tmp_superior_spider-man_25_cover_20141062414147Editor’s Note: Ah, but my dear Spider-Woman… I so want to spoil you. And I can no longer think of a reason not to.

Now we’re getting somewhere.

I’ve been pretty vocal recently that, while I’m generally enjoying Dan Slott’s tale of Doc Ock as Spider-Man in The Superior Spider-Man, it’s felt like it’s been dragging along for a while to me. With the foregone conclusion that Peter Parker would eventually be returning as Spider-Man – a foregone conclusion that has been bourne out by recent news (spoilers at that link, by the way) – I had passed the point where I was fully engaged in seeing how Doc Ock would operate as Spider-Man and had reached the point where I wanted to see how things turned out to put Peter back into the suit. Picture it like sex: foreplay is fun and all, but as a wise man once said, eventually you gotta go into the trenches and bump uglies. So to speak.

Well, we are now on the 25th issue of The Superior Spider-Man – an impressive feat, considering the first issue was only a year ago – and now we’ve got some solid rising action moving toward a denouement of this whole Otto situation. Writers Dan Slott and Christos Gage take a solid step in this issue toward yanking the rug out from under Otto, showing cracks in his public image, suspicion from Spider-Man’s allies, and some real opposition from someone who can actually get to the bottom of this whole Ock / Spider-Man situation.

After months of foreplay, characters are finally starting to bump Editor’s Note: Rob, this metaphor is a dicey pile of shit. Move along. -Amanda

Ahem. Anyway.

tmp_amazing_spider-man_1_variant_cover_2014962603996Editor’s Note: Look, this entire article is loaded with spoilers about upcoming events related to Spider-Man and Marvel’s and Dan Slott’s plans for the character in the coming months. And while none of those events are particularly hard to guess, if you want to remain pure and unspoiled about things, you should probably move along. And try not to think about the most likely actions a corporation might take to maximize profit via cross-platform synergy. And if you don’t have to think about what “cross-platform synergy” means because it is a part of your job, you should move along before I call you something I can’t take back. 

I wrote not too long ago that, despite generally enjoying Dan Slott’s The Superior Spider-Man, that I was ready for the whole Doc Ock as Spider-Man storyline to start coming in for a landing. While it’s been an interesting storytelling experiment, in the sense that it explores a different and darker angle on the concept of “with great power comes great responsibility” that’s at the core of Spider-Man’s character, it’s grown a little long in the tooth for me, since I knew full Goddamned well that eventually, Peter Parker was gonna come back. When? Well, sometime before The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens in theaters in May, at the very least… no matter what Dan Slott said about Peter Parker staying dead.

Well, Slott and Marvel have finally gone on record about their long-term plans for Peter Parker. And while the broad strokes might be pretty much what one would expect, they amount to pretty big spoilers, so if you want to know what’s up, you can find out after the jump.

tmp_superior_spider-man_22_cover_20131746222442I haven’t written about The Superior Spider-Man in a while, even though I am still reading it and still generally enjoying it, because it is beginning to succumb to The Walking Dead disease.

Here’s what I mean: we all know full well how The Superior Spider-Man is going to end. No matter what writer Dan Slott says on Twitter and at conventions, we all know that Peter Parker will return as Spider-Man at some point before the Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie opens on May 2nd next year. And even if you choose to believe that Marvel’s overlords at Disney will be willing to allow that corporate synergy and mindshare (Christ, I feel dirty just typing that) to pass since the movie’s owned by Sony and Columbia, the signs are all here that Peter Parker will return and Otto Octavius will suffer a fall. Otto’s showing hubris, he’s arrogant, and his sense of superiority is rubbing damn near everyone the wrong way.

All the signs point to Otto falling from grace and Peter returning, and the problem is that every reader knows this. Because we read comic books, and we know full well that dead only means dead in comics if the dead guy is Uncle Ben, Thomas Wayne or Martha Wayne. So we all know that the broad-stroke ending of Otto falls / Peter returns is coming (the same way we’ve known that Negan falls / Rick triumphs is the likely ending of the Walking Dead arc that’s been going on since 2012)… but it seems it has been going on forever.

