Superior Spider-Man Vol 4: Necessary Evil (Marvel)


Rating:  4/5 – Otto’s web of lies starts to catch up with him.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Jeff Bouchard.

With the recent teaser image of a new Amazing Spider-Man title hitting the shelves in April 2014 some are speculating that this marks the end of the Superior Spider-Man while others point out that there have been indications the title is going away.  Regardless, one thing is certain, Dan Slott has masterfully crafted the delicate transition from Amazing Spider-Man over to the Superior title after much hoopla following Amazing Spider-Man #700.  He will certainly get the benefit of the doubt from me as Peter Parker makes his way back to the Marvel 616 universe under his watchful eye.

Superior Spider-Man volume 4: Necessary Evil collects issues 17-21 of the title and is divided between an arc of stories including the Spider-Man of 2099 and a couple of standalone issues drawn by Guiseppe Camuncoli.  Dan Slott is the writer on the five issues while (somewhat) regular series artist Ryan Stegman handles the penciling on issues 17-19.  Inking duties are split between Ryan Livesay and John Dell while coloring is split between Edgar Delgado and Antonio Fabela.  VC’s Chris Eliopoulos takes care of the lettering on all the issues.

The issues in volume 4 are those of change for Superior Spider-Man as issue 17 finds the Spider-Man of 2099 going back in time to address an issue with the timestream.  I do like the minor crossover themes from other Marvel titles as the events of the Avengers books, while not directly impacting Spider-Man, are having a ripple effect seen in the book and giving the creative team a chance to tell stories such as this based on the current events of the larger Marvel Universe.  These other books aren’t required reading for Superior Spider-Man but for those that are reading more, you can see the loose tie-in between titles.

The underlying theme that becomes more evident in this volume is the proverbial noose tightening around Otto’s neck as more and more of Peter’s friends and associates catch on that there is something deeper going on with Spider-Man.  There is the Wraith and Carlie, Spider-Man 2099, Dr. Lamaze and even the Black Cat, it is interesting to see all the various relationships Peter has had over the years and how they are being played out now by Otto Octavius.

The art on the book continues to shine and hold its own against the solid storytelling that Slott is providing.  Stegman’s angular and aggressive lines seemed very apropos for the vibe the book was projecting with Doc Ock under the mask, it was a perfect visualization of Spider-Man’s new attitude.  One of the benefits from the thrice monthly shipping schedule that ASM once had is the deep stable of artists available to draw Spidey.  Guiseppe Camuncoli is one such artist and the book does not skip a beat as he picks up the penciling on issues 20 and 21.

The direction that Slott has taken Superior Spider-Man is more and more intriguing with each issue.  For all the good that Otto has tried to do under the guise of Peter Parker and Spider-Man, in his attempt to be truly Superior, the walls still seem to be caving in around him.  From his PhD review to setting up Spider-Island and all his Spider-bots, there are cracks appearing in the dam and watching Otto deal with each of these as he pushes forward as Spider-Man has been one of the better qualities of the title.  At this point in the series I hope any fans of Amazing Spider-Man that swore off after issue #700 have picked up an issue and given it a chance.  It is clear that the creative team has a plan and they are telling a fun story with some great artwork. Fans of Peter Parker will be happy to know, according to that teaser image out there, they might not have to wait much longer before Peter’s back swinging along the skyscrapers of New York City.  In the meantime I am enjoying the ride Slott is taking us on and I can’t wait to see what happens when those walls Otto has built eventually come tumbling down.

Reviewed by: Jeff Bouchard
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