Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Special #1 by Mike Costa (Comics Review)

Earlier this month, writer Mike Costa began a 3-part crossover story that focused on some of Marvel’s premier heroes, the young X-Men of the past from All-New X-Men, Bruce Banner/Hulk from Indestructible Hulk and Otto Octavius/Spider-Man from Superior Spider-Man. This was a story that brought together a very informal team to deal with a very specific, and quite incidental threat, and thus far, the highlight of the crossover was in the interactions between the characters and the light-hearted charm that Mike brought.

Concluding in this week’s Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Special #1, the crossover continues to highlight the fact that what Mike was trying to do here was all about the characters. These are guest issues by him since he’s not working on any of the three titles, and I think it creates a nice way of getting onboard with these characters since you don’t really need to know much about them, other than the broad general stuff, particularly in the case of Otto Octavius being the Superior Spider-Man.

Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Special 01The first thing I look for in any comic is whether or not it was entertaining on a basis level, then I think about the story and the characters and see if it all holds up or not. This is especially of long-arcs or even the special crossovers such as this one, The Arms of The Octopus. For me, Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Special #1 fulfills all those requirements. It maintains a tonal consistency with the previous issues, the story is fun, the art is fairly good, and the characters are just damn fun.

I’m still getting used to Doc Ock as Superior Spider-Man, even though I’m not reading Superior Spider-Man at all right now. But I’ve read the two issues of Al Ewing’s Mighty Avengers where he shows up and I have to say that it made for a nice change of pace to finally read a comic with a focus on the character. Mike showcases him throughout the issue, and he plays up the character’s genius and his arrogance, but that’s not all he does. He shows that this former supervillain is someone who could very well be a hero too. There’s a very moving scene towards the end that deals with that. What if Doctor Octopus was actually a hero from the get go and had gone on to join the Avengers as such? Its a topic that bears thinking about and if Mike should ever return to this character and deal with that “what if?” then I’d be lining up to buy the comic.

Another thing was that while he is an arrogant jerk, he also takes the time to guide the young X-Men in taking down the antagonist of the story. It wasn’t really something that I was expecting out of him. He initially joined up because he was extremely put off by the fact that there was a fake Doc Ock running around and he wanted to get to the bottom of that mystery. But in a short amount of time, he’s changed from being an arrogant jerk to being a teacher. That’s a level of characterisation that helps make the entire story more than what it is, and in a good way too.

Mike focuses on Spidey most of all, but he doesn’t ignore the other characters either, although that is uneven at best. Bruce Banner/Hulk don’t do much in the story this time around, being relegated to the background for the most part, but we do see a lot from the young X-Men, albeit in a secondary role. Which is just as fine really since this issue is meant to showcase the hero on the title. But, I liked the way that Mike handled all the characters and even though some of the things felt a little heavy-handed, such as Scott asking Banner why he doesn’t just kill himself and save the world from the Hulk, or the naivete of the young X-Men in general, I liked the simpler side of things. There’s enough grim and gritty going around and I like the light-hearted tone.

Michael Dialynas is the artist on this issue, handling the pencils and the inks. I liked his artwork, although it felt a little too minimalist at times, particularly in how he drew the characters at one point or another. It was almost as if I was reading, say, a Tintin comic. Unexpected, and a bit disappointing, and it doesn’t fit with the artwork from the previous issues. But still, it was clean and polished.

Rachelle Rosenberg’s colours however were pretty good and I enjoyed seeing how she took on these characters, compared to their iterations in the other two issues. So generally, the art was decent, and I’d like to see this creative team return again for more adventures.

At this point, I just want to say that I want to see more of these characters from Mike!

Rating: 9/10

More The Arms of The Octopus: All-New X-Men Special #1, Indestructible Hulk Special #1.

Posted on November 3, 2013, in General and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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