Today sees the release of Superior Spider-Man #1, but thanks to the wonders of teasers, we already have an idea of what lies in the future of the title… And the combination of the two has me somewhat convinced that what is going on with the new series isn’t the creation of an all-new Spider-Man status quo, but the slow reintroduction of an old one. Spoilers and speculation under the jump.We know, now, that April will see Spider-Man “fired” – and, from the background of the Humberto Ramos image, it looks like he’s getting fired from the Avengers. While that seems like a big deal now – Spidey has, after all, been an Avenger for almost eight years by this point – it’s less of a big deal in the larger picture, considering that the character had, prior to New Avengers, spent the rest of his career as a loner who didn’t join any team. It was that realization – That Spider-Man being “fired” from the Avengers is more of a return to the way things used to be than anything new – that stuck in my head as I read Superior #1, with its equally old-fashioned title, “Hero or Menace?” And then it hit me:
Superior Spider-Man is a long con.
Go with me here. We all know, or think we know at least, that Peter Parker will end up as Spider-Man again before too long. But what if Superior isn’t about trying to convince us that Otto is the real deal, but about the Otto Spidey convincing the Marvel Universe at large that the character is a threat that isn’t to be trusted again? Over the years, the idea that Spider-Man is a morally ambiguous presence in the Marvel U has been almost entirely abandoned as the hero has been embraced by his peers, saved the world multiple times and become appreciated by the man and woman on the street for doing so… All of which is miles away from the original concept of the character as a hard-luck hero who gives his all but never receives the rewards for doing so. But what if Otto Spidey destroys Spider-Man’s good reputation, and undoes all of that?
Marvel has tried to reboot Spider-Man in various ways over the years, from clones to devils to spider-totems (Hey, they weren’t all good ideas, okay?), but this seems like a surprisingly elegant way to bring the character back to basics that stays entirely within what we expect from a Spider-Man story: No overly supernatural elements – superscience, yes, but we’re talking about a guy who got spider-powers from the result of a radioactive spider-bite here – and no “everything you know is wrong!” but the end result could be – is? – the same: When the dust clears, no-one will quite know what to make of Spider-Man again, and only the reader will recognize his true heroism.
Of course, this is all speculation and may be entirely wrong. But if I’m right, I have to admit: It’s a long way for a short cut, but I like where it’s going.