After the events of Amazing Spider-Man #700, new series writer Chris Yost takes us through Doctor Octopus' first days as the Superior Spider-Man!
Reveling in the fact that he has finally defeated Spider-Man, Doctor Octopus sets out to become a better Spider-Man than Peter Parker ever was. After setting up a date with Mary Jane and improving on Peter's inventions, Ock decides that the resources available to him at Horizon Labs are insufficient and breaks into one of his old labs as Spider-Man. Unfortunately, Ock's old security system registers him as a threat, forcing him to fight his own octo-bots. During the fight, Ock realizes that despite his "superior" intellect, Peter Parker always found a way to beat him. After dealing with his octo-bots, Ock decides that he has to be better than both Peter Parker and his former self. Later, while donning his new costume, Ock declares that Doctor Octopus is dead, long live the Superior Spider-Man!
This issue might as well have been Superior Spider-Man #0.1, as Yost gives us a pretty clear picture of what the upcoming new Spider-Man series is going to be like. Yost is used to writing a darker, grumpier Spider-Man thanks to his work on Scarlet Spider (which is a title all Spidey fans should check out if they haven't already). I gotta say, the Superior Spider-Man and Scarlet Spider are similar in many ways in that both are ex Spider-Man villains who are trying to redeem themselves by taking on the mantle of past spider-themed heroes. As a result, this issue hit a lot of the same notes one can find in an issue of Scarlet Spider. You can't help but think of Kaine as Ock mocks all of Peter's past achievements or when he reluctantly takes down a thief.
Another problem with this issue was that I had a hard time figuring out why exactly Doc Ock wants to be a superhero. He accepted that with great power comes great responsibility at the end of ASM #700, but he's pretty happy about killing Peter Parker at the beginning of this issue. From this issue, it seems as though Ock is motivated not by the lesson he learned from Peter at the end of #700, but merely by the drive to surpass Peter in everything he did. This difference makes Ock a more difficult character to root for. Also, I have a hard time believing that Mary Jane hasn't yet noticed that something is clearly wrong with Peter. Ock hasn't exactly been subtle in displaying his true personality, so it's odd that the person who knows Peter Parker better than anyone else hasn't picked up on the brain swap.
Despite my griping, I really did enjoy this issue. Paco Medina did a beautiful job drawing it, and once you're able to stop nitpicking the premise, Yost's take on Ock in Peter's body is a great read. There are several lines in this comic that are priceless as Ock tries to get used to Peter's powers, memories, and co-workers. Reading Doc Ock having to team up with the other heroes in the Marvel Universe under Yost's watch should be a lot of fun. Oh, and we need a team up with Scarlet Spider. Kaine was the one who killed Ock the first time, so a team up between the two of them now would be priceless.