And the events of The Superior Spider-Man #22 continues with the long, slow arc of Otto blindly heading toward a bad end, with yet another instance of Otto interacting badly with someone who would expect Peter to know and be friendly with him. And it’s certainly enjoyable enough, particularly in seeing J. Jonah Jameson’s reaction to some of the events of the issue… but it is also still more of the same interminable setup for a story for which I’m becoming damned impatient to see the punchline.

superior_spider-man_7_cover_2013The Superior Spider-Man is not sustainable. It has never been sustainable. We have known this from the beginning.

Let’s face it: The Superior Spider-Man only works for as long as you accept that there’s a megamaniacal supervillain who talks like Ming The Merciless on a coke bender and kills more people as Spider-Man than he did with his pre-body switch Death Satellites pretending to be Peter Parker… without anyone noticing. Including the readers. I have been able to suspend my disbelief on my that plot point for a while, but the entire time I have been reading this book, I have known in the back of my mind that if I called someone a “dolt” more than three times in a month, my friends would demand to know what was wrong… and if I used the term “pilfering parasite” more than once in, well, ever, my own parents would hold me at pitchfork-point until the DNA results came back clean.

The cracks in this whole Doc-Ock-As-Spider-Man conceit are already beginning to show. In the current Marvel crossover event Age of Ultron, which was written by Brian Michael Bendis months ago, Spider-Man is pretty clearly Peter Parker… which caused writer Dan Slott to have to produce last week’s The Superior Spider-Man #6AU (AU for “Age of Ultron”), which tried valiantly to shoehorn Ock’s version of Spider-Man into the event… even though only a reader who uses the cover of an issue of Age of Ultron to roll a fat one would believe that Otto Octavius has a wisecrack in him that doesn’t include the word “pusillanimous.”

Thankfully, Slott seems to know the limitations of the body-switching gag. Because just over three months into the whole deal, he is simultaneously showing Peter beginning to show a modicum of control over his Otto-infested body, and Spider-Man’s teammates on The Avengers are finally convinced that something isn’t right with the guy. And while all this is happening with what feels like a fairly contrived situation just to show the extent of Doc Ock’s newly-found moral relativism, it’s good to finally see the noose tightening on this whole gimmick.

FiredMarvel is throwing another comic book teaser our way, this one somewhat less mysterious than yesterday’s XX promo, but still ambiguous enough to make us wonder…

…how can “that old Parker luck” (as Comic Book Resources called it) run out so fast when Peter Parker isn’t even driving the bus anymore? I mean, look at those faces teased up on that image: OctoSpidey seems to have pissed off the whole of The Avengers and gotten himself fired. That’s fast work, faster than my Uncle Louie can get himself drunk, disorderly and tasered at GED Prom Night Zumba at the Learning Annex.

In any event, the “Fired” teaser also points to a new arc that will see Ryan Stegman departure. Humberto Ramos will be joining writer Dan Slott, as penciler. Fans of big-eyed, lanky looking manga type characters, rejoice.

Superior Spider-Man drops at your LCS this Wednesday, January 9. Slott and Ramos’s new arc begins in April 2013.

Editor’s Note: Better Yet, with my unparalleled genius — and my boundless ambitions — I’ll be a better Spoiler-Man than you ever were.

I hated Star Trek: Generations. Yes, I know this is a review of The Amazing Spider-Man #700, but just bear with me for a second.

The climax of Generations featured the death of Captain Kirk. If I’m remembering correctly (and if I’m not, screw it; I’m not watching that pile of shit again), a bunch of scaffolding collapsed on Kirk, killing him slowly due to internal injuries. “It was… fun,” Kirk said. “Fuck this bullshit,” I said.

The problem wasn’t that Kirk died. The problem was the way that Kirk died. Sure, he went down fighting evil, and he did it even knowing that no one would ever know that he did what he did, and that’s fine… but there is no way on God’s Green Earth that James Tiberius Kirk dies due to shitty construction and a bad step. It is wrong, and it is anti-climactic.

You want to kill Jim Kirk? There is only one way he dies: he goes down with the ship.

With that let’s turn an eye to The Amazing Spider-Man #700.

There is a lot in this comic book that writer Dan Slott does reasonably well. He shows two mortal enemies locked in battle, and demonstrates that at least in terms of intelligence, they are pretty evenly matched. He clearly spent some time thinking about Internet gutter wits (Hey Mom! I’m on the Internet!) looking for plot holes and preemptively plugging them, and gives a reasonable explanation for how and why the combatant who survives will act in the way he must for the ongoing conceit to even remotely have legs. And he gave himself an out for the new status quo… which I think we all know isn’t really the new normal. After all, let’s remember that , in the past five or six years, Marvel has killed and resurrected Captain America and Thor twice each. Big name characters in the Marvel Universe get killed and rise from the grave so often they make Jesus look like D-Man.

