Review: Superior Spider-Man #12
In an issue plotted by Dan Slott but scripted by Christos Gage, Superior Spider-Man #12 allows for Doc Ock’s self-important and aggrandizing inner narration to take a back seat to make way for a powerful issue that showcases the cantankerous and vengeful minded Mayor J. Jonah Jameson.
The issue opens with a quick page flashback to famous Spider-Man issue 654 where Alistair Smythe, aka The Spider-Slayer, killed Jameson’s wife Marla when she jumped in the way to protect J. Jonah from harm. Gage makes sure to remind the reader of her important last words, which were to tell J. Jonah to not be filled with hate anymore. The use of dark red coloring over the memory really serves to show how Jameson chooses to look back on this memory, as he declares his hatred for Smythe and believes death is what the Slayer deserves most. This issue’s focus on Jameson as he strikes out to get revenge on Smythe is conveyed perfectly; not only through his usual angry demeanor, but also by how penciler Giuseppe Camuncoli gives dead eyed and almost blank stare expressions to his face. When the reader sees Jameson’s watery eyes and furrowed brow after remembering what Smythe did to his wife, there are ranges of emotions that can be imagined going through his mind. Showcasing Jameson’s betrayal of his wife’s last wishes as he strikes out for revenge really can make the reader debate whether or not he is really doing the right thing.
Last issue Gage made sure to have plenty of Ock narration to showcase how entitled and bombastic Octavius can really be. However, this issue we see no inner narration, and this allows the reader to remain in the dark as to his true intentions and his thought process as he fights for survival against the Spider-Slayer, Scorpion, Vulture, and Boomerang. When Slott and Gage put Spider-Man into a classic choice option later in the issue, his ultimate decision on what to do is made in the moment and is a great surprise for readers to discover. There are also a few great laugh moments in the issue having to do with Spidey, with reporter Norah Winters throwing in a Star Wars reference and Smythe making a smart remark about how Ock is revealing his whole plan mid-battle in a monologue.
As far as art is concerned, penciler Giuseppe Camuncoli does a great job with the issue. He makes sure to set action scenes far back so the whole scene and all players involved can be taken in. His first page setup of Marla and J. Jonah Jameson is very powerfully done, and his expressions for Jameson feel right given what the character is going through. Credit must also be given to colorist Antonio Fabela, whose coloring for Spider-Man really leaps off the page. The dark red of his suit really contrasts well especially when Spidey is fighting the strikingly green Scorpion or the metallic grey Spider-Slayer.
The only real problems with the issue are minor affairs. A close up shot of a Spidey bot during a powerful conversation between Jameson and Spider-Man comes out of nowhere and seems somewhat distracting in that moment. Also, a part involving the Lizard is most likely purely done as next issue setup and can take away from the action going on. However, this is a powerful issue for both J. Jonah Jameson in his question for revenge and Ock/Spidey as he makes a decision that will certainly make the wait for Superior Spider-Man # 13 a long one. This series continues to make readers reevaluate just what the Spider-Man name should represent when it comes to being a truly “superior” hero.
Superior Spider-Man # 12 gets a 4.5/5