While the crux of Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos’ “Superior Spider-Man” #8 deals with Spider-Man fighting the Avengers, the cover depicts Cardiac getting the upper hand on the Marvel NOW! version of the wall-crawler. Both skirmishes play a factor in the pages in between, and both point towards “Superior Spider-Man” #9, which Slott has teased as the next issue with mind-blowing events certain to incense readers. Naturally, all of that leads to a cliffhanger final panel that is sure to leave the reader screaming right alongside spectral Peter Parker.
Meanwhile, Slott writes some fun Avengers (in this case Spider-Woman, Captain America, Black Widow, Thor and Wolverine) and can’t help but throw in some stilted dialog for Thor and some movie-inspired words of wisdom from Natasha Romanova. The characters have a two-page fight with their teammate. That ends with Spider-Man/Doc Ock getting a complete scan before asking for a copy of the medical test results. The fight with Cardiac leads to the hospital run by Elias Wirtham (Cardiac’s alter ego) and reveals a soft spot in Octo-Man’s gruff exterior. Spectral Parker provides some influence in the decision-making, but there is little doubt that Otto Octavius himself is responsible for the decisions made with Spider-Man’s corporeal form.
Ramos’ art is perfect for this take on Spider-Man who is not-quite Spider-Man. The artist makes “Peter Parker” more driven and prickly and Spider-Man becomes creepy when Ramos draws him. The dilation of the lenses in the mask add a haughtiness to the character that belies Otto Octavius while providing a sinister twist to what was once open and honest. Ramos’ exaggerated style works quite nicely for the fight scenes. Not surprisingly, the exaggerated nature of Ramos’ style also makes his take on young Amy Chen precious and heartwarming, quick to elicit thoughts of children readers might know in a similar situation or, at the very least, of a similar age.
“Superior Spider-Man” #8 is par for the course in this Marvel NOW! era where Spider-Man is not quite himself. Slott brings some surprises to the issue, does a little character work on Otto Octavius and continues to remind Peter that it’s called “Parker Luck” for a reason. This issue moves things forward substantially, with dynamic results on tap for the next issue. This might not be your daddy’s Spider-Man, it might not even be your Spider-Man, but at least it is anything but predictable.