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Superior Octopus #1 Review

by Charles Martin on October 03, 2018

"The Superior Octopus"
Writer: Christos Gage
Penciller: Mike Hawthorne
Inker: Wade von Grawbadger
Colourist: Jordie Bellaire

"Check-In"
Writer: Jed MacKay
Penciller: Mark Bagley
Inker: Craig Yeung
Colourists: Dono Sánchez-Almara & Protobunker

Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics

San Francisco! It's home to runaway gentrification and smug bearded techies! And the sad-sack d-list villain team known as the Night Shift! 

And also the Superior Octopus!

Otto Octavius, now going by the name "Elliot Tolliver" (ugh!) as well as the Superior Octopus, has come to the City by the Bay seeking redemption. He's still got it in mind to be a hero, and his first step is foiling the Night Shift and offering them a "join or die" ultimatum to become his semi-heroic lackeys.

Otto's also noodled his way into Horizon University and he's rubbing shoulders with his former flame Anna Maria again. That connection is fleshed out wonderfully; to me, Anna Maria is absolutely the best part of this book.

It's a pity her future is in doubt.

My problem with the Superior Octopus #1 is that I want it to be Superior Octopus #1, not a Spider-Geddon lead-in. It does good work setting up a new status quo for Otto and it's full of promising leads for continuing his story. 

This book does struggle against the fact that its premise is blatantly a piece of Superior Spider-Man fan-fiction that Otto wants to write into the 616. In this issue, the struggle is not entirely successful. Some of the ground it covers is already a little stale. It is compelling, though, and I'd like to see it grow and evolve over more pages.

Instead, the final act concentrates on building a clear signpost pointing into the upcoming spider-convention. Ock plays an integral role in bringing on the crisis. The best event-related question this comic leaves behind is, "Did Otto just cause Spider-Geddon?" 

That sounds pretty cool, yeah? Well, pump your breaks, because there's bad news to go with the good. It comes down to one word:

Clones.

Argh! The eternal bane of Spider-People in every dimension!  

This comic gets a heaping helping of melodramatic dialogue, which is eminently appropriate given its star. I also like the visuals. They're aimed toward a bombastic gloss on Stuart Immonen's recent Amazing Spider-Man work. Having Mr. Immonen's favourite inker on the roster certainly sweetens the deal.

The B story shows us what's been happening at Web Warriors' HQ. They smoothly follow the signpost left in the main story and make its clone-y implications explicit. Mark Bagley lays down speedy, workable visuals for this section. They get the story across, but it seems very certain that Mr. Bagley's top priority is drawing as many AU Spider-People as possible.

The details provided for the bigger Spider-Geddon story aren't encouraging, though. Clones, clones, clones - it's clones all the way down. And an overpowering, offputting sense of Spider-Verse deja-vu.

But there's one last silver lining: This issue actually might be the first installment in an ongoing Otto Octavius story! Check your solicits; Christos Gage and Mike Hawthorne will be doing another Otto issue (under the Superior Spider-Man title, no less) after Spider-Geddon is over.

Superior Octopus #1 is a comic that serves two masters. It's a pump-up issue that promotes both the imminent Spider-Geddon event and the idea of an ongoing Otto Octavius story. The former is going to happen no matter what. The latter idea needs some reader support. This issue is a fine example of what that Otto comic would be like and a strong argument in favour of launching it. Let Marvel know: Otto deserves another star turn!
 

Our Score:

7/10

A Look Inside

Comments

Charles Martin's picture
If you're gonna equip Otto with Octopus-themed ink blasters, make a thing out of it! You're entitled to a victory lap; those things are awesome!