Saturday, March 23, 2013

Superior Spider-Man #006 – A Review

You can’t say this book doesn’t have a direction.  It’s a bit of a roller coaster ride that may turn your stomach, but you’ll be thrilled at the same time.


Superior Spider-Man #006
Writer:  Dan Slott
Penciler:  Humberto Ramos
Inker:  Victor Olazaba
Color Art: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Chris Eliopoulos
Publisher: Marvel
Price: $3.99 (including “FREE” digital copy which I sold on eBay for $3.00)

Mayor Jameson is pontificating in a press conference at City Hall about his newest proposal to mandate at least a 10-year sentence for any crime that was committed with a super-power.  He also wants to shut down the Raft, the prison especially created for super-villains or at least have it moved somewhere well clear of his jurisdiction, especially since people escape from it all the time.  While Phil (New Hobgoblin) Urich is video-taping the speech, we get an update that he’s barely making ends meet after payoffs to the Tinkerer and the old Hobgoblin.  Suddenly, his video camera cuts out along with all the other recording devices in the crowd when Speedball and Jester show up.  They’ve come to play a prank on Jameson, which everyone but his paid bodyguards enjoy.  However, their real sinister (and brilliant) purpose is identity theft on a massive scale when people go to their site to view the viral video.

Jameson calls in his “Pal” Spidey to personally ask him to take care of these two jokesters.  He declines until he starts to relate to his own experiences of being humiliated time and time again by Parker.  What follows is a perfect one-page cameo by the Avengers, which sets up the next issue.    The team at the table consists of Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Spider-Woman, and Wolverine.  Cap confirms that he did indeed kill Massacre and suggests that it might be time to boot him off the team.  Thor and Widow are quick to agree, but Wolverine makes a compelling argument:

“You tell me, who here doesn’t have blood on their hands?  I look around this table and y’know what I see?  A bunch a’ spies, soldiers, and killers.  We’ve all done our fair share of “Avenging.”  But now we’re gonna hold Spider-Man to a different standard?”

It reminds me of when a Republican elected official (or wannabe) is scandalized because of infidelity and the press goes ballistic to destroy this individual and his own party and supporters are quick to throw him under the bus.  But when a Democratic elected official (or wannabe) is caught in a similar situation, it’s no big deal.  The reason being is that the Republicans are supposed to hold to some moral standard, but the Democrats don’t promote them as much, which makes the Republicans hypocrites in addition to being adulterers.  Maybe it’s not the indiscretion that bothers the public as much as the lying.  So for Spider-Man, who once vowed that “No One Dies On My Watch” ironically after the first Massacre incident, ends up executing the guy.  Spidey’s supposed to be above such things, right?  For the politicians of both parties, just keep your pants on and remember the Proverb to “rejoice in the wife of your youth…and always be enraptured by her love” (Prov 5:17-18).

Before I forget, I wanted to comment on how great Ramos’ pencils look with Olazaba’s inks.  Is this the same team behind ASM #700?  Everything looks a lot tighter and crisp.  The colors are just right too with a very pleasant palette.  From the cover to the last page splash, there are numerous ones that would be worth having as original art: case in point, the scenes with Anna Maria Marconi.

Ms. Marconi as Potto ® likes to respectfully call her is the most interesting non-super supporting character that I’ve seen in quite a while.  Her being a “small” person certainly influences her personality, but only because of the situations she has to react to, like the clown car jokes.  Otherwise, she seems quite content with who she is.  Have we ever seen someone of her stature that wasn’t part of a circus?  Even Alpha Flight and now X-Force’s Puck was really a tall guy.  I like her relationship with Potto® as he genuinely has affection for her.  Sadly, her efforts this issue to get him to smooth things over with his professor are horrendously trashed thanks to Potto®’s thin skin and pride.

Let me just say that I was really disappointed with Potto® not having the self-control to finish the luncheon.  He has spider-bots everywhere and he could have certainly waited to apprehend Screwball and Jester.  But he couldn’t stand reining his ego in anymore and he just had to deal with the two jerks who insulted Anna.  Her reaction to his “revenge” is full of compassion and I hate that she’s going to really get her heart broken by him.  I know Potto® is not supposed to succeed at being Superior, but part of me wants him to find some redemption.  Wouldn’t that be a surprising twist?

