On the Panel – Edge of Spider-Verse
Superior Spider-Man #33
In this issue of Edge of Spider-Verse The Superior Spider-Man continues his campaign to investigate the mysterious force that’s killing his counterparts from other universes.
Playing out mostly as an action piece, the army of Spider-Men led by Ock’s Superior Spider-Man are closing in on information surrounding the threat that faces them all. I like that the various Spider-Men -which includes a monkey for some reason- are very chaotic in their fighting style and are easily distracted by their wisecracking but are brought together through recognition of Ock as their leader. Ock is tactically best equipped to lead the group and approaches the encounter in a methodical and detached way. He’s not too arrogant to acknowledge that they didn’t quite achieve a victory in this encounter but is unwilling to write it off as a defeat as they gained valuable information about their enemy which will prove to be invaluable. I imagine he also recognises that it’s important to keep up the morale of his army through hope.
My favourite part of the comic was his introspective discussion with the holographic Anna Maria where he outlines the issues that he has with the team he’s drafted, namely that they’re not willing to kill since they are mostly variations on Peter Parker and he is faced with the fact that he’s alone since there seems to be no Spider-Man out there like him which seems bizarre given that there is a multiverse to explore. In many ways this is the most candid conversation he has ever had with Anna Maria and it clearly pains him that she isn’t the real one but he will find comfort in the fact that she calls him Otto when they’re alone. I do kind of miss Ock as Spidey because he was a good character and the Peter Parker returning storyline hasn’t really done much to inspire me up to this point.
I’m confused as to why this falls under the Edge of Spider-Verse banner rather than simply being the second of the first two issues of Spider-Verse. Mostly because the Superior Spider-Man issues do everything to set up the story and outline the stakes in a definitive way so it never feels like a prequel to the larger story as much as it feels like the beginning of the real one.
In general it feels like the plethora of other Spideys were drastically underused and I don’t think it was fair to make them seem borderline incompetent next to Ock. He is a strong enough character that he can be justified as the leader without dumbing down the supporting characters. It’s an old trope that just doesn’t really work any more, I’d much rather see a competent team of Spider-Men who are simply out of their league in a battle against something they are unprepared for.
A very strong story that helps remind readers why Doc Ock as Spidey was such an interesting character. The other Spider-Men weren’t used as effectively as they could have been but the Spider-Verse event is very exciting so far and has lots of potential for great storytelling.