Friday, 11 January 2013

New Beginnings - Superior Spider-Man #1 (CONTAINS SPOILERS!)

EDITOR'S NOTE: This review contains HUGE spoilers. Admittedly those spoilers are all over the internet, but be warned if you haven't read this yet, you may want to click away.

You have been warned!

Only a couple of weeks ago I reviewed the rather controversial "final" issue of Amazing Spider-Man. Now for many it was the end of an era, so much so that the backlash from some readers reached as far as national mainstream news, but to others it was an opening for something more.

Issue #700 did provoke a large response from fans as they had to wave goodbye to Peter Parker and try to swallow the fact that Otto Octavius was now in essence Spider-man 2.0. A driven, ruthless genius filled with Peter’s memories. To many this was a step too far but have they been short sighted and not seen the bigger picture? Would Dan Slott really close the door on Peter Parker?

The issue begins exactly where it's divisive predecessor emotionally ends. Otto has not only accepted that he is now Spider-Man but he is also donning the full mantle and responsibilities that the mask carries too. Symbolically visiting the new grave of his former life he waves it farewell and moves on.

Getting thrown right in at the deep end, Otto is called to the scene of carnage being created by the new Sinister Six which provides a rather interesting dynamic. He's now on the other side of the fence. A side that he appears to be sick of almost immediately, as his ego can see how pathetic they really are. He struggles with them not because they pose a threat but simply because of how insipid he finds them.

Taking them lightly though doesn’t work well and Otto finds himself doing something that bemuses the Six, something Spider-Man has never done before; he goes to run away. But in the instant he turns his back Boomerang endangers the surrounding civilians and for some unknown (to him) reason Otto finds himself back in the thick of it to save them.

It’s all change in some respects, but all the same in the others as Otto figures out what is going on and how to counter the Six in some quite ingenious ways. More tellingly is the manner in which he does it. I mentioned ruthless earlier and the streak is most certainly there. All the way to the very end when, in front of a camera crew, he is about to strike the killing blow when a hand stops him. Not understanding what is going on, as he cannot see it or feel the presence around him, another force has prevented Otto from finishing things off. That other force... is Peter Parker.

It goes without saying that the final page is one to read and will have significant impact on this series. Those fans in revolt need to check it out before nailing down the coffin.

Ryan Stegman has the job of pencilling the series from the start. His style is a frustrating one for me. On the more open frames where there is a lot of action and multiple characters I like how he draws. There’s a lot of diversity and characters although they lose definition feel believeable. But when you have an individual highlighted I find that the definition goes. A more cartoon-like style comes to the front and they seem to lose much of their sincerity.

Stegman has also done the cover art for the issue I had and I found myself drawn to Spider-Man’s knuckles and how strange they looked, which slightly devalued it’s impact for me. As an aside within the pages of the issue you will find a page dedicated to seeing the variant covers which are also very good. My particular favourite being from Camuncoli, who although I don’t know him specifically I liked his work.

This is an issue to get. Full stop. I’m hoping to keep my review copy and will be following the series to see where it goes. I would strongly suggest that anyone who was unhappy with the end of Amazing Spider-Man needs to read this before making their minds up fully.

Matt Puddy was overruled about blowing the spoiler here - direct any criticism to the editor.

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