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    “The Superior Octopus” #1

    By | October 4th, 2018
    Posted in Reviews | % Comments

    The reformed Doctor Octopus heads to San Francisco to become their Not-So-Friendly Neighborhood hero. As Peter starts to regret setting him free, the infamous Doc Ock attempts to prove his worth as The Superior Octopus! Mild Spoilers Ahead!

    Cover by Trevor Charest
    Written by Christos Gage
    Illustrated by Mike Hawthorne
    Inked by Wade Von Grawbadger
    Colored by Jordie Bellaire
    Lettered by Clayton Cowles

    When his consciousness was blended with Peter Parker’s and he became the Superior Spider-Man, Otto Octavius died saving the woman he loved and was reborn in a new body made up of his and Parker’s genetic makeup during ‘Clone Conspiracy.’ Now, as the Superior Octopus, Otto chooses to fulfill his desire to become the best hero he can be, on his own terms.

    Continuing to use super villain methods in his superhero quest, Otto, still going by his Elliot Tolliver alias has taken up residence in San Francisco as a college professor by day, dark vigilante by night. This Spider-Geddon one-shot kicks off with a nice action sequence. A busload of citizens debating social and economic topics is hijacked by the Night Shift, with its varied villainous team members using their powers to rob everyone. They are quickly dispatched by Otto who declares the city is under his protection. They, of course, assume he is up to his old Doc Ock ways and is trying to take their earnings. Instead, he decides to hire them as paid informants as long as they stop any criminal activity. Confused, but willing to take his money, they agree. The story then leaps forward to wrap up all previous threads from “The Superior Spider-Man” and his Hydra activities in “Secret Empire.”

    Juggling his separate lives as both Otto and Elliot proves to be more difficult for his superior intellect than he previously surmised. He quickly finds that the time he spends in battle against criminals and saving people around the city is the easiest part of his day. The more time he spends in his new home, making a name for himself in both of his professions, the more connections to his past lives come crawling from the shadows. While the action sequences in the issue are top notch, Otto’s everyday human problems and inner dialogue are where it shines. Keeping his appendages firmly in both the light and dark makes Octavius currently one of the most intriguing vigilantes in all of the Marvel books. A great feat for Gage to do something new and truly captivating with a long-running character.

    Readers have seen Otto fall in and lose love before, but his pain has a real bite now. While his methods are at the very least, questionable, his quest to be a hero and inner turmoil makes him nearly likable, or at least mildly relate-able. The subtle expressions showing his pain and regret make for wonderful moments in bright contrast against his grandiose and melodramatic bravado when fighting or slinging insults. Combined with the quick quips trait he picked up from Peter’s mind; his comebacks and declarations flow from speech bubble to speech bubble to make for pretentiously chatty Ock.

    Reading this version of Ock is incredibly enjoyable. He is completely full of himself when it comes to his plans and scientific endeavors, more-so than ever before. Given a new younger, better looking body he takes this new strength almost as something he was owed, not gifted by luck, and yet he never flaunts it. In another book we would see the character using his looks to pick up a woman who previously would not have given a second look in his direction. Luckily we don’t get anything so hammy here. He uses it for his mission, but still focuses on his intelligence as his greatest resource, as he should. And as I stated before, he has real emotions that come through, making him more human and someone that can be better understood. These are traits that I hope carry on through the future Ock stories. Whether or not they are great remains to be seen, but this mixture of elements will help carry anything that comes our way.

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    Mike Hawthorne’s pencils are everything fans have come to expect from Marvel. Clean, perfectly proportioned and downright gorgeous. The design of Ock’s new suit is one of my favorite things about this iteration of the character. It is just damn nice to look at. It’s combination of a Spidey suit and all things Hydra make for something new that works perfectly. It is beautifully sleek, yet menacing. The robotic arms are mixture of old and new which is the best way to go about it. It works as a nod to the character as a whole: A blending of classic and modern. Jordie Bellaire’s colors are bright and exhilarating. It’s the kind of work that that that adds a wonderful movement and dynamic to the illustrations that can be lacking in many comics out there. With her colors working in tandem with Von Grawbadger’s inks, the world comes to life and kicks you square in the eyeballs. Bellaire’s history with Spider-books as well as the full gambit of comic book genres, proves her to be one of the best artists for this book.

    This was a very good book and exactly the kind of story that readers deserve to segue into Spider-Geddon and the future adventures of this character. With some big reveals and tidying up plot threads, this is a must-buy for everyone that has been on this ride for the last few years or who are just jumping on now.

    Final Verdict: 7.5 A really solid continuation of the Superior Octopus’s journey, with a fair amount of pre-requisite reading.

    Christopher Egan

    Chris lives in New Jersey with his wife, two cats and ever-growing comic book and film collection. He can be found on Instagram. if you want to see pictures of all that and more!