Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Special #1 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

The Otto-Spidey of this issue doesn't really sound much like the usual Otto-Spidey.  He's...nicer.  But, I'm down with it since this friendlier (though still prickly) portrayal means that we get the awesome display of "Prof." Spidey teaching the original X-Men how to use their powers.  Hilarity, as one can imagine, ensues.

Costa keeps this issue rooted in science, as the Beast and the Hulk race to find a way to contain Dr. Jude.  We learn that his career studying gamma radiation was sidetracked when the scientific community shunned the field after several of its experts -- notably, the Abomination, Dr. Octopous, and the Hulk -- turned themselves into monsters.  It's Jude's response to that setback where Costa asks us to stretch our ability to suspend disbelief probably a bit beyond reason:  Jude constructed the LMDs of the Abomination and Dr. Octopus in order to cause anyone using a time machine to believe that they had somehow broken the space/time continuum.  He figured that he'd be invited to study the hypothetical machine, given that he's a chronal scientist, and then use his access to travel in time to prevent Bruce Banner from becoming the Hulk.  Oh, he also turned himself into a gamma-powered monster, presumably in case he had to force his way to access said machine.  It's all...a stretch.  When you think about how much energy Jude put into creating the LMDs, studying chronal sciences, and turning himself into a gamma-powered entity, you have to wonder why he didn't just, I don't know, change to study X-rays or something.

That said, I still enjoyed this issue, mostly for Otto-Spidey's interaction with the original X-Men.  In fact, his decision not to screw with the time machine so that he could return to the past and become a good guy was touching, particularly because it shows an Otto craving that sort of affirmation, as we saw in "Superior Spider-Man Team-Up" #4.  He envisions himself a member of the Avengers, not as the Superior Spider-Man, but as Dr. Octopus.  It's a nice coda to the work that Rodi did when it came to Otto's motivations in issue #4.  (Though, in another digression, I'll note that Scott starting off a conversation with Bruce Banner by asking why he hasn't killed himself yet is a bit...abrupt.)

All in all, this issue is probably two stars for the overly convenient action-forcing event and the odd conversation between Bruce and Scott.  But, it would be underselling how much I enjoyed the issue and this arc, so it's getting a three.

*** (three of five stars)

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