Back in 2012 I started reading the series Amazing Spider-Man, which is the first series that I actually picked up, then I started reading through the changing point in the series, Superior Spider-Man where there was a complete tonal shift in the series since Otto Octavius had exchanged bodies with Peter Parker since that Octavius was dying. But for this I am not going to be starting at the beginning but a few issues in covering one of the stories that started to have some points that started pointing in the way that lead up to the end of the series with No Escape.
The first issue has something that is rather good for people who either picked up on the series late, like me, and the usual recap page that Spider-Man titles have had for a while. The recap covers that Otto is now Spider-Man, he managed to discover that there was a fragment of Peter Parker in his mind that he apparently got rid of and something that happened before Otto was Spider-Man. During a previous storyline in the Amazing Spider-Man titles Alistair Smythe, The Spider-Slayer, killed J. Jonah Jameson’s wife during a storyline, which I have forgotten the name of, when she saved him from being killed. Since then Smythe has been a prisoner on the Raft waiting for the day of his execution.
The first part begins with Peter Parker sitting in a class listening to his teacher talk about the Negative Zone. But also with this he is also narrating about having dreams like this and a flashback panel where a young Otto and his teacher in what appears to be the same seats with Lamaze saying that he doesn’t know what the teacher is saying and has Otto to help him. Otto continues to narrate by complaining about he is only here because Peter never bothered to get his doctorate. Anna Maria, a new character introduced in the Superior Spider-Man series asks why Peter even bothers about taking the classes since that he pretty much gets the highest score in all of the tests and replies that he is pretty much there to annoy Dr Lamaze. Peter then gets a call on his secure line and walks out of the class where Glory Grant, Jonah’s assistant saying the Jonah has an important call for him. Jonah informs Spider-Man that Smythe is going to be executed tomorrow and that it is scheduled for noon at the Raft. Jonah wants Spider-Man there tomorrow since that he has a feeling that Smythe may have an escape plan in place. Spider-Man replies that by then end of tomorrow it will be all over but Jonah says ‘not for me’ after he hangs up and turns down the picture of his wife.
The next day Jonah arrives on the Raft and he is greeted by the head of security there called Shipley who wonders if he has had a chance to review his resume but Jonah shredded it since that during Shipley’s time there he hasn’t had a good record since there have been a number of escapes from the prison. Jonah then says that he is surprised that the Raft is still here since having a super-villain prison near a major city is a rather bad idea, he then asks Shipley to do a walk through on what is going to happen before the execution. But what they didn’t notice coming from the boat that is transferring prisoners to other facilities, small robots disembark. Inside the prison Shipley informs about what prisoners are left inside which are the three characters that were more of victims of Spider-Man. You have Boomerang who nearly died at the hands of Spider-Man, Scorpion had his jaw knocked clean off and Vulture who was now made blind with his fight with Spider-Man. Jonah asks why the Lizard is still here since that he killed a child but Shipley says that he has been a model prisoner and is quieter than others prisoners and will be moved out tomorrow. Then we finally see Smythe in his prison with them saying that he will be leaving in a body bag.
Back at Horizon Labs Peter is transferring some of the Spider-Man tech somewhere in truck where Max Modell asks him what he is doing and that he also needs to come up with some new tech since that he hasn’t in a while and it is coming up to the end of the quarter. Peter replies that he’ll make a new invention and it’ll make him weep. But Max gets annoyed with Peter since that Peter has been coming off more disrespectful, mainly with the fact with Otto taking over his body. Peter starts to change into his Spider-Man costume and narrates about his new life and how that in some aspects has limitations but then he goes on to say how he has made himself better since taking him over since he had created thousands of Spider-Bots to patrol the city where Peter was a one-man operation.
