with 700. I refuse to own one. As much as I don't like Slott, I think he know what he is doing (at least I hope). I really think they may put Anna Marconi in the midst of a battle between an enemy of Spider-man's and she will die. Causing Ock to try and get Peter back with time travel anyone.

Posted by Lvenger

@ninjablade09: A worryingly plausible theory. It's a sad shame Slott would steep to that level but given what he's done today, it doesn't surprise me.

Posted by Ninjablade09

@lvenger: Doesn't matter to me. After issue 11 I'm done with Superior. Wont read till Miguel comes in. Will read the Return of Spider-man arc. You know it really sucks when someone crushes your childhood. I wish writers these days could give heroes good deaths. We got lucky that Bendis did great with Death of Ultimate. And I cant get out of my head. "You don't deserve to be Spider-man. Your not worthy." Since when was Doc the first Spider-man, there is one person who can decide whether or not you worthy and that's Peter.

Edited by WWAJfan

dont know what's worse seing Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan job on WWE or seing Peter getting humilated like this : /, nice review. Im so glad im reading Venom and Scarlet SPider over this

Posted by 8008S

So uh, any theories on how Pete is going to come back from this? In the aftermath of this issue I don't feel very optimistic...

Posted by xkoenig

@8008s said:

So uh, any theories on how Pete is going to come back from this? In the aftermath of this issue I don't feel very optimistic...

Carlie Cooper has already been shown to be figuring out what's up with Peter. Black Widow was also given a clue in SSM 8. There's got to be some wacky mind-trick they will use to explain how Peter will be restored - I mean, it's silly enough that Ock was able to switch minds with Peter in the first place. If that's happening in a comic, then anything can be invented to get Petey back. And think about it this way - is Dan Slott really going to someday finish writing Spider-Man comics and Ock is still Spider-Man and some other writer gets to bring Peter back? No way!! This is Slott's story and he will fix it.

Edited by JW_Anderson2k5

Spot on review! SSM #9 was god awful and downright insulting. I've been a die hard Spidey fan my whole life and this issue was enough to make me swear off Marvel. Slott's ham fisted attempts to validate Ock's Spidey by destroying Peter's legacy brick by brick are nothing short of atrocious.

Posted by Opunaya

I agree 100% with this review, I can not get behind Ock as Spidey, and tarnishing Peter's legacy. Not only are SpOck's actions completely selfish (even his "heroic" moments have villainous plans behind them, like that little girl and helmet). This is basically some weak fan fiction writing, which is sad, because I usually enjoy interesting concepts like this and Doc Ock is one of my favorite villains...but this? This is just terrible. I wish I could put my opinion into better wording, but plenty of people on here have done that exact same thing. This series is an insult to Spider-Man fans and Slott just LOVES it.

Posted by WWAJfan

dont know why Marvel gives o much spotlight to this overated book,this books is just damaging the sales for better books like Venom and Scarlet Spider

Posted by Lvenger

@wwajfan: Thank you. I hear Yost is doing a good job on Scarlet Spider.

@jw_anderson2k5: Thank you. I feel the same about this issue and series in general

@opunaya: He does and that's the worst thing. He relishes the outrage he's causing and that's just sad.

Posted by ILLO_29

" Whilst the two Spider-Men fight in Peter’s mind, Slott justifies SpOck being the better Spider-Man by pointing out that the Mayor and police are on his side, crime is down, foes like Massacre can never threaten anyone again. Somehow, in Slott’s warped fantasy of how he wants to write this story, this means that SpOck is superior than the greatest, most morally virtuous hero in the Marvel universe."

Your review is your review and while I don't agree with a lot of it, it was well done. However I don't understand were your coming from here. Slott is not writing why he thinks SpOck is superior he's writing why SpOck think's SpoOck is superior. Slott is writing a character, this how the Ock's warped mind thinks not so much Slott. If Dan Slott wrote everyone as Dan Slott then every character in the book would be exactly the same.

Posted by Lvenger

@illo_29: Ah my first Slott supporter comment. In relation to your point, I agree Slott is writing SpOck as thinking himself, that is the character as superior. And therein lies the real problem. Slott is telling the story like some piece of biased fan fiction. It's often said amongst writers that you should write stories you'd want to read yourself but in this case, it distorts the very essence of the character he's writing.

And you misunderstand my last point. I'm not saying he's writing every character as Dan Slott. He's writing the characters how he wants rather than how they should be written.

Posted by alpha1001

@everybody: I think some s*** guy named Dan Slott is with us in this forums under another name,justifying his garbage writing.

Edited by Lvenger

@alpha1001: Seriously? I doubt it. Writers don't have the time to spend on here. But who do you think it is?

Posted by ILLO_29

@lvenger: Ok I half agree with that. While I feel that this is the way Ock might act in this situation, and I don't have any problems with the story. I do agree that Slot's dialogue and characterization can be wildly inconsistent. Sometimes stuff he writes feels like it's from the sixties and sometimes it feels more modern. At times Peter sounds like Peter and other times Ock sounds like Ock, other times they don't. I just didn't see what your saying originally.

Posted by Lvenger

@illo_29: That's my point. Slott basically decides as he goes along how SpOck should act in the story. One of the strengths of a comic book writer is being able to respect the character's history and that's not something Slott is doing in this story.

Posted by alpha1001

The most worst thing I think about the issue is Ock/Slott deciding that Peter doesn't deserve being Spiderman .Slott doesn't deserve writing Spider man.

Posted by ILLO_29

@lvenger: Your right! I never really thought about it like that. It does seem as if Ock especially seems to be written issue specific. I used to chalk it up to him struggling between good and evil. However, there's hasn't been a lot of "struggle" lately it's just been the flip of a switch and one issue he a bad guy and the next a good guy.

Posted by Lvenger

@illo_29: To be honest, most of SpOck's 'good' decisions have all had ulterior purposes so far. Even saving the little girl in SSM 8 was so that SpOck could use the helmet to get rid of Peter's memories.

Edited by ILLO_29

@lvenger: Your turning me around on this I must admit.

Posted by Lvenger

@illo_29: Well I'm sure there are reasons for liking this series and what Slott is doing but for me, they aren't compelling enough to convince me.

Posted by SavageDragon

Disagree. I thought the story was interesting and fun. P

Posted by Lvenger

@savagedragon: Considering that my 3rd favourite Marvel character suddenly lost everything that made him the character I know and love, I didn't enjoy it that much.

Edited by SavageDragon

@lvenger: Yeah that sucks man, some of my favorite characters has gone through some rough times. But I still think the story isnt terrible.

Edited by johnkmccubbin91

Nice review. I'd personally rate it just above what you rated, by rating it 2, as there was some good stuff, but the overall ending and lasting effect was horrific.

Posted by Lvenger

@johnkmccubbin91: Hmm I can see why it might warrant a two. Shame we can't do half star reviews anymore.

Posted by johnkmccubbin91

@lvenger: Yes that is a real shame as I would probably give it 1.5 then, as the lasting effect was terrible, but there was the odd good moment that merited more than a 1, but just, and not many.

Posted by Opunaya

I absolutely agree with this review. I find this entire series disgusting and am disappointed in how far Marvel's willing to let their characters fall in order to make a buck.

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