Otto Octavius has claimed Peter Parker’s life, mind, and body and has built quite the reputation for himself as the self-titled “Superior” Spider-Man. As the months have passed his behaviors have become progressively darker and strayed farther from “Guy trying to do right” and more into “Super heroics by way of villainy”. Of course, behavior like this does not go unnoticed, even by darker, more aggressive anti-hero types…
In a shadowy lab in an undisclosed location, two “mysterious” figures discuss how a small genetic deviation can contain so much power. Unknown trials they have been conducting are going well, though not without losses. The one suggests it is now time to see “his boys”.
We cut to New York City at night, where the new Spider-Man monologues with self-satisfaction about how efficient he is at heroics. He’s also proud of his life as Peter Parker as well, with his career and successful relationship. He cites his freedom from Peter as the catalyst for his success. Of course, there are still OTHER Parkers around. As Otto returns home, he is greeted by Kaine. Otto quickly identifies him because Peter had seen news about the Scarlet Spider (really now?), but he has his own qualms with Kaine- back in the Clone Saga days, Kaine had murdered Doctor Octopus! This being comics, he of course got better, but he still has something of a beef with him. When Kaine attempts to find out just what the heck is wrong with his “brother”, Otto throws him out the window.
Kaine is, quite understandably, confused and enraged, and questions what is wrong with Spidey. SpOck gives vague answers in return, ranting about what Kaine took from him. Kaine attempts to talk about the strides he’s made in making amends, but SpOck will hear none of it, because all of that was for “him”. Kaine, thinking he’s dealing with the real Peter Parker, is not one to accept others' judgment. He tells SpOck to go to hell, and throws him to a rooftop. Spidey comes back at him, satisfied he’s fighting the real Kaine.
Just as Kaine is about to give in to his own violent impulses and give Spidey a beating, a freakish spider mutant attacks him. SpOck quickly realizes these half-man, half-spider monsters also have the “mutant” gene. He is quickly besieged by a team of mutant-monsters, each with their own power. He remembers how just recently he and the X-Men encountered a cloned, mutated spider. SpOck quickly assumes these are the results of “Kaine’s creator” (I think this may be a slip on Yost’s part more than anything). Just as it seems the mutant-monsters are about to over-power Spidey, Kaine arrives to rescue him.
As the fight continues, Otto attempts to slay Kaine in the confusion. However, before he can make his move, he is stopped by an unseen force. The Jackal has arrived, along with Carrion and a Warren clone. Kaine immediately attempts to take out the Jackal, but Carrion stops him. Spidey watches for quite awhile, unsure whether to let him die (he DID kill Otto) or help (he hears his own voice as Kaine screams). Deciding that if anyone is going to kill Kaine, it’ll be him, Otto jumps into action. After rescuing him, the two “Parkers” immediately return to scuffling with the monsters. SpOck notices that Kaine doesn’t show any restraint, which he respects, but also notices that he acts without thinking, a weakness he hopes to exploit.
Spidey leaves Kaine to handle Carrion and goes after the Jackal, but is caught off guard by a off-panel attacker. The next page reveals that the Jackal has brought along one more clone- Gwen Stacy. As Otto and Kaine begin to pass out, the Jackal gives an ominous final line- “This is going to be good.”
This book was billed as SpOck fighting with the Marvel Universe rather than teaming up with it, and so far, Yost has delivered. This is a “team-up” I’ve been waiting for since Scarlet Spider Vol. 2 started. Of course, I was expecting Peter and not a mind-swapped Doc Ock, but hey, you take the Spider-Man Marvel gives you.
Overall, I liked this issue. It’s pretty light on story. If you’ve read the solicit, you’ve read the issue really. Kaine’s in New York, he finds SpOck, they fight, the Jackal appears. While it isn’t a deep and complex story, what it sets up and what it does works well. We finally get to see Kaine interacting with the main Marvel Universe and we finally see him with his twin…even if it isn’t the same twin he saw the last time he was in New York. Since Doc Ock only knows Kaine as his murderer, he’s got his own agenda with the defective Spider-Man clone. And seeing how Kaine thinks he’s dealing with Peter…he has no freaking clue as to why his formally straight-laced brother is acting like a lunatic.
As I’ve said in my most recent review for Scarlet Spider, Kaine has taken over some of the more…snarky aspects of the Spider-verse. We don’t get to see that much here, but we do get to see some of the attitude Yost has given him in his run. This is a man who’s all about second chances and redemption. And when the “brother” who’s been trying to make him a better person verbally assaults him for his crimes (even though it’s not the one Kaine thinks he means), he lashes out. I think this is one of the things I like about Kaine- he is full of doubt (as the Parkers tend to be), but if anyone else tries to call him out, he flat out won’t take it. He’s afraid, but he’s also angry.
As for Otto, he’s so arrogant we all know it’s only a matter of time until he self-destructs. He’s constantly gloating and touting his own superiority…what’s going to make it all topple? And when it does, will be actually become a better man for it? Or, will this be where Peter returns and we’ll see him attempt to rebuild after he’s lost everything again?
Marco Chechetto delivers some fantastic visuals here. While there’s not a whole lot of unexpected story telling here, I still think overall this is a pretty solid issue.
A fun enough read. We all know Peter and Kaine never saw eye-to-eye, but the situation is only made worse when Kaine is actually facing a man he once murdered. Let’s see how things pan out in Part 2!
My two cents. I love any appearance by the Jackal or [the] Gwen Stacy [clone] but they don’t show up until late in this issue. Mostly, it’s a battle between SpOck and Scarlet Spider. It makes sense that Otto would want to revenge himself on Kaine for his “death,” I suppose, but it doesn’t make for interesting reading and it makes SpOck an even less appealing “hero” than usual. The longer Otto’s masquerade goes on, the stranger it seems that people haven’t copped to it. With everything Otto says and does here, Kaine can’t figure out that this isn’t Peter? Well, he’s part of an ever-growing, thick-headed club. Marco’s art is fine. His Spidies are dynamic (see page 2 panel 2, for example), his Gwen Stacy is gorgeous, and I love the way he draws all the webbing. But somehow this issue fails to satisfy. I don’t know. Maybe the whole Dr. Octopus-as-Spider-Man thing has run its course. For me, this is two webs. -Al