Spider-Man arrives on the Raft where the same boxes that Peter was dealing with are now there and he met by Shipley who is surprised by the Spider-Bots arriving at the prison. Shipley says that they should coordinate but he cuts him off saying that he is a failure of a man and head of security. Inside the Raft Smythe notices that Spider-Man in the Raft where he makes the quip of the Spider-Man supervising the slaying of the Spider-Slayer. Spider-Man replies with that he takes no pleasure in the death of any human being but is going to relish that Smythe is going to die in the Raft. Smythe tries to get under his skin again by bringing up Marla Jameson but Spider-Man ignores him and walking over to the empty cell of Otto Octavius, Spidey then tells him that he is done playing games and is free to leave.
Jonah arrives back on the island along with his assistant Miss Grant as well as Norah Winters, a writer or the Daily Bugle. We then cut over to the viewing room where they are sitting waiting for the Smythe to be executed but Smythe’s lawyer objects about Jameson’s presence since that he believes that he had Smythe’s execution moved earlier with his mayoral power. But Jameson states that he isn’t here as mayor but as a widower and that he had this litigated. He then goes on to say that he is going to watch the guy that killed his wife die and the he is going to enjoy it. Smythe interrupts their conversation by saying thy he doesn’t hold malice towards him or anyone else, he was a changed man and is confident that he will be saved when he dies. Spidey says that he has heard that saying before but stops what he saying when he says ‘A murderer doesn’t suddenly become a different- ‘when Norah asks him why he stops he reply saying that it doesn’t matter and that they should start the lethal injection. Smythe smiles and says let’s and a bunch of Mini-Slayers start pouring out of the vents and he is set free and armours up. Spidey activates one of his programmes and has his Spider-Bots deal with the Mini-Slayers and the he will go after Smythe. Smythe says that his priority today is freedom and that he is going to use the weakness of the Raft to his advantage by trying to punch a hole in the wall and when he does it just leaves a small hole and an impact area. Spidey then tells him that he actually reinforced the walls with a gravimetric field that increased the mass of any area that takes damage. Smythe then tries to go through the vents but that way is also covered with lasers.
Meanwhile with the villains in the medical area, the Mini-Slayers make their way into their room and they start to bond with them and start to repair them, including the Vulture being able to see again. Smythe only wants one thing from them and that is to kill Spider-Man and everyone on the Raft and then they will be free. On the final page we see the new designs for Boomerang, Vulture and Scorpion in a more enhanced armour and they look menacing ending part one.
Part two opens up with a page flashbacking to when Smythe killed Marla and at the very bottom of the page, Jameson states that Smythe is not getting off this island alive. Smythe’s lawyer blames Jameson for what has happened saying that his presence upset his client and Jameson whacks him across the face. Norah notices that there are still robots around but Miss Grant, I think that’s who said it since the word balloon for it is nowhere near anybody. One of the Spider-Bots then emits a hologram of Spider-Man which must be a protocol when Smythe escaped. Norah then makes a Star Wars quote that Princess Leia but the hologram keeps on going saying that he has a protocol to have the Spider-Bots protect them in a force field so that Smythe can’t use them as hostages. Just as the force field starts deploying Jameson jumps out of it with the shock especially to Miss Grant who says that the force field is there to protect them and that there is nothing to protect him from Smythe, when Jameson replies that there is nothing to protect Smythe from him. In a hallway Jameson takes a gun from a dead guard and says that Smythe is going to pay for what he has done.
