A meeting of the minds... to the death.
Mayor Jonah Jameson is holding a public speech about his new zero tolerance attitude for super villains in NYC. Two playful super criminals by the names of Jester and Screwball publicly humiliate him, and then post the incident on youtube. Enraged, he hopes to send Spider-Man, whom is now Otto Octavius after them. Spider-Man's new brutal approach to crime has been raising the eyebrows of those who really know him, especially the team he's on, Earth's Mightiest Heroes, The Avengers. -summary
I am far beyond this story arc in single issue form, and I have to say this is one comic that has been worth the monthly cash. Dan Slott's Superior Spider-Man isn't only the freshest, but it's also more than likely the best thing out there if you can come into it with an open mind. People have whined for years that Marvel doesn't take enough bold risk; but when they decided to kill Peter Parker as Spider-Man and then replace him with his long time enemy Dr. Octopus. The lack of boldness suddenly transformed into Marvel running out of ideas, and a good chunk of this complaining came from people whom openly admitted that they haven't read a comic since the 90's. I personally know individuals like this. While on the flipside, those who gave this story a chance are admitting that they haven't been hooked to comics for some time. After reading this, they are now tracking it by issue and many of them had stopped doing that a long time ago. I guess that pretty much spells out who should be ignored here. The Superior Spider-Man is a great series mainly because of all these new doors of interest being opened. This volume directly follows Superior Spider-Man: My Own Worst Enemy and it collects The Superior Spider-Man 6 - 10.
Slott is on a creative mad trip with this book as he continues to develop Otto and challenge him morally. At the same time he is letting the world know that this is a different Spider-Man playing by a new set of rules. In the last book, Otto took the step Peter avoided for years, and he finally killed a murderous super villain who really deserved it with the public cheering him on. If this isn't a bold step in a new direction, then I don't know what it is.
One of my complaints with the first book was that Peter Parker, who is still around as a ghostly spirit was stealing Otto's thunder. This isn't the case here at all anymore. Otto is forced to witness the horrible condition he left a young girl in during the Ends of the Earth storyline, and he attempts to correct his cruel actions by saving her life. This in turn forces him to realize that he does have a place as a superhero despite him questioning it before. Slott's writing is outstanding and he continues hammering the reader with more interesting twist, such as Mary Jane and Carlie putting it together that this is not Peter. This is Spider-Man finally moving forward; Parker is even back in school earning his doctorate, but of course, to his chagrin, this is Otto forced to re-earn his status as doctor again. Slott also unpredictably ties up the situation with Peter's ghost, as Otto learns that Peter is still alive in his head. This book is a non stop ride of ass-kickery, and even though this is my second run through of these issues, I still couldn't put it down.
My only complaint with this book is Humberto Ramos' artwork for issues 6-8. It's not as atrocious as his designs in Wolverine: Civil War or X-Men: Messiah Complex, but it still makes me cringe to some degree. His designs can be pathetically skinny to the point of looking sick. Spider-Man sometimes looks like a malnourished demon. The visuals get better in the final issues with Ryan Stegman picking up duties again. The character designs look a lot more thick, much better proportion in their bodies, plus the backgrounds are back to having some good details. His artwork really shines during one confrontation, as the artwork plays so well off the story to the point where Slott didn't have to spell out what was going on. I kept thinking if this was the 70's, the author would have found himself explaining to us what we clearly see is happening.
The Superior Spider-Man: A Troubled Mind is better than the last book and that's saying a lot. This is truly Spider-Man like you never seen him before. This is now my favorite running book without a doubt. I highly recommend this title along with the first book and Spider-Man: Dying Wish. Here are some other books that really need to be read also: Aquaman: The Trench & The Others, Batman: Court of Owls, Night of the Owls, and City of Owls.
Pros: Story, plot, suspense, and Stegman's artwork
Cons: Some of the artwork by Ramos