In “Superior Spider-Man” #10, writer Dan Slott delivers the Spider-Man I thought we’d be getting back in issue #1. Having wiped the specter of Peter Parker from his thoughts and actions, Otto Octavius is now in complete control of Peter’s life. The first two pages provide a quick recap and a posturing monologue as Octavius-Parker swings into action once again.
Slott sets off a gang war between two low-level opponents in the White Dragon and the Owl, providing some convenient action and adventure that balances nicely with the personal subplots that pervade the issue. The fallout from that battle also bleeds into a new subplot set to blossom into the next major storyline. Slott proves the developing big bad is more than a match for the “superior” Spidey, seeding doubt for the wallcrawler with his supporting cast as well as in readers’ minds. With Peter Parker’s thoughts and experiences no longer at his disposal, Octavius begins to rub people the wrong way even more than he has to this point, a development which is certain to expand in the very near future.
Ryan Stegman’s body language and expressions fill the pages, adding depth and nuance to the story. His style is similar to that of series co-artist, Humberto Ramos, but slightly more rigid and realistic, giving this issue more gravity from a visual perspective. Stegman inks himself a great deal, but is also inked by Cam Smith. There is just enough difference in the two finishing styles to be noticeable, but those styles are blocked off into certain scenes, preventing the differences from becoming overly distracting. Edgar Delgado’s colors finish the visuals nicely alongside Chris Eliopoulos’ lettering, both adding to the story layers.
Ultimately, “Superior Spider-Man” #10 moves the story of Otto Octavius’ greatest victory forward, adding more subplots and developments while inserting depth into the existing subplots. Slott and Stegman do a fine job of balancing action, intrigue and character development, giving readers a chance to join Peter and J. Jonah Jameson at dinner with Aunt May and JJJ’s dad as well as Peter’s date with his sometime-tutor Anna Marconi. There’s a lot of story packed into this issue as the Superior Spider-Man makes his stranglehold on Peter Parker’s life just a little more treacherous. As though calling a poker bluff, Slott sees that threat and raises the stakes just a bit more.