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! Although Spider-Man has a counter for everything Smythe has thrown at him so far, he is about to face nano-bot enhanced versions of Scorpion, Vulture and Boomerang, all of whom owe Spider-Man a serious beating!
|Executive Producer:||Alan Fine|
|Chief Creative Officer:||Joe Quesada|
|Editor In Chief:||Axel Alonso|
|Assistant Editor:||Ellie Pyle|
|Inker:||John Dell, Terry Pallot|
On board The Raft, Mayor J Jonah Jameson recalls his wife’s final words to him, but realises that he cannot move away from hate until Alistair Smythe/Spider-Slayer is dead! As he and the remaining civilians (Norah Winters, Glory Grant, Head of Security Ted Shipley and some others) debate their next move, dozens of spider-bots crawl towards them. One of them projects a hologram of Spider-Man, who explains that they must huddle together so the bots may erect a force field around them. They do so, but at the last second JJJ leaps out! He is determined to make Smythe pay, so grabs a gun from a fallen guard and begins his own hunt! Meanwhile, a vicious fight rages between Spider-Man and Smythe! Spider-Man congratulates him on some aspects of his plan, but, in doing so, accidentally reveals that he is using The Raft’s generator to power his countermeasures. Smythe is shot at by a guard, but manages to throw Spider-Man at him and make his way towards destroying the generator! The guard is revealed to be JJJ, who orders Spider-Man to make sure that Smythe dies here today. A spider-bot watches this emotional conversation before Spider-Man swings off! He is soon ambushed by Vulture, Scorpion and Boomerang! They have been physically enhanced by Smythe’s mini-slayers and are gunning for Spider-Man after the beatings and injuries he’s given them (in Superior #3, Amazing #700 and Superior #1 respectively). Smythe reaches the generator and destroys it, causing The Raft to plunge into darkness. At the holding cells, The Lizard is released…! Smythe tries to escape through a ventilation shaft, but is met by one of Spider-Man’s countermeasures again! As Spider-Man continues his fight with the three supervillains, he tells Smythe that he sent him on a fool’s errand! Smythe responds by sending Scorpion to kill JJJ and Vulture to kill the civilians in the force field! Spider-Man still has to face Boomerang (who is replicating weapons from his costume) and Smythe asks him what he is going to do… Spidey responds by webbing up Boomerang as his exploding boomerangs go off, knocking him out! He then has a choice to make – save JJJ or the civilians. Spider-Man chooses neither of them and tears off down the corridor with only one thing he must do – slay the Spider-Slayer!
How Dan Slott and Christos Gage continue to impress with this arc doesn’t boil down to continuity any more, nor does it really have anything to do with character progression, emotion or breaking new artistic ground. It’s all to do with pace. If it wasn’t for the frantic pace this game is played at, this middle issue of the arc would have fallen flat. There are no interludes, no dipping in to see how other supporting characters are getting on, no mention of subplots and no thought balloons/boxes. It is all about action and threats as this deadly game of one-upmanship plays out! We skip from location to location within panels as everything is tied together by the all-seeing, all-hearing spider-bots and mini-slayers and this brilliant storytelling device is used magnificently to produce a conclusion we would never have seen with Peter at the helm. This is high drama and high stakes and I think Slott and Gage have us believing that, in this title, anything goes! For all the pace does for this arc and the drama of the issue, it means that we don’t get a good look at amped-up Scorpion, Vulture and Boomerang and their abilities. They act little more than henchmen here, though there is an attempt to throw a little character in. I would have given this a full five stars had it not been for a significant let down in visuals. I look at the cover and I see Giuseppe Camuncoli’s pencils as vibrant, energetic and polished. I look inside and, I hate to say it after raving about his work last issue, but I see two clearly different inking styles (one of which sucks the grace of his work completely off the page) and flat colours. Get Edgar Delgado colouring these pages (he did the cover) and you’ll see a massive difference in consistency and energy that would lift even the clunky inks. Camuncoli’s work is tight, but isn’t clean. That and I don’t like what he does with webbing. I hadn’t noticed it before, but it seems a little goopy to me.
This is a stunningly paced issue that continues last issue's conflict whilst setting up an exciting conclusion without dropping a beat. If only the art stayed as polished as the dialogue and plotting, we'd all be happy.