Continuing EVIL week buddy reads with the Shallow Readers, here we’ve got Superior Spider-Man (Evil Otto in Good Peter’s body) alongside the
Sinister Superior Six (Vulture, Electro, Sandman, Mysterio, Chameleon (and usually Doc Ock!).
Here’s an interesting twist on things: Otto has the other members of the Six under control via his Spider-bots, so he has control of all their actions, and is using them for
various evil shenanigans good!
Of course, since this is Spider-Man, everything goes tits up…Otto is finding out the hard way, he’s got his AND Peter’s bad luck multiplied! The Wrecking Crew shows up to steal some Quantum Physics thing, and he gets help from some Sun Girl character.
Also, the Six talk about how something is off, because Spider-Man was never this mean and also not this long without a joke…talking about how it’s juxtaposed between their evil torture and his, and his taking control of them and imprisoning them to do his bidding is far worse than anything they ever did to him…and they’re kinda right.
Spidey Otto learns from Sun Girl, the minor nobody who wanted to be just like Spidey, what it really means to be a hero, and Otto chastises himself for being too cocky and losing sight of the real reason…there’s also some sad stuff about Sandman, and how he used to think Spider-Man wasn’t all bad, but now, it’s different, and Otto realizes that he’s done far worse than keep them prisoner, he’s united them in the bond of hatred they feel for Spider-Man. Irony of ironies, Otto as Doc Ock could NEVER get them all that together.
The next story Anne will love! It’s all about Otto Spidey being all woebegone after his failures with the Six, and deciding to turn himself into the Avengers and admit everything…but he runs into NAMOR!
Namor is being pursued by Wakandan assassins, and Spidey helps him out even though the Sub-Mariner wants nothing to do with him. Then Spidey tells his tale and Namor laughs in his face and tells him thanks, that’s the best laugh he’s had in years. Then Namor sees Spidey disarm the robot assassins (because they’re not actually Wakandan) and he says, forget this shit Insect Man, you’re superior, you’re better than the sheep you protect, never forget that. Namor is about to tell him he’s earned his respect when Otto straight up BITCH-SLAPS Namor.
Then he tells him that his bullshit better not endanger the people of his city anymore…and this convinces Otto not to be so emo, that in fact, he’s the greatest super hero EVER! So score one for Namor’s attitude making Otto Spidey stronger…and he gets bitchslapped. Awesome.
Next story is a switch from Chris Yost to Kevin Shinick, and while I enjoyed both, I think Shinick did a good job inserting a bit more humour into the rest of the volume.
This one features our favourite NYC Street Trifecta: Spidey, Daredevil, and Big Pun!
Spidey is internal monologuing about how the city sits on the brink of tension, like before WWI, the American Revolution, and:
“Or the bullet that killed someone named “TWO PACKS” that apparently kicked off some Bi-Coastal WRAPPING War…”
BWAHAHAHA! I laughed so hard at that one I woke my wife up. Two Packs…hahaha. OTTO I love you so hard.
He’s interrupted by Frank and Matt, Frank shoots him to get his attention, and Frank asks when the webbing became bulletproof…then Otto asks how he knew that, only for it to click that he didn’t know and he just shot at him! LOLZ! Oh you guys!
Anyhow, Daredevil says relax, the Devil made him do it…HAHA! (See? a Pun? Weak but funny. Even little ones like this would help DC) it was rubber bullets…at least Frank said they would be…and we need to talk.
Otto freaks out, to which Matt replies “We’re going on five seconds and you’ve already said “Egads” and “Confound it”. You’re NOT yourself…and I’m a tad concerned…”
When Spidey checks to see if Punisher followed DD’s instructions to use rubber bullets, his reply?
“Let’s just say I hear as well as he sees”
This is comedy gold. I mean a Punisher who cracks jokes? OK sure. This I love, and Spider-Man is the ruthless angry one…bingo. LOVE IT.
Down to business, someone stole some of Frank’s weaponry, and he and DD want Spidey’s help, plus they’re not sure if maybe he didn’t take it…so we go back to
his secret lair Spider Island. There we discover that someone has stolen all of Otto-Man’s stuff, and that his whole team of minions has been infiltrated…a large battle ensues, and we see the trifecta working together, but Otto refuses to trust the other 2…Daredevil is all “bitch please, Punisher is blind from a flash bang, I’m blind, and we are running around, and Spider-Man doesn’t make ONE ‘blind leading the blind’ joke? who is the sketchy one here?’ (I paraphrase)
Then we have a revelation as to who could have engineered such a job, and gotten into everyone’s heads, once the 3 are on the trust game again (Punisher even makes a trust exercise joke, about falling backwards onto his knife. – I LOVE the Punisher being a smartass….here’s a free idea for Marvel…Peter Parker’s mind in Frank Castle’s body!) Otto Spidey gets SUPER MAD when he discovers that everything is Green Goblin!
The last 2 issues are a very cool retro-drawn look back at how Gobby and Doc Ock started to work together, and how Gobby fucked Otto over super hardcore. Otto’s realization that Goblin did the same thing to him a second time while he’s been Spider-Man is very cleverly illustrated over a 2 page spread, where we see the parallel situations…except this time, Otto thinks with his heart instead of his brain, and that’s what allows Peter’s soul to re-emerge in Spider-Man, and defeat Osborn where Otto never could.
Otto even refers to Peter as the better man, and says he saved both Otto and Anna Maria (Otto’s love while living as Peter). The last page belongs to Pete, telling us in a recap what happened, and how he’s learned about Otto by reliving all his memories and entire life…he won’t condone his actions, but he can empathize with him and relate far better. He also says that Otto deserves the credit for the goblin serum that removes it from those who were infected, so his brain actually was scientifically superior to any other. Then Pete’s final observation is the irony behind Otto’s victory over Norman is that he didn’t think with his mind for once…
I gave this book 4 stars but I think I enjoyed it more than that. I will say so because I just finished Superior Spider-Man’s whole run, and Otto went out in such a way…This feels like returning to a long lost friend…which means that Otto’s Superior Spider-Man was a success, because reading him again made me smile. I have to think that the Superior Spider-Man may be one of the best story arcs of the last decade plus. It took away someone we took for granted (Peter Parker) and it turned our perceptions of his longest running enemy (Otto) and flipped them. Otto as Spider-Man was a great idea, and executed so very well too, which is half the battle with good ideas, letting them come to fruition properly.
I will be seeking out the first volume of this Team-Up series (I did read another one, but it was actually Avenging Spider-Man issues with this title on them instead…).
Strongly recommended for anyone who liked Superior S-M. Very enjoyable, and I do hope Otto rises again somewhere, and is forever changed by his experiences.