Unfortunately, Spider-Man is heading into a downward spiral and it’s only a matter of time before his tenuous grasp on Parker’s life completely unravels.  He catches up to Screwball and Jester and they start broadcasting the encounter.  He makes a very uncool move against Screwball, which sets him up for painful shot in the groin.  While he tries to recover, they pummel him with paint-balloons, which cover up his goggles!  Uh-oh, he can’t take that kind of embarrassment again.  He rips them off exposing his glaring eyes.  Meanwhile, they’re laughing (and the internet is too) hysterically at him. 

Next, he goes nuts and brutally attacks Jester.  Slott intensifies the battle with the cut-a-ways of Anna finding the crumbled car, Jonah’s enthusiastic approval, Mary Jane’s dismay, and the Avenger’s resolve to put a stop to him.  Ghost-Spidey has been relatively silent throughout the issue with only brief appearances.  He tends to get stuck in Potto®’s memories and can’t always be front and center to view the present-day action.  He materializes (so-to-speak) right at the end to witness the carnage in an absolutely spectacular splash page.  The POV, Screwball’s comment, Peter’s reaction, and Potto®’s stance are all wonderful.  If the image wasn't so blood-splattering grim, it would be a thing of beauty.

Next the Avengers versus Spider-Man.  It’s going to be intense!

GRADE A:  I LOVE this series, even if I don’t like what happens!

Next week I’ll be on Spring Break, but I have a special Easter themed message loaded in the queue for Saturday, if you’re interested.


  1. Sweet - great review as always Matthew. I haven't read the issue yet, but now I want to read it next.

  2. "The reason being is that the Republicans are supposed to hold to some moral standard, but the Democrats don’t promote them as much, which makes the Republicans hypocrites in addition to being adulterers."

    There's a presumption that there's one, set moral standard in the world, that Republicans and Democrats alike know what it is, and agree on it, but that the Democrats deviate from it while Republicans at least profess to adhere to it. That's inaccurate because there is no objective moral standard in the world. Whether from an atheist perspective like mine or a believer in some faith, it has to be acknowledged that different cultures have developed different moral standards. Leaving aside the sexual morals that vary, there's more simple things like graft. Here and in Western Europe, as well as Japan and some other Asian countries, graft is generally viewed in disfavor, but in more than a few other cultures around the world it's a standard practice, almost like a tip. Even if codified as illegal it's rarely enforced. Religion has nothing to do with it, either. Russia is a Christian country, but one of the most heavily beset by graft. Afghanistan is Muslim and equally corrupt. Numerous pagan countries in Africa have similar situations.

    So, the point is that Democrats haven't deviated from some known, objective moral standard. Democrats simply adhere to a different moral standard. Sexual behavior between consenting adults is not considered a moral failing, regardless of whether it's within the bounds of a marriage, civil or religious. On the other hand, many Democrats, though not all, consider the unrestrained use of non-renewable resources, or the failure to renew otherwise renewable resources, to be a moral failing. Some consider an unrestrained private sector to be a moral failing, too. Republicans, on the whole, don't consider either of these to be moral issues, let alone failings.

    It is not a double standard, then, for Republicans to be held accountable to a standard they promote while Democrats aren't held to same standard because they haven't promoted it. And that can be said without equating Democrats to a homicidal maniac like Wolverine.

  3. I certainly wasn’t equating Wolverine with the Democrats. He was the voice of reason! Plus, isn’t he still Canadian?

    Adultery isn’t just an act between two “consenting” adults, because there is always at least a third (or fourth) person involved who was NOT consenting.

    Usually Dems can get by with an apology or a slap on the wrist (maybe a short prison sentence for District mayors) before returning to office. Republicans usually get blasted by comparison and are never seen from again. But you’re right it’s not really hypercritical if you don’t really have the same standards. But it is disingenuous to rake someone over the coals for something you don’t even believe in. They can call them on their hypocrisy, but then it would be more honest to just say “live and let live”.

