Superior Spider-Man #32 / Dan Slot, Christos Gage, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Adam Kubert, John Dell, Antonio Fabela, & Rain Beredo

They teased this premise for months.  Dan Slott said Superior Spider-Man would be back with the onset of the Spider-Verse storylines, mere months after Octavius shuffled off this mortal coil (again).  He tantalized audiences with the question of just what happened to Octavius while he was caught in that time displacement, waaay back in Superior Spider-Man #19.

But now Superior Spider-Man #32 is out, and I couldn’t be more excited about it!

The brief return of this title heralds the beginning of Edge of Spider-Verse, and therefore is jam-packed with two stories that deal with various aspects of it.  Displaced into 2099 by the temporal meltdown at Horizon Labs, Octavius pieces together technology from the future to send himself back home, but discovers a sinister complication as he jumps from one reality to another in the primary story.  In the after-story, Octavius, recruiting Spider-Men from alternate realities, has a conversation with one such Spider-Man, who, like him, won’t hesitate to kill if needed.

Before I step into my analysis, I’d better address the elephant in the room.  The Spider-Verse arc is doubtless going to require a lot more suspension of disbelief than a lot of Spider-Man stories out there.  We’re dealing with a Multi-verse, alternate realities, time travel, and a whole freakin’ mess of a plethora of Spider-People from different dimensions running around in one unified story.  

It’s probably going to break a few rules, perhaps even some internal ones, to say nothing of possible continuity issues.  All I can say, at this point, is that it’s probably best to not dwell too hard on some of these issues, and take into account that a time-jumping, reality-hopping, multi-versing story like this, written with the specific purpose of bringing all these Spider-Folk together, is probably going to have to break some of these rules.  I for one have no problem with this kind of writing, so long as it’s in service to a good and memorable story, and given Dan Slott’s record with Spider-Man, I have faith this will all be resolved in a satisfying manner.  

I realize many readers may not feel this way, but hey, nobody’s perfect.

Obnoxious, arrogant, and full of himself as Octavius is, particularly during this time in Peter’s body, it’s almost impossible not to like him when he’s in his element.  And his arrival in 2099 is full of hilarious character moments, as well as a surprising amount of personal development as he schemes and raids and tinkers his way towards a device that can send him back to his home time.  Moments such as his proclamation that the technology of 2099 is still too primitive for his superior intellect make you shake your head and grin at the egomania that drives him, yet are counterbalanced by unexpected touches of tenderness in his development of a holographic assistant that resembles Anna Maria, the woman with whom he’s in love.  It all makes for a nicely developed Octavius as the plot moves towards the rising action.

And it’s in this action that we see Octavius’s ruthless side come out.  Upon finding that the Spider-Men of the various realities he encounters have been murdered by one entity, Octavius is at his efficient and proactive best, working to end this threat as effectively as possible by turning his quest to go home into a quest to raise an army of Spider-People to combat it.  It’s not something I could anywhere near as easily envision Peter Parker doing, and makes for an entertaining return to form for a Spider-Man who is similar to, but also still very different from, the one we know and love.

Artistically, I can’t help but love this issue.  I don’t always like Camuncoli’s linework, but I think it really pops in this issue, particularly during the initial action scenes in 2099 and the fight between Spider-Man India and Morlun near the conclusion of the main story.  I also like the visual compositions of the alternate realities Octavius visits while trying to return home, giving readers clear indications that he’s in the House of M reality, and so on.  Antonio Fabela’s deep, rich colors are a big help as well, and his skill at utilizing different color palettes keep things vibrant without seeming busy.  

All in all, Superior Spider-Man #32 is an exciting, kinetic return to form for Slott, as well as a good setup for Edge of Spider-Verse.  I’m eager to see more, and can’t help wondering just what will happen in the next, presumably (?) final issue of this title.

superior spider-man Dan Slott edge of spider-verse giuseppe camuncoli

Amazing Spider-Man #4 / Dan Slott, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba, and Edgar Delgado

Wow.  There’s a lot happening in this issue of Amazing, and while elements are moving along, they’re not always doing it very smoothly.

