Thursday, September 5, 2013

Superior Spider-Man #13 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

Slott makes it pretty clear here that Otto is starting to go too far:  blackmailing JJJ, Jr. with the recording of him ordering the death of Smythe, killing Smythe, repeating the same lines about a failed legacy to Smythe that Peter said to him before Otto stole his identity.  As we’ve seen throughout this series, Otto’s arrogance continues to blind him to reality and, combined with his hubris, it seems pretty clear that his downfall will one day come (despite Wacker's insistence to the contrary).  This issue seems to give us two possible ways for it to happen.

First, revealing his identity to Smythe sets up the most likely scenario, to my mind.  It shows not only how many risks that Otto's willing to take given his belief that he’ll eventually outsmart any rival, but also implies that he'll no longer able to keep his identity secret at some point, because he wants (needs) the whole word to understand how brilliant he really is.  Otto takes that risk here because Smythe is dying, but, the more confident that he becomes, the most likely it seems that he'll reveal it to someone who can use it against him.  This outcome seems the most likely, since it would also wipe away the reputational damage that Otto will have done to the Spider-Man brand by the time the revelation comes.

If it’s not the intentional revelation of his identity that undoes Otto, though, you have to wonder if it’s going to be his bloodlust.  Camuncoli delivers one of the best images of this series to date, of Spidey and Smythe attacking one another, with Smythe screaming, “To the death!”  I can’t think of another image that so encapsulates the new, lethal Spider-Man and, as such, it makes you wonder how long people are going to go without realizing that the change isn’t just “bravado,” as Smythe implies here.  Right now, he’s only killed Massacre and Spider-Slayer.  In the first case, the public understood that Spidey had few options and, in the second case, the murder happened off-camera.  However, at some point, Otto is likely to kill someone in public where it’s clear that he could’ve just captured him.  At this point, this turn to the lethal has to start costing him support.  Even though Otto here tells JJJ, Jr. that he’s perfectly willing to be a public menace again (something JJJ, Jr. threatens will happen to him if he releases the recording of their agreement for him to take out Smythe), I’m not sure that he fully realizes the full impact of that.  Being tagged as a public menace because a newspaper editor has an irrational vendetta against you is one thing; killing a less powerful enemy in cold blood is something else entirely.

In terms of the story itself, I wonder if Slott isn’t shaking up status quo a little too often.  I mean, Otto has an island now?  I get where Slott is going with it, since Otto himself seems to view it as a symbol of his independence.  Something about this fight with Smythe has convinced Otto that he’s free from both his ties not only to Peter but also to the old Otto.  I get the Peter part, but I’m not quite sure that I buy the old Otto part.  Nothing seemed to justify this conclusion, other than Otto possibly viewing himself as “superior” for defeating Smythe like Peter defeated him.  But, Slott doesn’t make that connection too clearly, so Otto’s suddenly declaration of independence fell flat to me.  I get that it’s supposed to be an example of just how far gone his ego is – commandeering an island, procuring some minions – but I’m not sure that even Otto would draw the conclusions from this fight that Slott has him draw.  Again, Wacker continues to insist in the letters page that Otto is here to stay, but you have to wonder how long Otto can keep up this game when he seems to be rushing headlong into disaster.

No comments:

Post a Comment