Time in the Marvel Universe is broken, and a crisis has arisen that might wipe the world of 2099 entirely out of existence. That century’s Spider-Man knows his only chance is to team up with the original Spidey to save his world and the whole of time…
Too bad the original Spider-Man is dead, and Otto Octavius has taken his place. Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
Slott has committed to his story.
The art is bloopy and indistinct.
Too many jerks in play.
Previously in Superior Spider-Man: There’s a problem in the world, one that has cause Alchemax president Tyler Stone, of the year 2099, to have issues with his own temporal cohesion. Fortunately, the Spider-Man of 2099, Miguel O’Hara, has been able to travel back to the source of the time disturbance, the modern heroic age, to team up once again with his inspiration, the Amazing Spider-Man. Sadly, Spideys only come in the Superior variety these days, and that one is tied up by a hostile takeover of Horizon Labs by Tyler Stone’s father, Tiberius, and Liz Allan, the ex-wife of Spider-pal Harry Osborn. It’s getting a little weird in Superior Spider-land, and now, our two arachnoid heroes stand face-to-face. What will happen?
OTTO WILL RESPOND VIOLENTLY. DUH?
Confronted with the fact that this new blue-suited interloper knows his secret identity, Spider-Man immediately provokes a fight with him, cursing his own decision to wipe out the Peter Parker identity. This battle is a short one, as the current Spider-Man (heretofore referred to as SSM) endangers the life of Liz Allan’s son Normie, while the boy’s survival is completely due to the heroic actions of Spider-Man 2099 (heretofore referred to as SM2.) It’s an interesting conflict that they’ve put together here, as SM2 is being forced to save the life and timeline of a man he doesn’t particularly like, but who is important to his own survival, while SSM is fighting to keep his secrets and maintain control of the technology that he created. Neither man is entirely in the right, which makes for some interesting story points. Unfortunately, the art is very unpleasant to look at, with Stegman clearly aping the surface technique of Humberto Ramos, making both Spider-Men seem gangly and distended, while all the civilians look to be about 14 years old due to their spindly neck structures.
PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO NOTICE…
My complaints about the art notwithstanding, the story does get a bit confusing as the issue continues, with Tyler Stone communicating with SM2 via a comlink from the future and SSM not at all interested in his counterpart’s mission or saving lives. Indeed, by the time SM2 escapes with Tiberius Stone, SSM seems to want to track him down solely to even the score with a rival. Octavius/Parker returns to Horizon Labs, where he blatantly begins stealing equipment, regardless of the wishes of his superiors of the legal consequences of his actions. SM2 downloads his AI from the future, and discovers that the something terrible that leads to the future problems is the destruction-by-sabotage of Horizon Labs less than half a day from now. He arrives at the lab just in time for all the stories to converge into one, and takes the steps necessary to keep everyone in the building from dying and his future from unraveling, with only moments to spare…
…then Superior Spider-Man arrives and knocks him out. “What?” asks the “hero,” as the issue fades to black…
THE BOTTOM LINE: A BIT CONFUSING, AND VISUALLY OFF-PUTTING, BUT A FUNNY ENDING.
I have to say, the idea of our central hero being a self-centered @#$%head is a compelling one, and this issue really puts a lot of weight on that conceit. Having Miggy’s heroic actions to counterpoint Octavius/Parker’s jerkass nature is nice, but there’s almost TOO much focus on what an ass SSM is, as he abuses his lackeys, openly dismisses his colleague, and verbally attacks Mary Jane when she tries to contact him. The book’s ongoing plots (The Hobgoblin mystery, Tiberius Stone’s actions, the drama at Horizon) take up a lot of real estate in the issue, with little focus on the Spider Vs. Spider drama implied by the cover. Superior Spider-Man #18 is an okay issue, with some fun elements in play, even as the art team suffers from trying too hard to draw like another art team, while the protagonist himself is played as an utterly reprehensible arrogant bastard, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. I wonder if this time-travel plot is related to the breaking of time in Age of Ultron, or any of the half-dozen other time-travel stories swirling about, but in any case, I will say that I admire the creative team’s commitment to keeping Peter Parker out of the book. Dan Slott hints that next issue is a big deal, and I’m interested to see what they have up their sleeves (even if I wish they had a different art team doing it.)