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Rise of the Superior Spiderman

By Craig Collins

In the world of superhero comics, not much changes over the years, to many fans frustration. The reason why is most of these beloved childhood heroes are now huge franchises banking in the billions, but it can make for a frustrating read. Whats worse is that when genuine change does happen, eventually the character is brought back to its genesis at the slightest sign of disapproval, or to get new fans acclimated to the character before a new movie normally changing any new progress. The stigma that superheros in comics never change or go through serious character development has been around for years, and one of the arguments biggest examples is also one of Marvel's greatest heroes: the Amazing Spider-Man.

Peter Parker and his web slinging alter ego have been around for decades and there are multiple generations of fans to show for it. Everyone knows the story of the kid from New York raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben, who on one fateful day is bitten by a radioactive spider which forever changes his life and the events that follow. The Spider-man mythos is constantly being retold, in fact that's almost all we have heard over the years. Its as if the team at Marvel is afraid if they don't keep going back to the spider-man origin story we are going to forget who he is and where he came from.  Aside from his classic adversaries and stories about them, spider-man has not developed much in recent years, but all of that changed after the events in Amazing Spider-man #700.

Without ruining the entire story for potential readers (spoiler alert) amazing #700 is the book that changed the Spider-man mythos forever. When Doctor Octopus switched brains with Peter using his golden octobot, he gained the body and vitality of Spider-man, while Peter was stranded in Otto's dying body. In one final effort, Peter taught Otto the lesson that had inspired him ever since the night he lost his uncle: "With great power comes great responsibility".

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The final panels of issue 700 mark the end of an era on multiple levels, it ends the Amazing run and is the start of Superior Spider-man!  A self proclamation by Octavious that he will become a better hero than Peter ever was, and a year into the series Otto has made good on his promise. The ethics of how Octavious operates can be argued but not his results,  in every aspect of Peter's life, Otto has made smart decisions and tough calls on issues that have plagued Peter and Spider-man since the characters origin.  Peter spent hours swinging across the city skyline looking for trouble, in comparison Otto delegated work out to his own spider-man army giving him the free time to finish school and get his personal life in order. Peter never could fully separate himself from Mary Jane, and has never allowed himself to truly seek out new relationships and mature because of it. Otto, on the other hand, looked back on Peter's history with MJ and after a few failed attempts dumped her seeing the failing pattern of their relationship.

As Superior Spider-man, Otto has made many decision that have been very controversial to the people around him as well. When a mass murderer broke out of prison for a second time and went on a killing spree Otto didn't just web up the murder. He ended the cycle, taking the murderers life and ensuring no one else would be hurt. A move Peter never would have agreed with but was the correct though hard choice.

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Superior Spider-man is the answer to one of comics biggest problems; a lack of imagination and character development. This drastic change in direction for Spider-man has caused a lot of commotion from the internet and die hard fans of Amazing, but its for the better. Spider-man is a character that has struggled so much in previous years, that in both the Marvel 616 and ultimate universes a new character was chosen to take up the mantle. Otto has more than surpassed Peter's efforts and I cant wait to see what comes next. Where once Spider-man comics were just one of many I would pass over, the Superior Spider-man comic has become the one and only  reason that I  still venture to the comic book store. I love this new Spider-man who has a backbone and affirms his own personal beliefs and goals no matter what the consequence. If you are a fan of the web slinger or you are interested in reading a story involving a famous character with a dramatic twist. Superior Spider-man is a must read, and will go down in history as one of Spider-Man's best story-line's alongside the symbiote arc, the death of Gwen Stacey and others.

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