Well, we’re four issues into Superior Spider-Man and Dan Slott is (thankfully) still alive. I feel like a lot of the furor that preceded the release of the first issue has subsided, as is often the way of these things, and people are realising that perhaps a change of direction for Spidey isn’t a bad thing. I quite enjoyed the first arc, especially with Ryan Stegman joining the Spider-team’s stable of rotating artists. Now Amazing Spider-Man alumni Giuseppe Camuncoli comes on board the Superior train for the second arc, and Dan Slott is upping the ante in the new Spider-Man’s struggle with power and responsibility with the reappearance of Massacre, a mass murderer put away by the original Spider-Man.
I’ve always enjoyed Dan Slott’s Spider-Man. He balances humour and drama in a way that really fits the character, and that continues even in this ‘darker and edgier’ version of Spidey. In fact, the biggest source of humour in this issue particularly comes from the ruthless Otto Octavius attempting to be a good person whilst in the guise of Peter Parker. There’s some great comedy with Otto discovering Parker’s academic failings and how he aims to rectify this, and no doubt this is setting up even more shenanigans for further down the line. I must admit, however, that Massacre seems a little too brutal for a Spidey villain. He seems more like the kind of threat that Wolverine or the Punisher would be more likely to deal with. Still, if Spidey faced the same threats all the time I suppose it would be somewhat tedious. Nevertheless, it doesn’t quite gel for me.
Giuseppe Camuncoli’s art seems to get better and better with every page of his I see. His figures have a pleasingly rounded bulk in contrast to the more lithe and angular figures that fellow Spider-artists Stegman and Ramos provide. He also continues to deal in a fabulous line of craggy and expressive faces. Some of the facial acrobatics performed by Octavius-as-Parker are hilarious. Camuncoli is a real master of displaying character’s moods and intentions facially. He also provides some satisfyingly muscular action panels, showcasing the savagery of the new Spider-Man with aplomb. Edgar Delgado brings the same vivid and exciting colours as he always does, remaining my favourite colourist at Marvel, and this issue’s final panel provides a tantalising glimpse of a character I can’t wait to see this art team tackle.
All said and done, Superior Spider-Man #4 is a very solid issue. It never quite comes together as well as this team often does, although that’s mainly because I’m not a fan of Massacre. I am, however, greatly enjoying this new direction for Spidey, and I intend to continue doing so as long as it lasts. So while we still haven’t reached the same enjoyable heights that this team already hit on Amazing Spider-Man, we’re still getting some quality comics. It hasn’t quite earned its Superior moniker yet, but it’s getting warmer.