By Christos Gage, Mike Hawthorne, Wade von Grawbadger, Jordie Bellaire, VC’s Clayton Cowles, and Morry Hollowell
Superior Spider-man is a great book that does not always seem to get a lot of attention. It can be easy for this book to be overlooked right now since it has not been crossing over with Absolute Carnage and the other Spidy books, but the straightforward narrative is appreciated. Superior Spider-man #11 continues along with Otto’s fight against a Norman Osborn, from another world with Spider-man’s powers, and Otto’s continuing issues with his own self-consciousness with being a hero.
Christos Gage gives us an anti-hero book that feels different from the rest. Gage really makes us understand Otto’s thought process and if you follow the series for any amount of time, you will start to feel like you really know Otto Octavius as a person. The reader will constantly be feeling their heart strings pulled when Otto tries to show the people, he cares about how he is truly becoming a hero and getting away from his past misdeeds. Gage has really set up the interactions in this issue over the course of this series and it really pays off. When Anna Maria is pleading with Otto to not go through with his plan to defeat Norman, you will be reminded of how rocky their relationship was at the beginning of the series and appreciate how their friendship has developed. Another interesting aspect about this issue is in the ending. Without going into spoilers, Gage gives us an ending that could give us a number of different outcomes in not only how Otto can defeat Norman but what Otto, as a man and a hero, will be like when this confrontation is over.
Mike Hawthorn and von Grawbadger work well as a team on this book, which gives it a sort of darker feel to it without going overboard. The colors by Bellaire really accents this look and feel to the book. This issue especially has a color palette of muted reds, purples, pinks, and even some blues that set the tone for this book well. Something to notice in this issue is the deliberate use of smoke and clouds as opposed to energy effects and fire. One would normally expect to see lots of fire from a destroyed building or from the appearance of a hellish but Hawthorne and von Grawadger would rather use smoke and clouds to frame an image in a cool way. This framing is especially effective when Otto comes face to face with the help he has summoned to defeat Osborn. That being said, it would be nice to see a little more contrast in some of the pages. One of the few energy effects we see this issue comes from Norman’s glider that has a brighter pink color to it but still comes off as muted from a dark filter.
Superior Spider-man is a consistent book that rewards its long-time readers with characters that develop well and a story to keep them guessing. Gage knows how to set up a story that will have you wanting more and more each month. The colors and pencil serve to give the story its darker and more dramatic feel. Superior Spider-man surely proves you can have a great Spidy book without Peter Parker.