Anghus Houvouras reviews the second issue of The Superior Spider-Man…
This is a really weird comic. That is both a ringing endorsement and a declaration of the surreal nature of reading Marvel’s relaunched Superior Spider-Man.
Doctor Octopus has taken over Spider-Man, OR HAS HE!? At the conclusion of the first issue, we were introduced to Jedi Ghost Peter Parker who is apparently not dead and somehow tethered to his body trapped between life and death. It’s a massive creative crutch, big enough to help Godzilla mend a sprained ankle or help King Kong during a stint of physical therapy.
We follow the new Superior Spider-Man making improvements to his life. Through the use of mad science he has managed to simplify his daily patrols. Instead of randomly swinging through the city waiting for his Spider Sense to tingle, he checks on app on his iPad. His other major project becomes solving his on again, off again relationship with Mary Jane Watson. Doctor Octopus is looking to win her affections and seal the deal, something Ghost Peter has a real problem with. Imagine that.
The entire issue is presented with dual inner monologues. You get Octavius’ warped perspective and Ghost Peter’s constant neurotic rambling. It makes for an interesting read, but as I predicted at the end of the first issue: this will get old real quick. This whole ‘two minds-one body’ thing has been done to death, and I have a feeling it may sink this series like a stone. Again, I have no problem with the idea of introducing the back door to which they will use to escape this utterly insane storyline. I just wish it hadn’t happened so quick.
See, I’m warming up to Octavius. Much as Ghost Peter observes midway through the issue, Octavius may actually be better at being Spider-Man than he ever was. He’s smarter, better at working the public, and seems to favor logic and reason rather than being led by raw emotion. For now, Octavius has managed to show he’s not only capable of being a hero, but also able to manage to pitfalls of day to day life as Peter Parker.
The Marvel NOW! titles seem far more prone to devolve into comic lunacy, something that I greatly appreciate. This issue is no different. The funniest moments come from watching Octavius’ many dates with Mary Jane, all of them broken down with the kind of cold, calculating scientific reasoning you would expect of a super villain. Watching the super intelligent but socially awkward Octavius trying to get laid is a product of pure genius. Dan Slott has tapped into some gonzo storytelling here, and to that I say ‘bravo’. Like Fraction and Allred’s FF, Superior Spider-Man succeeds as a blend of fun, frivolity, and a strong focus on well developed characters.
I’m still on board for this and am enjoying the ride. There’s just a small part of me that fears the status quo being restored before we get a few more arcs of this well-scripted madness.