There is no way The Superior Octopus #1 should be any good. The character is a spin-off of a spin-off, clones are involved, the Brothers Grimm make an appearance, the book is set in San Francisco where Spider-Man spin-offs go to die. Yet, Christos Gage writes a compelling story loaded with heart, and as goofy as Doctor Octopus is, his arrogance is entertaining.
Sidebar #1 • I now want to cast Hugh Laurie as Doc Ock in the third Spider-Man film. Thanks, Gage!
The inside cover provides a solid recap to catch you up on Doc Ock’s previous adventures. Gage also points out several issues you can read for more on the character, but you can easily pick up this issue with only minor knowledge of the Doc Ock and enjoy the book without feeling lost.
With Mike Hawthorne’s art and the villains Gage uses in the book, The Superior Octopus feels like Spectacular Spider-Man from the 90s. The book doesn’t stay in the 90s long though, because Jordie Bellaire is a genius with colors. Bellaire adds a depth of field that early modern books can’t touch. Look at the breakdown of colors in the image below. Look at how round Bellaire can make Dansen MaCabre’s arm; it is almost 3-D.
If the book were only focused on Superior Octopus conquering the world, it would be boring. His broken heart over Professor Maria Marconi is what gives the book an edge. No matter how smooth Elliot Tolliver has become, the awkwardness of Doc Ock creeps to the surface when Marconi is around. This plot thread will reach a boiling point, and the issue will be a must-read to see Marconi’s reaction.
The last third of the book had me thinking in one direction, and then the reveal elevates Doc Ock to a new status. It’s good to be caught off guard; it means Gage, Hawthorne, and the rest of the staff working the book did his or her job exceptionally well, as the reader can get wrapped up in the story.
Sidebar #2 • The only pet peeve I have is using the character’s logo as part of the lettering. Does this bother anyone else? Comment below so I don’t think I’m the crazy person.
The last page of the book is where the art peaks. Hawthorne’s pencils, Wade von Grawbadger’s inks, Bellaire’s colors, and Clayton Cowles’s letters create a powerful image of superiority that compels you to read issue two. Doc Ock’s internal battle of good and evil is going to be amazing.
Overall, The Superior Octopus #1 is a gem in the rough. Gage gets his emotional tentacles wrapped around you and won’t let go.
Did you pick up The Superior Octopus #1 this week? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.