Comics : Superior Spider-Man #13

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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: Apr 2014.

Background...

A dying Otto Octavius/Doctor Octopus swapped bodies with Peter Parker/Spider-Man and became the Superior Spider-Man!

He is currently tasked with making sure that Alistair Smythe (The Spider-Slayer) is executed to plan for the murder of Marla Jameson. Things have deviated from these plans as Smythe has escaped and has set nano-bot enhanced versions of Scorpion, Vulture and Boomerang on his tail! Meanwhile, The Lizard escapes his holding cell. Spider-Man is left in a predicament as Scorpion is directed to kill J. Jonah Jameson (who is after his own vengeance against Smythe) and Vulture heads to kill the civilians currently shielded by Spider-Man’s spider-bots. Spider-Man decides not to choose to save either of these and instead sets out to slay the Spider-Slayer!

In Detail...

"The Slayers & The Slain"
Superior Spider-Man #13
Sep 2013 : SM Title
Arc: Part 3 of "No Escape"
Plot:  Dan Slott
Script:  Christos Gage
Pencils:  Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inker:  John Dell, Terry Pallot
Cover Art:  Edgar Delgado, Giuseppe Camuncoli
Lettering:  Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist:  Antonio Fabela
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)

Spider-Man and his spider-bots charge through The Raft to Alistair Smythe’s location! He smashes through the wall and launches at him as a fight to the death begins!

The Vulture arrives at the force field containing Norah Winters, Glory Grant, Head of Security Ted Shipley and some other civilians. He seeks out the vulnerable spots and begins destroying spider-bots! They try to convince him to stop and he begins to consider their suggestions…

Elsewhere, Scorpion finds J. Jonah Jameson and is about to kill him when The Lizard steps in! As he fights, Lizard reveals that he is in fact Curt Connors and that he won’t let the monsters win!

Spider-Man tears off one of Smythe’s robotic tendrils and Smythe surrenders, offering negotiations for the lives of those on board The Raft. Spider-Man counter offers… by stabbing him in the heart with the tendril! The Spider-Slayer is slain!

As a result, Scorpion’s nano-bot suit falls of him and he’s left immobilised. JJJ leaves with The Lizard. Boomerang’s suit has left him and Spider-Man webs him up again and he swings past!

Vulture’s suit also fails and he is left blind again! JJJ, Lizard and Spider-Man all join the now safe civilians.

Outside, as they begin to leave, Smythe’s mini-slayers crawl from a grate and join to form a Spider-Slayer zombie that houses the consciousness of Alistair Smythe! It kills Ted Shipley and is then tackled to the rocks by Spider-Man! As they wrestle, Smythe rolls his final dice and wraps his tendrils around Spider-Man’s head! In his last moments, he tries to transfer his consciousness into the body of Spider-Man, but finds that Spider-Man’s head is shielded! Spider-Man reveals this plan has already been hatched and that he is in fact Doctor Octopus! With that Smythe dies and Spider-Man carries the body up to the others.

On the boat back to the main land, Spider-Man speaks to JJJ in private. He requests that he be given The Raft as a base of operations. JJJ refuses, so Spider-Man shows him a video of him ordering Smythe’s execution and blackmails him into doing whatever he wants.

At the resulting press conference, JJJ announces that The Raft now belongs to Spider-Man as a reward for his heroics. Spider-Man turns to the media and names his base Spider-Island 2!

On Spider-Island 2, Spider-Man finally begins to create his own legacy and a brand new age. He orders henchmen, considers a new uniform and begins work on a giant robot… whistling as he works!

In General...

I said last review that literally anything goes in Superior Spider-Man and #13 continues that trend. In cold blood, on panel, Spider-Man kills. We’ve had beatings and the shooting of Massacre off-panel but this, now that the Peter Parker ghost has been erased, is a new level. If this wasn’t enough, in the space of 3 pages, he blackmails, establishes a base of operations, creates new technology, hires henchmen and plans a new costume. No Escape has all been about pace and, as the actual pace of the action comes to a close, the pace of plot progression continues to tear the rule book apart.

Slott and Gage continue their cat-and-mouse for a short while but it all quickly builds up to the killing blow that pits the remaining villains down as well. It’s tense, but the panel in which Spidey stabs Smythe needs more space and doesn’t stand out visually enough as the pivotal moment of this arc. There’s a brilliant nod to Smythe’s genius as he attempts to mind swap with Spider-Man but then it turns beautifully bittersweet when he realises his intellect is nothing compared to Ock’s. Interestingly though, Smythe knows the secret. Ok, he’s dead… but he still knows!

Guiseppe Camuncoli’s pencils remain the same quality as last issue. There are moments of WOW but moments of inconsistency that needing two inkers unfortunately guarantees. In a busy busy comic, he does a great job of delivering all of the characters, their emotions and tells the story wonderfully. My only problem is the killing blow and, if I’m honest, the rebuilding of Smythe’s body from mini-slayers lacks a little finesse.

This whole arc has been belting. It has rocketed through action and, whilst it may have sacrificed additional developments along the way, we do end up at a new and exciting place by the end.

Overall Rating...

A lightning-fast arc with a decisive ending.