Posted January 12, 2013 by Mikael Angelo Francisco in Comics

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: The Superior Spider-Man #1

Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Ryan Stegman, Edgar Delgado

The number of people I’ve talked to last year who were happy about the events in Amazing Spider-Man #700 can be counted using just the fingers of my left hand. It’s perfectly understandable – hell, I was so conflicted about it that I couldn’t bring myself to write a review for it, and instead ended up writing a long commentary on why Otto Octavius is, at this point, nothing but a wasted character. (Read it, please? Pretty please? Come on, man, be cool.)

I had a particularly odd way of dealing with my grief: I made a Facebook fan page for the Superior Spider-Man, operating under the notion that if anyone were to document the rise and fall of this pretender, it should be me. Besides, with all the amount of reading and research I do about Spock (Spider-Ock), with the dim hope that a clue, even just a small one, would surface about Peter Parker’s glorious return, I decided that I should at least put all the information and pictures I gather on a regular basis to good use.

My point is… I’m glad I made the fan page.

From the opening sequence of the book, The Superior Spider-Man grips you. It’s clear that Dan Slott isn’t quite done telling THE Spider-Man story of his career yet, that this is just the middle of a HUGE story that he has been – to use the term he seems to love using whenever Spider-Man story planning gets brought up – marinating since Amazing Spider-Man #600.

You can just tell that Slott is taking a new approach here, because it doesn’t read like a Slott book. The dialogue is smarter (or should I say, superior), the action sequences are faster and pack a more powerful punch, and the development of each important character in the book is carefully woven into the web that Spock has spun for himself. As you flip through each page, the feeling that this will all come crashing down on Spock’s head sooner or later becomes much stronger; while he initially does appear to surpass the original webspinner in the war on crime, Spock does a regrettably piss-poor job at maintaining his personal relationships in his civilian identity. His arrogance and callous disregard for other people’s feelings show through, no matter what he does, and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before someone notices that Peter’s…not at home, so to speak.

The art style is definitely not your standard Amazing fare, either. Ryan Stegman, who has proven his capabilities to draw a spectacular-looking Spider-Man during his stint as regular artist on Scarlet Spider, brings his trademark grit and roughness here, and tonally, it’s PERFECT. This definitely isn’t your daddy’s Spider-Man (well, this isn’t my Spider-Man either, but I digress), and it shows. Thanks to Stegman’s fine yet forceful pencils, Spock doesn’t swing those claws, he slashes with them; he doesn’t punch and kick villains, he beats them up; he doesn’t catch and punish evildoers, he straight-up TORTURES them. It’s violent enough to hammer the point across that this is a more ferocious protagonist, but not too violent as to emphasize gore and mutilation over actual substance. He’s on rotating art duties, with Giuseppe Camuncoli stepping in come issue #4; personally, I’m hoping Stegman stays on board permanently. His art (which, to my understanding, he inks himself) works wonderfully with Edgar Delgado’s sharp and bold colors. There is nary a single boring moment in this comic book; in fact, this book can be the source of both awesome pin-ups and hilarious reaction faces, ripe for Internet image macro creation.

If the premiere issue of this title doesn’t calm the naysayers and angry fans, then I’m pretty sure that the next few issues will, provided that Slott and Stegman maintain this level of quality in the book. Trust me when I say that there’s something in here to enjoy, whether you liked how Peter’s Amazing story ended or not.


“Dark and weird” indeed. Here’s to the rise of the new, Superior Spider-Man… and here’s to his inevitable fall, which I will patiently and eagerly wait for.

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Mikael Angelo Francisco