Chain Reactions | Superior Spider-Man #1
I’ll start off with the customary warning: spoilers for Amazing Spider-Man #700 and Superior Spider-Man #1 can be found below. I’ll also note that these aren’t the same spoiler, so don’t think you’re safe if you’ve only read ASM #700.
With that out of the way, it’s a new day for Spider-Man, with a new first issue and a new status quo, of sorts. ASM #700 brought all sorts of reactions from fans, and now that the new series has kicked off, what do folks think? Here are a few reactions to Superior Spider-Man #1:
Rob at Crisis on Infinite Midlives: “Okay, let’s start with the most important thing: this is, almost without exception, a very good, character driven book that was clearly written with a great deal of care by Dan Slott. This book, as the introduction to Ock as Spider-Man, kinda had to be a character study of the man more than any kind of action or plot-driven story, and Slott delivers on that basis. Because this is, regardless of the suit or the name or the redhead he’s trying to bang, a story about Otto Octavius. And Peter’s memories or not, he is a self-centered supervillain. And Slott never forgets that.”
Hannah Means-Shannon, The Beat: “Superior Spider-Man #1 is actually confusing for different reasons than I expected, and not always in negative ways. It fired my imagination and impressed me with the nuances it explores in superhero and villain roles. Though many talented writers and artists in quite a range of superhero tales have tried to tease out that fine line between what makes a hero a hero and a villain a villain, SS#1 feels like an escalation in that investigation with more on the table and more to win, or to lose, in the gamble.”
Ron Richards, iFanboy: “Part of the charm of Slott’s writing of Spider-Man is the simplicity of it. He gets the core of the character and the world that he lives in. I can understand some of the criticism and frustration folks have had with his stories, as the conversations and situations tend to feel overly clear and overly obvious, to a point of seeming unrealistic. Now while Slott is guilty of this from time to time– and this issue is no exception–I believe that he makes it work for him, and furthermore, it fits for a mostly all-ages approach to an iconic hero.”
Matt D. Wilson, ComicsAlliance: “The slight redesign of Spidey’s costume — which was actually Ed McGuinness’ doing — does a great job of making some noticeable tweaks, such as reshaping Spider-Man’s eyes so they also look a bit like Doc Ock’s goggles, while leaving Spider-Man recognizable. Likewise, Peter-Ock looks like Peter, only a little more slimy, a little more sinister, and much more d-baggy.
“If I’m reminded of any Spider-Man art style, and this is going to sound like a criticism when it isn’t, it’s the early-to-mid-’90s look of Todd McFarlane and Erik Larsen. Though it’s often maligned now, the art of that era had a kineticism and, you might say, hyperreality that Stegman’s art also has here. Also, there’s lots of spaghetti webbing. It looks great, and does a lot to imbue what’s happening with a sense of instability.”
Don McPherson, Eye on Comics: “It seems as though artist Ryan Stegman has adapted his style a bit for this new Spidey series. He’s boasted a fairly conventional super-hero-genre style in the past, but here, there’s a looser, rougher approach, and I think the reason is clear. Stegman’s art is meant to reflect the harsher personality that lurks within the title character now. It looks a bit like the sort of result we saw years ago when Bill Sienkiewicz would ink the work of the late Jim Aparo on various Batman comics from DC. This edgier approach doesn’t quite work, perhaps in part because Slott’s script doesn’t fully commit to the darker tone that’s promised. Otto-Peter’s dialogue is corny, reflecting the Silver Age megalomania characteristic of super-villains from the 1960s. There’s a goofy tone to the action involving the Sinister Six as well, so the harshness Stegman tries to instill here feels a bit out of place.”
Brian Hibbs, Savage Critics: “I also have a certain amount of problem with ‘having cake and eating it-ism’ — rather than being ASM #701 (maybe blurbed “1ST ISSUE in a all-now direction!” or something), this is being made out to be a different series. From a story POV, this marks a very not-Peter era of Spidey, but Parker’s ‘spirit’ shows up on the last page(s) to show that it is still very much his story. I’m not opposed to that, per se, but I think it undercuts almost all of the inherent drama of the situation now that we’re explicitly told he’s coming back. Don’t trigger that suspension-of-disbelief-sense — to a large degree, I don’t think that the beat was EARNED yet… SpOck attempting to kill someone would, I think, be a much better culmination of a storyline, than randomly happening in issue #1. With Parker already back on the plate (and, sure, maybe it will take quite some time to play out), I think the story dramatically undercuts itself.”
Mark Ginocchio, Chasing Amazing: “Simply put, any anxieties I had about the new status quo have been extinguished, and I’m now completely at the mercy of Slott, as I surrender myself to the next twist and turn in this story. It might take 12, 50 or 100 issues of Superior Spider-Man before we get there, but after everything Slott has demonstrated over the past five or six years, I trust what he’s doing, even in those moments where I’m not 100 percent comfortable with it.”
Ryan K. Lindsay, Comic Book Resources: “Superior Spider-Man #1 is a complete success, a reboot issue that builds from what came before but is entirely accessible for new readers. It is also riveting in the plot complication it delivers, the possible solution it hints at, and the way Octavius intends to act in the interim. Spider-Man will be different for a little while and if it can continue to be this intriguing, well thought out, exciting and downright fun, then it can take its time playing out this strange experiment.