Supernova is back, and she wants revenge on Spider-Man. Spider-Man has no idea who Supernova is. Your Major Spoilers review of Superior Spider-Man #1 from Marvel Comics awaits!
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #1
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Mark Bagley/Nathan Stockman
Inker: John Dell
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Ellie Pyle
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $5.99
Release Date: November 15, 2023
Previously in The Superior Spider-Man: The current Spider-Man faces a new villain, hailing from his Superior past. As she fries New York with all the power of a living star, former Spider-Man, Doctor Octopus, makes a life-changing discovery!
NEW SIDEKICK, NEW VILLAIN, NEW WAY TO DIE HORRIBLY
We open on the streets of New York City as Spider-Man and Spider-Boy descend on a group of evil-doers… all of whom are Mirage! (It’s his gimmick, see, making holographic duplicates that confuse his would-be pursuers. Spider-Boy takes the lead, excited that his mentor is letting him fight the D-listers. Things go well, and the Webbed Wonders retire to have ice cream in Times Square. That’s how Supernova finds them, blasting away with her fusion powers. The fight gets the attention of everyone in the city, including one Doctor Octopus, whose Octo-Droids record the entire battle… including the point where Peter Parker realizes that it’s not HIM she’s mad at. Unmasking in an alley and slipping away in the crowd, Spider-Man wins the battle.
But it’s the Octo-Droid that records his face for Doc Ock who wins the war.
OCTAVIUS IS BACK!
Picking up right where The Superior Spider-Man #1 left off, this issue has one major development, as Doctor Octopus is once again aware of his time as Spider-Man, which may be the key to the eventual defeat of Supernova, who was once his lab assistant. The rest of the issue has some charming moments, but features TWO different moments where a character starts to explain something before being cut off dramatically. The second feature is a “flashback” story, taking place during Ock’s time as Spider-Man and addressing how the presence of Spider-Boy would have changed that story, which feels important, but is also very confusing. At the end of that tale, Spider-Boy leaves the tutelage of Spider-Man to join the kids of the Future Foundation, freeing up Octavius to spiral into perfidy the way it actually happened. Or would have happened? I don’t know. Mark Bagley’s art on the first story is pretty good stuff, but gives us a grotesque, fat monstrous Dr. Octopus that is truly off-putting. The backup story isn’t quite as well rendered, art-wise, but features Medusa, She-Hulk, Ant-Man, and Ms. Thing, which brings a smile to my face. (Neither art team really makes the orange-and-blue Spider-Boy uniform feel balanced, though. It needs some sort of adornment.)
BOTTOM LINE: INTERESTING, BUT A BIT CONVOLUTED
All in all, Superior Spider-Man #1 is going to be essential reading only for those who already have encyclopedia knowledge of Slott’s Spider-Man lore, but also adds retconned wrinkles to those, making for a book that wants to serve two different impulses, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall. The clear expectation is for Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus to have to work together, reuniting the brains and the brawn of Superior, but I hope that it’s not quite that straightforward.
Dear Spoilerite,At Major Spoilers, we strive to create original content that you find interesting and entertaining. Producing, writing, recording, editing, and researching requires significant resources. We pay writers, podcast hosts, and other staff members who work tirelessly to provide you with insights into the comic book, gaming, and pop culture industries. Help us keep MajorSpoilers.com strong. Become a Patron (and our superhero) today.
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #1
Even if you've been keeping up, there's a lot of altered states going on here, as well as no actual Superior Spider-Man in view. It's fun, but not in any way new-reader-friendly.