While trying to maintain his identity as Spider-Man, Peter skips out on running his company, angering his partner Sajani, who shortly thereafter gets kidnapped by Black Cat.  What Peter finds out, after teaming up with the other heroes to take down the Watcher’s murderers, is that another person, a girl named Cindy Moon, was bitten by the same irradiated spider that bit him before it died.  She was found and taken in by Ezekiel, another spider-powered character from Peter’s past, and sequestered away in his safe-house compound.  Upon freeing her, he finds that she not only has many powers and abilities similar to his, but also several different ones as well.  Moreover, she’s upset that he’s freed her, because her freedom seems to summon Morlun, who will start hunting them both down.

There’s not too much action in this issue, but that’s fine with me, as the developments between Peter and Cindy and the setting up of things to come is well done.  I did enjoy some of the character moments, like Spidey trying to make small-talk when meeting up with the other heroes and some of them reacting with confusion or telling him to just shut up, or his inability to keep from quipping when Cindy gets angry at him.  

Given that this issue is my introduction to the Original Sin storyline permeating other Marvel titles right now, I’ll mute some of my issues with the narrative flow and pacing.  Clearly the developments in this issue that stem from that event are meant to suggest the Watcher’s death and subsequent mutilation as some kind of giant retcon device, and Spidey’s exposure to the fallout from that incident is necessary in order to set the whole Cindy Moon arc into motion.  Still, it’s hard not to feel this a busy issue that feels clunky in a lot of key places, and one wonders if it could have been handled a little more smoothly by either slowing down the pace or blending them together better.

There are also a lot of questions raised by Peter’s sudden knowledge of Cindy’s existence that should have been answered right then and there.  The field trip where the spider bit him, and now her is an excellent example.  If it was in close enough proximity to bite another person before it died, doesn’t that suggest Cindy was on the same field trip as Peter?  Did they go to school together?  Did they know one another?  They don’t even seem to have recognized one another here from that time, and that seems more than a little off to me.

There are also plenty of questions about Cindy herself that will probably be answered as the story progresses.  It’s interesting that she’s tied into Peter’s spider sense in a new way, so that he can use it to locate her as opposed to it being something that just helps him avoid danger.  She’s no doubt dangerous, but how remains to be seen.  

Slight Spoiler: I was pretty surprised by their sudden kiss at the end of the issue, as it came out of nowhere while they were fighting.  I mean, does Spider-adrenaline attract other Spider-types and make them suddenly amorous?  

I know there are plenty of people out there who have issues with Humberto Ramos’s artwork on Spider-Man, and while I have some issues with how it distracts from more subdued scenes, I can’t help really liking how it works with Spider-Man’s physicality.  He’s drawn lean and lanky and kind of… well, bug-like, and I think it suits the character.  What little action there is in this issue is also well served by the cartoonish, kinetic style.  I do think normal human characters look a bit distorted sometimes, but for the most part Ramos does a serviceable job here.

Overall, not a bad issue.  The developments are interesting, even if they feel a bit clumsy or forced at times.  I’m interested to see more with Cindy, and we of course have Black Cat waiting in the wings to eviscerate Peter at some point.  Hopefully this will all lead into the upcoming Spider-verse story smoothly.

comic review Amazing Spider-Man silk cindy moon Dan Slott humberto ramos victor olazaba edgar delgado

Early Guardians of the Galaxy Reviews: Movie Is Out of This World

As I’m sure you can imagine, I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, hereafter referred to as MCU in shorthand.  They seem to get better as they progress and build on one another.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier was wonderful, and so far the early reviews for the latest entry, Guardians of the Galaxy, are overwhelmingly positive.

Here’s hoping it’s every bit it’s as good as the hype says!

guardians of the galaxy marvel cinematic universe ohmygodican'twaittoseethis