Superior Spider-Man #12: Spider-Slaying
Superior Spider-Man has become like a hot girlfriend you don’t want to like. You try to deny her, but late at night, drunk, you always come calling. I was not big on the idea of switching Doc Ock and Peter Parker, and I still think the way Ock got rid of Peter Parker from his mind was unfitting of our hero. That being said, the writing on Superior Spider-Man is so damn good, it is impossible not to read it. With issue #12, Slott churns out another awesome storyline, which also pushes ahead the subplot of Ock learning what being a hero is really all about.
The Raft Maximum Security Prison. J. Jonah Jameson is among a group of people awaiting the execution of The Spider Slayer. For Jonah, this is a particularly hard day, a day that reminds him of how he lost his wife to the condemned. Just before his execution, The Slayer attempts an escape, only to be thwarted at every turn by Ock, who uses his working knowledge of the Raft to counter any move the Slayer can attempt. In a last ditch effort, the Slayer has his robot spider’s repair the damage done to the Scorpion, Vulture and Boomerang by Ock’s Spidey.
Taking precautions, Ock has created a force field to protect the innocents on the Raft. Stepping out of the field, Jonah decides he is going to make sure the Spider Slayer dies this day. He informs Spider-Man to do anything he can to ensure this death. From there, Ock battles Scorpion, Vulture and Boomerang, even managing to kill the latter, it seems. Slayer is unimpressed, so he sends Vulture to kill the innocents and Scorpion to kill Jonah. The Spider Slayer has Spidey right where he wants him. He gloats to his nemesis that he must choose one group to save. Only problem is, this isn’t Spider-Man, this is Doc Ock, and he announces that everyone can die, as long as he makes sure the Slayer is killed. Needless to say, The Spider Slayer is shocked.
Superior Spider-Man #12 is an all out action brawl, though it still crackles with Dan Slott’s amazing dialogue. What really shows Slott’s ability with storytelling, is how he weaves in the subplot about what heroism really is. Even the villains are sure Spider-Man will do the right thing. Now he doesn’t. Ock is focused on his mission. Where Peter Parker wants no one to die, Ock sees anything in his way as collateral damage. The tension of that idea, the pure shock on the Spider Slayer’s face is awesome. Slott has taken an incredibly shaky premise and used it to not only give Spider-Man a new series of adventures, but also used it to examine why we love Peter Parker, and what makes him a true hero.
Giuseppe Camuncoli’s art continues to soar. While his work is reminiscent of longtime Spider-Man artist Humberto Ramos, it’s not a rip off. Camuncoli’s work is less rigid, less over the top, yet he retains the notion that comic books should look like comic books. He keeps panel placement very basic, but fills those panels with as much movement and action as they can hold. Camuncoli’s lines are heavy, and they give weight to every character. I am particularly taken with his interpretation of J. Jonah Jameson. Camuncoli is a mesh of style and flash, substance and awe, and it works in spades for this series.
I can’t deny it. Superior Spider-Man is one of the best written series of the year. Dan Slott should be commended for reinventing a villain, a hero and a long running series.
(4.5 Story, 4.5 Art)