RECOMMENDED: "Superior Spider-Man Annual" #1
- by Señor Editor, 22 November 2013
The last time I read a Spider-Man comic was when Peter Parker „died” and Doctor Octopus took over his body. That issue brought me back from my post-One More Day hiatus from the series, but I didn’t stay for the aftermath. Spider-Man was the first Marvel character I became a fan of, over 20 years ago, and Doctor Octopus was always my favorite of his villains, but I never really felt inclined to check out Superior Spider-Man. Until this week, when I picked up “Superior Spider-Man Annual” #1 on a whim.
Speaking of the villain, it’s Blackout. You remember Blackout? I mostly know him from the earliest issues of the Danny Ketch “Ghost Rider” comic, a story that’s even referenced here. He’s a demon/vampire/freak type of killer, whose power is that he makes all the lights go down when he appears. That Ghost Rider story is the only thing I read with him, and he’s clearly a product of the 90s, but Rodriguez actually makes him look pretty cool and sinister here. He’s a psycho, and if it was the regular, Parker Spider-Man he’s up against here, then the comic would probably be indistinguishable from hundreds of stories like that. But since he’s up against the Otto Octavius Spider-Man, it’s a whole different story.
Like Parker, Ock is a genius, but one of a completely different kind. He’s cold, calculating and he can be extremely brutal. Seeing as I’m new to Superior Spider-Man stories, I was wondering how having Octopus as the protagonist would affect the humor the Spider-Man comics are known for. One might think that having Ock as the narrator would make things considerably less funny, but it’s quite the opposite in this annual. Having the old, pompous guy (who, let’s not forget, once wanted to marry Aunt May, and still cares for her deeply) occupy Parker’s body makes for some refreshing and amusing scenes. He’s not cracking jokes or anything, but he’s such an arrogant, grumpy man that it’s impossible not to see the comedy in him being Spider-Man.
Rodriguez’ art in here is clean and crisp, very fitting for a Spider-Man comic. He also does his own colors, and they’re very vibrant, making this book a joy to look at. The single panels of Doctor Strange meditating and the flashback to Ghost Rider fighting Blackout make for particularly nice touches, and Superior Spider-Man sitting among all his tech looks very cool. The action looks good, too.
There are no epic, life-changing events in this comic. This is just a straight up entertaining superhero comicbook, with good writing and art. If that doesn't sound like much, then consider this: I’m slowly pushing thirty, but I know, that even if I read this at age 10, 15 or 20, as my first exposure to the series, it would make me interested and wanting to get more like this. And as simple as that sounds, that just doesn’t happen very often with DC or Marvel nowadays. It’s tricky to make a comic that’s just right, that can give you a complete, fun story in a single issue and get you hooked. That’s some higher level superhero comicbooking right there, and Gage and Rodriguez get it right. That’s why “Superior Spider-Man Annual” #1 gets Trash Mutant’s recommendation.
Did you pick this issue up this week? Are you following the other Superior Spider-Man titles? Are they any good? Let us know below!