Posted August 15, 2013 by Mikael Angelo Francisco in Comics

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #2 & Scarlet Spider #20

Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #2
Writer: Christopher Yost
Art: Marco Checchetto (P/I), Rachel Rosenberg (C)
Regular Cover: Paolo Rivera

Scarlet Spider #20
Writer: Christopher Yost
Art: K-Studios’ In-Kyuk Lee (P/I/C); Dream sequences – Pat Olliffe (P), Javier Bergantiño (I), Lee Loughridge (C)
Regular Cover: Ryan Stegman

This week, Marvel brings us a crossover between two ancillary titles in the Spider-universe – the aptly-titled Sibling Rivalry – bringing together two characters that would have made, under different circumstances, a solid team-up.

In the left corner: Doctor Otto Octavius, occupying the body of Peter Parker and trying to be a better hero than Parker ever was, as the Superior Spider-Man (or “Spock”, to some fans). In the right corner: Kaine Parker, the formerly disfigured clone of Parker who (in his own mind) is most certainly not a hero (though his actions speak otherwise) – but is trying to do some good anyway – as the Scarlet Spider. The superior spider of New York meets the hard-assed hero of Houston.

Oh, and did I mention that Kaine killed Doctor Octopus back in the ’90s (he was later resurrected by the Hand)?

Yep, this team-up sure looks promising.

This was actually one of the biggest questions I had after Amazing Spider-Man #700 hit the stands. (Here, read this for more of my thoughts on the matter – it’s an old, dead horse that has been flogged by everyone from angry Spider-fans to Stan Lee himself, but I think it’s still worth talking about, especially since the concerns I mentioned in my article seem to be slowly popping up in the Spider-titles, if future solicitations are any indication.) How would – how should - Doc Ock react to Kaine’s presence, especially now that he’s in the unique position to strike at his killer without even having to reveal himself? Would his newfound sense of responsibility and second shot at life help him let go of the past and focus on being a “superior” hero, or would his arrogance and superiority complex become Kaine’s (and his) ultimate undoing?

The first part of the story takes place in the pages of Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #2, the title that “replaced” Avenging Spider-Man. I used quotation marks because the new title is more of a re-branding than an actual replacement, since the basic premise of the title and its creative team remain the same. Christopher Yost remains the better Superior Spider-scribe between him and Dan Slott (who helms the main Superior Spider-Man title). While Slott seems to rely on plot twist after plot twist in order to make the flagship title exciting, Yost sticks to character development, an extensive use of internal monologue, smart dialogue, and a solid depiction of the implications of Doc Ock occupying Spider-Man’s body that doesn’t hinge on the rest of Spidey’s supporting cast acting like clueless buffoons. This issue also contains fantastic art from Marco Checchetto (as usual), showcasing his affinity for dynamic action scenes and tons of detail. Also, while the Paolo Rivera-illustrated cover looks a bit bland, it’s not bad at all. It’s curious to note, though, that two issues into the run, we have yet to see an actual team-up between Spider-Man and other heroes, the former often finding himself at odds with whoever shares top billing with him in this title for the week.

Scarlet Spider #20 picks up where Team-Up leaves off, and the transition feels almost seamless, due to the fact that Yost wrote both comics. The art for most of the sequences in this comic look a lot like Clayton Crain’s, except more rounded and less grimy. It’s like a slightly kid-friendlier version of a Carnage comic. Unfortunately, the ensuing fight is a bit lackluster, and between this and Team-Up, I like this issue a lot less. The ending was a bit of a let-down, too, and while there are a couple of neat epilogue scenes that set up the next few events in Kaine’s title, it doesn’t change the fact that both the resolution and the outcome of the Spock vs Kaine fight felt like wasted opportunities. This issue’s cover is way better than Team-Up‘s, though, and I actually want a poster of this beautiful Ryan Stegman piece.

Still, this wasn’t a bad story overall, and I’d recommend it to fans of either Spider, or to people who grew up reading the ’90s comics (or wonder how a confrontation between a megalomaniacal “super-hero” and his one-time killer would play out).


Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #2 – 9/10
Scarlet Spider #20 – 6/10

Overall – 7.5/10


Visit Comic Odyssey and get your copy of Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #2 and Scarlet Spider #20 now!

Mikael Angelo Francisco