A great feeling it is when you have that one Spidey book that you can really look forward to each month. Even better when that book is Superior Spider-Man and no one bats an eye at you for calling it your favorite. That is how far we have come with Otto on his mission to be the very best hero he could be. Well best hero and person he can be. The journey towards becoming the best version of yourself is no easy task, but Otto took big steps towards that goal through his involvement in War of the Realms last month.
The big question for this next issue was what came next for Otto. the answer to that was finding a way to move forward from War of the Realms. This honestly shocked me. Most writers would be so very quick to jump into the next big problem, or villain. Not many will take the time to thoroughly reflect upon what happened during an event. Especially for a hero who didn’t have the biggest impact on the war itself. And yet funny enough, that had a big impact on Otto. This issue led us to believe that we were looking forward to a big villain crashing his parade and knocking him down a peg, but who would have guessed that the truck coming to hit him was himself? Right now I can’t think of a more brilliant writer who has turned a tie-in into something more than it could have been.
Getting the keys to the city, the parades, parties, and adoration came naturally. However, the beauty was in how Otto accepted it all. I found myself genuinely moved by his writing. This was hands down the best issue for Otto’s character development because he was finally understanding what it means to be a hero. When you stripped Otto of his pride, his fear of failure, and his need to be superior. All you have left is a man who cares a lot. Way more than he should at times. The War of the Realms just so happened to be that one event to send him over the edge. A few times I almost teared up, and I don’t mind admitting this because it mattered to experience a hero who sees the big picture. Everything is supposed to count. A war is not a war if there isn’t some loss. He noticed the loss, and that is a big responsibility to put on yourself. This reminded me of everything I loved about the Champions. Saving the day and defeating the villain should only be celebrated if the people and property are safe.
What also made a big difference in this issue was the relevance of this supporting cast. They might not have the same depth given to them as Otto, but they are there, and they notice when this guy who is really trying, is breaking down. The point of a support system is to be there to pick you up, to hear you out when you hurt, and never give up on you when you push away. All of them who came for Otto represented the kind of people we tend to keep in our corners in our everyday lives.
The emotional impact of this issue could have only hit you the way it did because of the spectacular efforts from this art team. I applauded the way that Hawthorne and Grawbadger were able to put Otto through the motions. You felt his anger, his frustration, his cracking point. Imagine someone falling apart right in front of you as you finally got them to open up, and that was Otto on these pages. I believed everything he was experiencing because it is only natural for someone like him to struggle taking praise in the face of loss. As for the colorwork from Bellaire, I was not surprised by the depth that she was able to bring out in these pages. Kept everything simple for the most part too, and that was necessary to ensure that we were never losing focus on a chapter that benefited from keeping down to Earth.
Superior Spider-Man #9 is not the issue where old enemies make their way back into Otto’s life, but we got something way better before that. There has never been a better time to say the words “all lives matter” in a superhero world. This creative team has changed the game for event tie-ins. You can always do so much more with them, and Superior Spider-Man #9 set the bar with what can come after.