Now that Otto Octavius has switched minds with Peter Parker, he has taken over as Spider-Man. While he’s nowhere nearly as merciful as Peter Parker was, he intends to be a much more effective superhero and scientist. That’s where this comic begins, and it’s a great start for Spider-Man’s new direction.
When compared to the Amazing Spider-Man, this comic is somewhat darker yet it still feels like a Spider-Man comic. Otto doesn’t treat others with the same respect that Peter tried to – sometimes he’s downright nasty. He doesn’t quip nearly as much – if anything he’s much more arrogant and boasting. At the same time however, he’s much better at planning ahead and using his enemy’s tactics against them. It’s fascinating seeing how Otto works differently as a hero. There’s also a nice plot twist on the last two pages that might ease people’s concerns.
Apart from anyone’s personal feelings about Otto taking over Peter’s mind, there’s only one potential problem with this issue. He dates Mary Jane in the middle of the issue without even hinting that he’s no longer the Peter Parker she knew. It’s somewhat manipulative and could easily turn into something worse if it’s not addressed soon. Dan Slott has stated that it will be explored in issue 2 however – I’ll hold my judgement until that issue releases. Even ignoring that, he’s not treating Mary Jane very well. He’s not listening to a single thing she says, although at least he admits that he’s listening to something Spider-Man related instead. I just don’t see too many women forgiving someone for ignoring them on a first date.
The art is fairly good. It’s not as stylistic as the Amazing Spider-Man usually was, nor is it full of extensive details. Character expressions are very well handled though – you can easily see Otto’s impatience toward those he doesn’t respect, with subtle hints that he’s at least trying to act like Peter did around others. The action is easy to follow and the environmental detail is more than enough to establish where each scene takes place. While the art isn’t exactly my favourite style, it’s more than good enough to carry the issue.
There is a lot of storytelling potential with this series and this issue has made that perfectly clear. There’s room for humour even if the Superior Spider-Man doesn’t joke around. There’s room for character drama even with a character who isn’t always nice around others. This is a fun comic that’s somewhat dark, yet not so much that it doesn’t feel like a Spider-Man book. If you’re not too angry about Dr. Octopus taking over Peter’s body, this comic is definitely worth checking out.