Cutting over to the fight between Smythe and Spidey has now spilled to outside of the room and now into some corridor. Spidey notices that Smythe seems rather annoyed since that he is able to counter his attacks with some ease, but Smythe says that he isn’t having any trouble since that his death is the reason that he exists. Spidey then insults Smythe saying that was a better scientist than what he is since that he used his brain whilst Smythe flails around like a bull in a china shop. Spidey then says that he has informed the Avengers about what has happened and then Smythe says that he has his own reinforcements as we see Boomerang, Vulture and Scorpion coming down a corridor. Spidey admits that his strategy was rather smart using the Mini-Slayers and having the self-replicate using the tech from the Raft as it was being shut down, but then shows that he is more superior being able to lock down the entire prison and he was using Raft’s generators giving Smythe an idea and taking advantage of Spidey, Smythe then says that he will get rid of his gadgets after he watches him die, but before he can say die somebody else says is and a laser blast goes across Smythe’s shoulder. It’s revealed that a guard shot him that catches Smythe off guard since that he thought that he dealt with the rest of the guards in the Raft. Smythe throws Spidey at the guard and the guard asks what was wrong with him since that he seemed to be more of an amateur, Spidey replies on why he should be taking orders from the guard when it turns out that it was actually Jameson, Spidey says that he can’t protect him and fight Smyth but Jameson says that he doesn’t need his protection. Jameson says that he brought Spider-Man to ensure that Smythe was executed and to make sure of it. Spidey replies that he wants to be absolutely certain of what Jameson was saying and Jameson pretty much states that Smythe will die for his crimes today and to do whatever is necessary to make that happen. Spidey understands what needs to be done and tells Jameson to go back to the other since that staying around won’t be safe.
Spidey is on the hunt for Smythe through the Raft and he manages to track him through the communications from the Mini-Slayers but Smythe realises what he has done and he managed to trace the frequency of the Spider-Bots and gave Spidey’s location to his friends. Boomerang, Vulture and Scorpion crash through a wall and ganged up on Spidey. Spidey tries to get the offence on the three but it seems to be of no use since that Scorpion is easily able to block the webbing with his tail, Vulture manages to throw blades into him and Boomerang throws exploding boomerangs at him (technically shouldn’t they go back to Boomerang?). Spidey manages to web up all the villains rather quickly and easily and tells them that Smythe is using them and will take the weapons back when he gets what he wants which is the generators. Smythe is in the generator room and blows up a box which causes the power to go out, including letting the Lizard to escape. Smythe thinks that he has got a way out but he forgot one thing, which was the back-up generator. Spidey says that he got him to go on a fool’s errand since that the Raft has multiple back up sources. Smythe then tells Spidey that he knows that he can see him through his robots but Smythe can do the same and he also notices that the civilians are together and that Jameson is wandering the halls alone. Scorpion says that he wants revenge on Spidey for punching off his jaw but Smythe brings up that Jameson is a target and he goes off to go after Jameson. Vulture wanting to keep the tech heads off to the people in the bubble whilst Boomerang was given task of handling Spidey. Spidey is able to web Boomerang who tried to throw one of his bomb-a-rangs but it explodes in his face. Smythe then gives Spidey an ultimatum since that Scorpion is out for Jameson and Vulture is going for the others in the bubble. But Spidey doesn’t choose either to go after and goes after Smythe instead stating that he has only one thing to do, slat the Spider-Slayer ending part two.
Part three opens with a flash back of Spider-Man looking over the dying body of Otto Octavius and Spidey narrating about what he has done and what he has become. He then starts swinging through the corridor of the Raft saying that Smythe is the one that dies today. Smythe says that he is not out to kill Spidey but he just wants his freedom. He comes up with another chance by asking him to drop the defences and he will halt the attacks. Spidey replies saying that there is only one way that Smythe is leaving and that is in a body bag and they engage in a fight with Smythe saying ‘To the death’.
Meanwhile with the civilians they see that the Vulture is there and that he has some tech that can help pinpoint the weaknesses where he can disable the force field and attacks the points with his feathers. The clergyman that is with them tries to come to his scenes but that fails. Norah asks if that this is the legacy that he wants to have for his family and he replies that it is too late to change that. Miss Grant then asks if he could help them and turn a story into a man overcoming his past history, but Smythe’s lawyer ups it even more by saying that he can get him acquitted since that his entire defence for Smythe was due to the technology causing mental impairment. The Vulture contemplates his offer whist Shipley whispers to a guard saying to shoot him once the force field goes down. Elsewhere in the Raft Scorpion has found Jameson who blasts a few shots at Scorpion but to little effect. Scorpion goes to hit Jameson with his stinger but it manages to be blocked by an unlikely ally that being The Lizard. Scorpion tells the dumb monster to get out of his way but Lizard replies saying that he is not a monster and that he is Curtis Connors and he will never let the monsters win again. Jameson tries to get away but is stopped by Scorpion, then we see that the force field dissipating.
