Spencer: One of the most enjoyable aspects of a writer having a long run on a title is watching elements from earlier issues resurface in surprising ways later on down the line. I think perhaps my favorite example of this is in Jon Rogers’ pre-reboot Blue Beetle run, where Jaime Reyes managed to bring back weapons, plans, and allies from nearly every one of his earlier adventures to use in his epic endgame against the Reach. It brought a nice sense of closure and finality to the proceedings, not to mention made for a thrilling game of “catch-the-reference.” I got a similar feeling from this week’s Superior Spider-Man, where plot points writer Dan Slott has been seeding for the past 27 issues begin coming back en masse, both to Otto’s relief and to his detriment. Continue reading
Shelby: Self-awareness is a very important strength to have. You need to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, to exist in the world with other people. Sometimes you need to put your head down and push through a situation, and sometimes (more importantly, I think) you need to know when you can’t do something and ask for the help you need. The problem comes in when the help you need is in the form of erased memories of a man who used to be in the body you currently occupy.
Today, Shelby and Ethan are discussing The Superior Spider-Man 18, originally released September 11th, 2013.
Shelby: I think Otto Octavius would be a terrible scientist. I know he’s brilliant, but he’s so arrogant he thinks he’s always right. He’s got no curiosity about anything because he believes he already has the right answer. He doesn’t ask questions or believe he can learn anything from anyone else. It’s a classic villain’s trait, really: the inability to think of the myriad of ways your latest scheme will fail because you are so convinced that you have all the answers. It looks like Otto is finally going to pay the price for his hubris, as his actions today could both kill him and all his friends (or, Peter’s friends, anyway), as well as destroy the future.
Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing The Superior Spider-Man 17, originally released September 4th, 2013.
Spencer: So how many of you noticed the name of the mall in Back to the Future? At the beginning of the movie it’s “Twin Pines Mall”, but then Marty travels back in time, runs over one of the former owner’s beloved pine trees, and when he returns to the present it’s now called “Lone Pine Mall.” It’s a clever joke, and part of why I love it is because it’s never pointed out or explained in the movie; it’s up to the viewer to catch it and put 2 and 2 together. Dan Slott takes a similar route in this week’s Superior Spider-Man, using time travel to tell the story of the Stone family, but allowing us to piece together the clues and figure out the story for ourselves. It brings some fun to an issue that could otherwise be viewed as a lot of set-up; the rest of the fun comes from the hints of things to come.
Spencer: Identities change all the time in comics. Sometimes our Robins grow up into Red Robins or Nightwings; sometimes our Miss Marvels attain the rank of Captain Marvel; sometimes, rarely, Doctor Octopus can even become Spider-Man himself! This week’s issue of Superior Spider-Man again features Phil Urich, the former heroic Green Goblin and the current thief Hobgoblin, as he takes on yet another new identity and begins a new era of his life. What does this mean for Phil, and for that matter, what does it mean for Otto?!
Spencer: A comic book needs more than just a good hero to work; it needs a supporting cast, it needs villains, it needs a world that feels alive and fleshed out. While super-hero comics exist in a shared universe, the best titles manage to carve a little niche out of that universe for themselves to thrive in, and there are few books on the shelf right now that do it better than The Superior Spider-Man. Otto takes a backseat in this month’s issue as Phil Urich—A.K.A. the Hobgoblin—moves into the spotlight, accompanied by a hoard of heroes and villains alike who want to see him taken down. It’s a blast.