Comic Review: Superior Spider-Man #6AU
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Dexter Soy
Letterer: Virtual Calligraphy’s Joe Caramagna
Previously, in Superior Spider-Man: The planet has been ravaged by the forces of Ultron, the malevolent artificial intelligence created by Hank Pym. Pym and the Avengers have battled Ultron numerous times, but each time the creature escaped, only to return to menace the world, each time more powerful than the last. Now he has succeeded in taking over the world, forcing the Avengers into hiding and driving most of them, including Captain America, to despair.
One Avenger who wouldn’t give up was Hawkeye, who mounted a daring rescue attempt and saved his comrade Spider-Man from the Owl and Hammerhead, who were going to sell Spidey to Ultron. Spidey’s rescue and the new information that he was able to reveal has kick started Captain America once again, and now the Avengers are reading a counterattack against Ultron. But what the Avengers don’t know, is that within their midst, Otto Octavius is lurking – for he is the Superior Spider-Man.
Age of Ultron is in an odd position at the moment. The series was originally written, drawn, and slated for release before Avengers Vs. X-Men last year, and was put on hold as a result of the other crossover, only to be released now. As a result, there’re some story discrepancies which won’t be explained away in-story. One of these is the fact that the Spider-Man in the main series is quite obviously Peter Parker pre-Superior Spider-Man, from his costume right down to his manner of speech. This puts the writer of our Superior Spider-Man tie-in, Christos Gage, on the back foot from the beginning as he must attempt to make this series fit in with the overall narrative whilst blatantly using a different character.
Gage does so admirably, crafting a tale that covers up the way Ock acts in the main series and yet still retains enough of his own personality to ensure that this is definitely an issue of Superior Spider-Man and not an Amazing flashback. Obviously Ock’s inner monologue is written as himself, but the fine line that Dan Slott sometimes struggles with in Ock’s actual mannerisms and out-loud speech is finely trodden here so that you could just about pass our Superior Spidey off as Peter, if we didn’t know any better.
It’s a shame really that this event will likely end in such a way that means the effects of this tie-in issue won’t be felt in the main Superior series, as we get Ock learning a valuable lesson that would likely affect the upcoming Troubled Mind arc as the Avengers head after him. The way that he learns it is very typically Ock, which shows how well Gage nails Otto’s approach to crises, and there’s some great character development for him which will again he will likely not benefit from. If anything, we might actually see this ground being retrodden in the main Superior series because it’s an important lesson that would really help Ock with his ‘fitting in as Peter’ problems.
I praised Dexter Soy’s art throughout his run on Captain Marvel, and his reappearance on this single issue is well worth the price of admission. His work is dynamic and has superb impact; the fight scenes are especially well done, with all of Ock’s savage blows feeling like they have a proper weight behind them. Soy colors his own work too, and his palette choice here is well done, with grey tones and muted golds for the Ultron robots, which make our main character’s suit pop off of the page as the only splash of color throughout the book, which also reinforces the dismal, end of the world atmosphere that the Age of Ultron has.
Whilst this isn’t an essential issue of Age of Ultron, or even of Superior Spider-Man, it’s definitely well worth checking out. Gage’s writing is spot on, and should mean that when he helps Dan Slott out in a few issues, we’ll be in good hands, and Soy’s artwork is absolutely superb. If you’ve got the spare cash, grab this issue for certain.
GO Rating: 4/5