Spidey rips off one of the tendrils off Smythe’s suit and then says that Spidey has the upper hand and he surrenders and starts to negotiate with him to start saving the lives of the others in the Raft. But Spidey replies that Smythe had been locked up for far too long and that things have changed but he did have an opening offer when he stabs Smythe with the tendril. He goes on to day that he didn’t want to kill him but he was left with no choices, there were innocent lives in danger with Smythe’s robots and enhanced being around and that he didn’t trust him to disarm them and that permanently shutting them down was the only solution to save them.
Back with Scorpion, Lizard and Jameson, Scorpion says that he can still get to Jameson whilst fighting Lizard with the upgrades. But then Scorpion realises that something is wrong and the enhancements start to shatter and fall off him. Lizard notes that the enhancements have failed and that he needs medical attentions, Jameson agrees and he and Lizard walks away from him. Boomerang, who is not actually dead, is webbed back up by a passing Spidey. Then back with the civilians Vultures enhancements fail and he is now back to being blind and Shipley and the guards shock him. Shipley then notices that Lizard is standing behind Jameson telling him to hold his fire with Shipley saying that he is a killer. Jameson retorts saying that the Lizard is a killer but he has the mind of Curt Connors and that he saved his life. Spidey interrupts them saying that the situation is under control and that he is going to get the doors open so that they can get out. Back up top Jameson says that it is an outrage that since that Connors is in control but Shipley couldn’t care, Lizard says that it is all right and that it is okay to be cautious. Jameson goes up to Spidey asking if Smythe was dead and he notices a Mini-Slayer coming out of a vent and then a Smythe coming out of a vent and he attacks the people including Lizard, saying that his body is dead and his consciousness will soon follow. He stabs Shipley with a tendril and Spidey starts webbing him up and Spidey knocks him into the river. Smythe wanted Spidey to do that so that he can transfer his consciousness but it doesn’t appear to be working and the reason why is that Spidey has a metal plate on the back of his head. Smythe had been planning this for months and the reason why Spidey knows what he was going to so and revealed to him that he is in fact Otto Octavius. Spidey calls him an imbecile since that his final act as the Spider Slayer and he wasn’t beaten by his true enemy.
Spidey brings Smythe’s corpse back up and Norah asks if he is dead and Spidey replies that he is, but unfortunately Shipley died and Jameson says that he died bravely and that helping the Rafts last break out and it is a legacy that man would honour. Spidey says that it’s true what we leave behind is something we each determine. On the way back to the mainland Spidey takes Jameson aside and saying that he has an idea on what to do with the Raft instead of destroying it. Spidey’s plan is that he wants to turn it into his personal superhero headquarters. Jameson if against the idea but Spidey shows him a hologram of the complete recording that they had in the Raft when he told Spidey to kill Smythe. If Jameson didn’t give him what he wanted, he would release the footage to the media and have him incriminated. At the press conference Jameson informs the press that Spider-Man is going to be given the Raft and that it will now be renamed Spider Island Two. In the final page Otto narrates saying that his is no longer bound by Peter’s past life and is creating something new and wonderful. He is on the phone and we discover that he is hiring seventy ex-military men from somewhere and that he will have uniforms for them and he goes back on to working on a giant metal mech and that is how the issue ends.
Overall I do like this part of the Superior Spider-Man series. Dan Slott does a brilliant job in writing this series since that he has been writing Spider-Man for a while. I like the way that he writes Peter and Spidey since that they both have a darker tone to them since that it’s not hero but a villain it works really well. The artwork throughout is really good as well and the designs for Vulture, Scorpion and Boomerang’s enhanced form do bring out the elements of what there characters are.
The rest of the series is handled rather well and maybe in the next few months I may do a few more reviews since that the Superior Spider-Man series is rather interesting.