…You’ve been warned…
The cover for this issue is very telling of the long-running under tone of this series. For all this arrogance and for his ultimate victories over Peter Parker, by taking over Parker’s body and life Otto has, in essence, become trapped. In this issue he even focuses on this part of his life situation realizing that he may have escaped death but he might have created an even worse prison for himself.
The main action of this story focuses on the execution of Alistair Smythe, the Spider-Slayer. Way back in Amazing Spider-Man #654 he tried to kill J.J.J. and killed his wife Marla instead. He’d been in the Raft ever since awaiting execution. Jameson apparently pulled some political strings to ensure he get put down, something that shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows the character.
While there were some interesting moments in this issue, Otto’s return to the Raft and how it impacts him emotionally was a very nice touch as was seeing the conditions of some of the villains he’d almost killed as Spider-Man (the Vulture, Boomerang, and Scorpion specifically). The shining moment is actually a very brief conversation between him and The Daily Bugle’s Norah Winters about how a man can change from a ‘lifelong criminal, a murderer’ into someone different was very telling on how being Peter Parker/Spider-Man has really changed Otto’s view on things, despite his massive ego and general disliking of nearly everyone.
This is one of the things I feel people ignore while they heap blanket hate on this series and writer Dan Slott. These subtle character moments that allow us a momentary look into the mind of Otto and where he’s headed. But there is one thing I kind of wish he would stop doing… it seems like nearly every issue, or far too often, Otto has to repeat that he’s better than Parker was, a better Spider-Man… a Superior Spider-Man. We know this, and while I like that it’s a classic thing and there are other moments where Otto seems to question things other villains have said, even wondering allowed if he ever sounded like that, I think it’s time he stopped saying he is a Superior Spider-Man and just continue to be a Superior Spider-Man. Beyond that, the character moments, as I call them, are the moments where Slott shines and shows his ability to be subtle with a character that is anything but.
The art in this issue is also very solid. Giuseppe Camuncoli makes this look like a comic book. Something that’s almost become a lost art these days. He brings a look that is dynamic and exciting, truly a Marvel look from years gone by. His facial expressions are some of my favorites, second only to Journey Into Mystery‘s Valerio Schiti in my humble opinion, in Marvel. Camuncoli’s talent is nothing to sneeze at, though, he’s one of those artists that when I see his art I begin to wonder what his versions of some of my favorite Marvel characters would look like. I would love to see this guy do Darkhawk or Ghost Rider (the Blaze version mostly).
Bottom line is this book is really coming into its own. All the nay-sayers really have nothing to nay-say about anymore. Now that we’ve finally gotten rid of Peter Parker we can really start to see what Otto is capable of and if these recent issues are any indication then we’re going to have a very interesting ride!
At least, that’s my opinion… What are yours?