SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #32
Written by Dan Slott and Christos N. Gage
Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Adam Kubert
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 6, 2014
Fans of Ock-Spidey (Otto Octavius also known as Doctor Octopus) are getting their wishes fulfilled as the seemingly random additional issue of Superior Spider-Man comes out this week, four months after his consciousness was erased from Peter Parker’s mind. Be warned, only a fool would venture forth without being aware that spoilers are not a necessity to describe the genius that lays in the story (… that’s me channeling Doc Ock… sorry.)
As revealed when the book was announced, this issue tells the story of where Doctor Octopus, running around in Peter Parker’s body, was for 24 hours when he disappeared with the arrival of Spider-Man 2099. It’s a story first set up in issues #14-#19 of the Superior series, that was never fully explained. This issue is that first chapter with Otto being thrown across dimensions, at first just to get home, and then to help solve a bigger mystery. So, if there was any doubt about the relevance of this issue into the bigger upcoming Spider-verse event, go ahead and set those doubts aside.
It’s a rather succinct and quickly paced art/action centered introduction to the upcoming mayhem. The fact that Otto is at the center of it all, for now, just makes it that much more enjoyable. Slott & Gage do a great job of laying the seeds for potential grievances and battles that could occur later between the Spider-people. While Otto can serve as a vehicle for this debate, its almost as if Otto could become the middle ground who’s decision might have to be won over later. Could it be Peter potentially playing the role of angel on his shoulder and the Peter from Gage’s back-up story playing devil?
Speaking of angel’s on the shoulder of Otto Octavius, Slott & Gage have created a clever way for Anna Maria, his girlfriend, to be part of the story. Even though the actual character was not thrust through time like Otto was, it’s made clear how important her presence is needed for him to function. Surprising and touching since Otto is not one to admit he needs anyone. In some ways, it’s very heartbreaking, knowing what will later happen at the conclusion of the Superior Spider-Man series. Will the Edge of Spider-verse change all of that?
While Otto’s gusto and hubris are as brash as ever, there are not really any surprises or shocking moments. The clean, straightforward nature of setting up a much larger picture is the center focus and plays out well. Camuncoli, John Dell & Antonio Fabela truly shine. Recap layouts that could be tiresome or boring use unique borders and specific panels that let the art tell a large portion of the backstory. Specifically, on page 3, the intricate detail of the various times and places for a Spider-man to exist overwhelms your eyes with the beauty.
Fabela’s use of color and texture to matte the swirling background and help Ock-Spidey standout in a red-orange glow is stunning, especially when immediately contrasted with the next page covered in blues and purples of the future nighttime. The back and forth transitions between completely overlay panel pages then moving to a page with white gutters can potentially take you out of the story for a split second. However, devise driven color palettes help keep consistency through the different dimensions.
Camuncoli’s detailed backgrounds, rubble, breaking glass patterns, disturbed and broken land as well as webbing details are engrossing. Finally, there is a a consistency with other-world Spider-verse characters previously scene in other series and issues that help show the reader there is a reverence for the original designs of these other Peter Parker’s… even if some of the ones we know best have already become casualties to a steampunk inspired villain.
Despite the #32, this issue isn’t too difficult of a pick-up spot for anyone not familiar with Otto Octavius as Spider-Man. The quick exposition, the dramatic and detailed action sequences plus the brash superior nature of our hero keep you turning the page and ready for the event that is about to unfold.
The Verdict: 9.0/10