Book: The Superior Spider-Man, Issue #4

"Superior Spider-Man 004"

Otto Octavius is a man who cheated death. But at a price. When he exchanged bodies with Peter Parker, he gained the amazing skills of Spider-Man–and all of Peter’s memories. Otto finally undestands Peter’s mission of great responsibility.

But a tiny piece of Peter Parker is still there in the Superior Spider-Man’s brain, watching Otto live our his life and trying to keep the reformed villain in check.

Massacre is a mass murderer who lost all capacity for human empathy after being brain damaged in the same car bombing that killed his wife.

When last they fought, the Amazing Spider-Man saved Massacre’s life from a SWAT team because he had made a vow that while he is around, no one, not even a villain, dies.

Obviously, that stance has been reevaluated since Otto Octavius has taken over Peter Parker’s body.

I’m not an avid comic book reader. For the past four years, I’ve only been reading the Buffy comics, and it’s just now that I’ve picked up a title to follow, which is The Superior Spider-Man. So I’m having some trouble with the pacing of this comic book story. Is it really normal to pick a thread up, and then completely forget about it for the next issue?

From the third issue, we had a character coming to a realization that the Peter Parker she’s facing is not the Peter Parker she knows. This issue, she doesn’t turn up. Not once. And then we get another villain who hasn’t been seen since… Well, I actually have no idea. But it must be quite a long time ago as from the previously panels, Spider-Man is wearing a costume that’s completely different from the threads he wore during the last issues of The Amazing Spider-Man.

Oh, sure, Vulture also turned up out of the blue–as did the new Sinister Six. But the latter served a purpose in showing the readers how different Spider-Man is now. The Vulture was foreshadowed by the fact that Mary Jane now operates a bar in the villain’s former hideout. Massacre comes out of nowhere and takes a chunk out of this issue for himself.

We don’t get any development, just a new problem for Spider-Man: Peter’s past actions are becoming a hindrance to Otto Octavius.

With issues coming out every two weeks, I thought the Superior Spider-Man title would have a greater hold on its pacing and story-telling. I liked the previous two issues (#2 and #3) because they bridged each other. But this new issue suddenly throws everything out of the loop again, and I’m not sure I want to continue with a ride that’s more concerned about twists than quality story telling.

I’m hoping the fifth issue will be better. If not, well, that’ll just be another item to strike off my to-buy list.

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