In this week’s Marvel Rundown, we take a look at the tenth (!) anniversary one-shot for Superior Spider-Man, in a SPOILER-FREE review of Doc Ock’s latest gamble. Not enough Spidey for ya? Head on down to the Rapid Rundown for takes on Amazing Spider-Man #35, Capwolf #1, and more!

What did you think of this week’s batch of fresh Marvel Comics, True Believers? The Beat wants to hear from you! Give us a shout-out, here in the comment section or over on social media @comicsbeat, and let us know what you’re thinking.

Superior Spider-Man Returns #1
Superior Spider-Man Returns #1

Superior Spider-Man Returns #1 

Story: Dan Slott
Script: Christos Gage
Pencillers: Mark Bagley, Ryan Stegman, Humberto Ramos, & Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inkers: John Dell, JP Mayer, & Victor Olazaba
Color Artist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artists: Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, & Edgar Delgado

I hadn’t read many comics before the original Superior Spider-Man began in 2013. Amazing Spider-Man #700 was the first issue I bought in a comic shop, and I read it over and over trying to figure out what was happening. Initially, Superior was confusing, disorienting, and maybe the worst place to jump into Spider-Man outside of the Clone Saga. 

And yet, it drew me in. Something about the series hooked me, and although I couldn’t buy the whole series (I was 11 and broke), I caught up through the library and my cousin’s back issues. After that, plus a little disposable income, I started my first pull list and never looked back.

Superior Spider-Man
This might be Bagley’s first Superior outing…?

All of this is to say that I was maybe a little interested in this one-shot. It might be the nostalgia talking, but even when I’ve revisited the initial run in the years since, it’s felt original and different. Years of buildup from writer Dan Slott and frequent co-writer Christos Gage pay off in satisfying and unique ways, and alongside a killer rotating art team of Ryan Stegman, Guiseppe Camuncoli, and Humberto Ramos, the series was a great revitalization of Spidey’s world.

With the addition of Mark Bagley to the aforementioned original creative team, this one-shot sets to reintroduce the world to Doc Ock’s Superior version of Peter Parker, and it works rather well honestly. Slott and Gage utilize a forgotten memory to bring us back to a moment of the initial run, as Ock looks to remember a secret energy source he locked away years prior. 

After a brief recap of Ock’s life, the story moves to the past, and we learn the story of a woman who once worked for the Superior Spider-Man. In typical Ock fashion, he ruins her life. I don’t want to get into spoilers, but it’s an interesting story that, although typical for a forgotten villain flashback issue, works because this creative team still pairs well together.

Speaking of, the art teams are still cooking here, and it really does feel ripped right out of the original run. It’s not particularly jarring moving through the middle section by Stegman, Ramos, and Camuncoli, since Edgar Delgado’s colors and Joe Caramagna’s lettering keep the book consistent. Each artist is also incredibly dynamic with regards to action and page construction, not to mention the further development of their line art over ten years. Inkers John Dell and Victor Olazaba, return to the series, while JP Mayer joins the team for the first time.

I love how creepy Stegman’s Spidey can be

The most interesting thing to me about coming to this is looking at this with 10 years of knowledge, as opposed to being completely fresh to it. If I put myself back into that headspace, I definitely wouldn’t have gotten everything, but I would’ve still had a good time with the characters and action-packed nature. This is a fun, action packed story, and while it’s somewhat unnecessary in comparison with the full run’s worth of stories, I still think it’s worth taking a look at. 


Rapid Rundown!

  • Amazing Spider-Man #35
    • At the start of this latest Amazing Spider-Man arc I praised Pat Gleason’s art for elevating a familiar riff on Kraven’s Last Hunt but was colder on the script by Zeb Wells which felt like it was playing it safe. With the story about a Spider-Man consumed by the sins of Norman Osborn completed, it’s safe to say that this is among the best stories of Wells’ run on the title. Gleason’s art, along with the colors by the consistently excellent Marcio Menyz and Erick Arciniega, is moody, raw, and visceral. Stalwart letterer Joe Caramagna elevates both script and visuals, making Spider-Man’s voice as frightening as Gleason’s pencils. Having been consumed by the madness of Green Goblin, Spider-Man now has insight into the torment of his new and unlikely friend, Norman Osborn. It not only recolors their entire history together but sets the stage for a genuinely, surprisingly, tragic heartbreak. The Wells run has been up and down, but this is the high water mark of his tenure, and one of the best storylines in Amazing Spider-Man in years. —TR
  • Capwolf and the Howling Commandos #1
    • I didn’t know for sure what the last page of this one would be before I opened it, but I heavily suspected — and I was right. It was the titular Capwolf. How could it not be? Leading up to that page, the creative team — writer Stephanie Phillips, artist Carlos Magno, colorist Espen Grundetjern, and letterer Travis Lanham — deliver a decent-enough WWII-era Captain America comic. But the real reason you’re here is to see Captain America as a werewolf, right? It’s a concept that almost-inexplicably just works. I kind of refuse to intellectualize it past that. Like apes or sharks or helicopters, Captain America as a werewolf is just one of those comics things. Anyway, this book plays that concept mostly serious, too, going for scares and war ambiance over self-aware pulp. Which is fine. And really, this first issue is just fine. It’s a tablesetter with some creepy vibes, which is nice given it’s October. Overall, with Capwolf not arriving until the last page, it’s the rest of this mini that will bring the real fun to this concept. —ZQ

NEXT WEEK: dog idek