Comics : Superior Spider-Man #11

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This story is part of an Arc: "No Escape"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This review was first published on: Jul 2013.

Background...

A dying Otto Octavius/Doctor Octopus swapped bodies with Peter Parker/Spider-Man and became the Superior Spider-Man! Accepting the responsibilities of Spider-Man, with his own attitudes, he took it upon himself to brutally defeat Scorpion, Boomerang and Vulture. These all now are in recuperation on the prison island known as The Raft.

Joining them there are The Lizard (with Curt Connors’ mind trapped inside his reptilian form) and Alistair Smythe/The Spider Slayer. The latter is there for murdering Marla Jameson (Mayor JJJ’s wife) in Amazing #654.

In Detail...

"A Lock For Every Key"
Superior Spider-Man #11
Aug 2013 : SM Title
Arc: Part 1 of "No Escape"
Plot:  Dan Slott
Script:  Christos Gage
Pencils:  Guiseppe Camuncoli
Inker:  John Dell
Lettering:  Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist:  Edgar Delgado
Executive Producer:  Alan Fine
Publisher:  Dan Buckley
Chief Creative Officer:  Joe Quesada
Editor In Chief:  Axel Alonso
Editor:  Stephen Wacker
Assistant Editor:  Ellie Pyle
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Articles: Boomerang, Lizard, Scorpion, Smythe, Alistaire, Vulture I (Adrian Toomes)

Peter/Otto attends a lecture at Empire State University, but is completely bored. He gets a priority call on his phone and, winding his tutor up again on the way out, leaves. He answers the call from JJJ, who requests his presence on The Raft tomorrow as Alistair Smythe’s execution is scheduled. JJJ wants Spider-Man to be his assurance that nothing goes wrong.

Later that day, JJJ arrives on The Raft. It is being shut down and most of the inmates have already been transferred. As Head of Security, Ted Shipley, shows JJJ around, some robots sneak aboard. JJJ is shown Scorpion (Spider-Man punched his jaw off in Amazing #700!), Boomerang (Spider-Man beat him close to death in Superior #1), Vulture (Spider-Man blinded him in Superior #3) and The Lizard (Spider-Man learned his secret in Amazing #699!) all of who are the last remaining inmates along with Smythe. The following day, at Horizon Labs, Max Modell finds Peter shipping off millions of dollars worth of equipment for his work as Spider-Man. Peter talks down to Max, who replies with a reminder that he is Peter’s boss and that his patience is reaching his limit.

As he readies himself as Spider-Man and his Spider-Bots, Otto mulls over how trapped he is within Peter’s life and that, now he has erased every part of him, he shouldn’t worry about competing against him and his memory, but simply be superior! He, and his Spider-bots, arrive on The Raft and he directs the NYPD Mandroids to undertake his plans. He pays Smythe a visit and, un-hero-like, says that he relishes the fact that Smythe is going to die here.

JJJ arrives with Glory Grant and Norah Winters and they all congregate for the execution. Smythe seems ready for things to proceed… and as the injection gets closer, hundreds of Mini-Slayer bots pour from the ventilation shaft! They kill the execution team and security and form a Spider-Slayer around Smythe! Spider-Man activates his counter measures and his Spider-Bots begin attacking the Mini-Slayers! He attacks Smythe directly but Smythe is only focussed on escape. He punches the wall where he knows it isn’t adamantium lined but Spider-Man has directed his Spider-Bots to form a gravimetric field to strengthen the wall! Smythe tries to escape through the air vent but Spider-Man has it lined with lazers! Smythe tries the floor vent but it shoots out a blast of fire at him! Smythe realises that Spider-Man must die to allow him time to dismantle his devices so he mentally directs his Mini-Slayers to visit Scorpion, Boomerang and Vulture. The robots bury into the three villains, rebuilding them and making them better than ever! Via the robots, Smythe asks for one thing in return… Kill everyone, including Spider-Man!

In General...

Ah, continuity! I’m a sucker for continuity! In Amazing #648 Dan Slott brought back the Spider-Slayer, six issues later the Spider-Slayer killed Marla Jameson and here, fifty-seven issues later, Spider-Slayer faces punishment for this crime. Combine this long-term story with the events of the previous 11 issues (Amazing #700 included in that) and Slott (with Christos Gage) has begun to weave a story that promises great things for old and new readers, that hasn’t forgotten recent and intriguing developments in villains and that displays the Superior Spider-Man without the hanging threat of Peter Parker.

This last comment is a strange admission, but this issue reads a little freer than previous ones in terms of narrative voice, guilt and, as a reader, you can give yourself fully to our new Spider-Man.

The pace of this arc was always advertised as frantic and, as things reach the conclusion, there is another hark back to the outthinking, cat-and-mouse game we saw in Superior #1. Pitting Ock’s brain against Smythe’s is a great move and allows for the tension to crank up and I’m ready to see how this game will continue as Slott and Gage throw in more and more tech, plots and subplots and subsubplots!

I have to mention that three stars of the issue.
1. Max Modell and his reactions to Peter’s behaviour. Ock got owned! I can’t wait to see Modell pit his wits against our Superior Spider-Man (as a villain perhaps?!?).
2. J Jonah Jameson and his emotional involvement in the whole issue. Without him, and the way Gage slightly tones down his usual trumpeting, we’d only have an action/espionage story whereas we actually have a truly character-driven action/espionage story.
3. Guiseppe Camuncoli and his outstanding art. If you thought he was good before, thought he’d already improved on previous arcs or thought that his storytelling couldn’t be clearer… then you were wrong. It’s simple, but oh so effective. Even the splash page of our Superior Spider-Man swinging into action somehow looks like Ock and not Peter and looks awesome. Plus the cover is great, the new-look villains are outrageously fun and he even captures the small comedic elements with timing and expression.

Overall Rating...

Great stuff and I'm keen to see where this is going. A little more character helps move Otto's journey along and Camuncoli really hits his stride.