    While I can acknowledge that other cultures “developed” different morals, I still believe that there are universal morals as outlined in the Bible that weren’t “developed” by man.

    Can any nation really be said to be Christian? We don’t have a theocracy like the ancient Israelites did. Any influence that a believer may have on society comes about on an individual basis. Like-minded (or even somewhat like-minded) individuals can still work together for common objectives, but it’s a personal Lordship, not a national one.

    The great thing about the United States is that we do have freedoms where people can disagree and still live together peacefully. True tolerance is living with the disagreements, not forcing someone to accept that there is only one acceptable way of thinking. Although, the Biblical worldview is definitely losing its standing in society, it will never go away.

    There’s nothing wrong with being a good steward of your money or the environment -- Adam was given the task of caretaker of creation in the Garden of Eden.
    It would also be presumptuous to lump all Democrats together or all Republicans together. If the Dems were all single-minded then the Senate would’ve passed the gun-control laws. I really hope Ben Carson runs as a third-party candidate, because I’m sick of both parties!!!

    The point of my comment was that Cap, Thor, and Widow were being hypocritical and Wolverine called them on it. (Maybe it’s in the Avenger’s charter that killing is only okay if you’re a god or a SHIELD agent.) There must me some superhero code of conduct, because they’re ALL (Wolverine included) going after Spidey next issue. I certainly think he went over the line, but maybe that’s just my own crazy idea (and not a universal one) that getting hit in the crotch and splattered with paint doesn’t give one the right to beat someone to a bloody pulp. That doesn’t go by either an “eye for an eye” or “turn the other cheek”.

    It’ll be interesting if any of these moral dilemmas either relative or universal come up in their forthcoming battle conversations.

  4. I'd certainly say that by the Peter Parker moral code, Potto has gone over the line. The question is whether violation of Parker's line is the same as violating the Avengers' line. Considering the group who are going after him, it seems not.

    As far as going after Republicans who violate their professed moral code, the Democrats certainly do so for political advantage. Republicans do the same to Democrats, as when there was much talk about Al Gore driving an SUV and building an energy hog of a home about a decade back. As long as we have elections this is going to happen, regardless of whether it's a two party system or a multi-party system. Unless you seriously limit the First Amendment's very broad free speech protections, there's no way to avoid it. Voters claim to dislike it but constantly show that it works when used. And it's worked like this since the Founding Fathers, so I don't think it's going to change anytime soon.

    I'm going to get in front of this one, too, and say that Ben Carson as a political candidate is a bad idea. He's brilliant as a technician performing brain surgery. That doesn't mean he's brilliant as a person who has good ideas for how the country should govern itself. So far it looks like he's cowtowing to a far right agenda that's not in the least creative, as he's just a new packaging for ideas that are already being rejected by the voters. I don't know where he'd run, either. He lives in MD. Evidently we're more liberal than France, if gay marriage is a bellwether. Not that we don't have our far right extremists, like Andy Harris and Pat McDonough, but they seem to have sewn up those blocks and not left any room for a new representative.

  5. "Adultery isn’t just an act between two “consenting” adults, because there is always at least a third (or fourth) person involved who was NOT consenting."

    I forgot to mention this part. Adultery is defined as someone who is married having sex with someone other than person to whom she is married. That doesn't mean the spouse who's not having the sex is not consenting. It usually does, but not always. Some spouses are ok with that.

  6. You mean like Hillary?

    I gather that Ben Carson is promoting his own views based on his convictions. I think a lot of people can reject the messenger and not the message. So where past ideas didn't get traction before, they might with a new face. By virtue of not being a politician -- that gives him a huge head start. If he even runs...

  7. Ha! Now you've got me thinking of that great old SNL bit when Phil Hartman played Bill Clinton in a mock episode of Cops, with Hillary hiding in the closet after having beaten up Bill.

    Not being a politician isn't necessarily a head start. Look at Fred Thompson's aborted presidential campaign in 2008. Turned out being more actor than politician meant he wasn't willing to do the hard work needed to run for that office. Running for office is a lot more than being famous and signing up. Ashley Judd's likely in for the same awakening.