And yes, someone does die here, however temporarily. And Slott does his best to make that death emotional and moving, and succeeds up to a point. Problem is, that death doesn’t feel earned… and it is the equivalent of dying in a Goddamned scaffolding collapse.

So who dies, and is it all worth it? Well, let’s talk about that after the jump, with one warning: after that jump, there will be spoilers.

So the comics reading world has been waiting on pins and needles to find out what happens in The Amazing Spider-Man #700, as it leads into The Superior Spider-Man: will Peter Parker be able to reclaim his body from Doctor Octopus? And if he can, will Ock have done something terrible to make it uncomfortable to be Peter Parker for a while, leading him to change up his costume? Or maybe will the fact that another soul has been in Peter’s body shake loose some after effects from Peter’s deal with Mephisto, reversing the effects of One More Day (a personal favorite theory)?

The anticipation is simply crippling; writer Dan Slott and Marvel Editorial have gone a long way to prevent spoilers of the issue reaching the street, so the idea of having to wait until December 26th for the issue to go on sale to see what happens at the end of the comic is just…

What’s that? The last few pages of the issue have leaked online? Along with a synopsis of the events of the last issue?

Editor’s Note: Hey Amanda – have I done the “Amazing Spoiler-Man” gag for a spoiler warning yet? No? Jesus, how the fuck have I left that one on the table? No, I’m not gonna do it NOW, I gave it away already! I’ll just tell people that this review is loaded with spoilers. Right after I pour another whiskey.

Here’s the problem with hype: ever since The Amazing Spider-Man #699 was available in stores yesterday morning, Dan Slott’s Twitter feed has been ablaze with cries of “Oh God! You bastard! That’s the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen!” and “I threw up when I saw IT,” and “Follow me for slutty cam vids!” Okay, that last one might have been from Twitter pornbot Diane’s Slot, but that’s beside the point.

The point is, if all you have to go on it the online hype, you would think that Amazing Spider-Man #699 was a bloody slugfest in the final battle before the book goes tits up in favor of Superior Spider-Man at the end of the month, but that’s not the case. Make no mistake: that moment that people are shrieking about is in the book. And it is… yeah, we’ll go with the adjective “disturbing.” But I won’t spoil the moment here, because despite the hype, it isn’t germane to the story. Which is actually a pretty solid middle part to a story that Marvel promises will “change Spider-Man forever,” or at least until three months after The Amazing Spider-Man 2 shows up in movie theaters and reminds people that there’s money in the character the way he’s always been.

So yeah – turns out they were talking about Spider-Man.

Yesterday was the retailer’s breakfast at New York Comic Con where The Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott announced what the hell “Superior” stood for, and apparently he then turned right around and told USA Today that, following the sooper seekrit events of the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man #700 – which will mark the end of that title, at least until someone at Marvel realizes there’s money to be made in releasing a book with the words “Spider-Man” and “800” on the cover – he will be writing a book titled The Superior Spider-Man about… some guy in a Spider-Man suit.

A guy who might, or might not, be Peter Parker.

“I’ve always been the omniscient hand that’s been protecting Peter Parker and Spider-Man, and not letting anything too bad happen to him,” [Slott said]. “And now I’ve become this cruel god. There’s something exciting about that, about going, ‘Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha, here is what’s going to happen to you, Spider-Man!’ And it’s drastic and it’s big and it’s exciting and it’s never been done before.”

So here’s what we know: Slott says that in The Amazing Spider-Man #700, Doctor Octopus has only one day to live, and he knows that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, and he is going to do something unfriendly to Pete. And whatever that thing is, it is going to lead to a somewhat darker Spider-Man.

So what do you have in mind, Dan?

Marvel has released a new one-word Marvel Now teaser… kinda. And, well, so much for that Miracleman theory.

There’s still no specific word as to what Marvel’s “Superior” tease from a couple weeks back means, but thanks to Marvel releasing a new version of the image to USA Today, we at least have a creative team attached… which you can see after the jump.