The Superior Spider-Man #1
Written by: Dan Slott
Art by: Ryan Stegman
Color by: Edgar Delgado
Letters by: Chris Eliopoulos
The Superior Spider-Man #1 was one of Marvel’s freebies at ComicFest 2018. Do you remember the time everyone hated Spider-Man? Okay, maybe not everyone… and yeah, sure it was because Doctor Octopus had swapped bodies with him right before the body of Doctor Octopus died but still… the result was that Spider-Man was no longer Spider-Man and people noticed. If you’ve forgotten the story or if you’re just new to the Marvel Comic Universe then you’re in luck. Marvel offered some great series starters this Halloween. The Superior Spider-Man #1 was probably the most confusing of the batch for a reader new to Marvel or new to Spider-Man, so let me give you a quick rundown.
Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t read this issue (originally published in 2013) there might be a few spoilers in this article.
Spider-Man Is Not Spider-Man
Let start with a brief overview of the events that preceded The Superior Spider-Man #1. Over the course of many battles with the villain Doctor Octopus, whose real name is Otto Octavius, Spider-Man was forced to access the hive mind of the Octobots’ numerous times. This meant that he unwittingly gave Octavius unrestricted access to his mind. Now keep in mind that Octavius is not only a scientific genius but he is also dying because of the punishment his body took from fighting super-powered heroes throughout in his villainous career. Many people forget that although Doc Ock (as he is often called) was considered a supervillian, apart from his technological tentacles he is fundamentally an ordinary human.
Naturally, Octavius wanted to prolong his life and once he figured out how to program a lone Octobot to swap his mind pattern with that of your friendly neighborhood Web-head, things got weird fast. Octavius effectively swapped bodies with Peter Parker and left Parker to die in his old body. So you had Octavious in a young body with access to all of Parker’s memories but without his moral restraints or values. Not a good thing. Since Peter Parker never gives up without a fight, he attempts one last time to reclaim his body and unfortunately fails, but he is able to give his values and moral code to Octavius before he appeared to die in Octavius’ crippled body.
Bad Guy Gone Good… or Better
This brings us to the events of The Superior Spider-Man #1. Octavius might have Peter’s powers and even morals but he is still the same ambitious, arrogant narcissist. He believes that with the physical strength of Spider-Man, the good values of Peter Parker, and his own scientific genius that he can do better. He decides that he will surpass the “Amazing Spider-Man” becoming, you guessed it—The Superior Spider-Man.
The thing is there is a fine line between being a hero and a menace and men like Octavius never really understand that. Also, Octavius is not Peter so he’s not going to act like him and those closest to Peter notice the difference. In time, they’ll guess the truth. It’s pretty clear in this issue that Mary Jane already senses something is off.
Just a Taste
The Superior Spider-Man #1 gives you just a taste of what could go wrong when a man with the ambition of Octavius is granted the physical power and personal connections of Spider-Man. The story continues in The Superior Spider-Man The Complete Collection vol. 1 which collect issues 1 through 16 of this exciting journey. If you are a Spider-Man fan but haven’t made time to check out what Octavius did with his time in Parker’s body now’s a great time. If you are a new reader and you’re following the recently re-launched Amazing Spider-Man series this will give you the story behind all the crap Peter is dealing with in those first few issues.