Superior Spider-Man (2019) #5
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Mike Hawthorne
As the Superior Spider-Man, Otto Octavius has consistently been one of my favourite characters at Marvel since taking up the mantle, and Gage and Hawthorne’s current run delivers exactly what I want in a book about my favourite villain-turned-hero.
The plot for this issue is basic but sufficient, following Otto on his first date with Emma and hijinks, of the variety where Doctor Strange gets involved, ensue. The one-time Avenger and Sorcerer Supreme team up to deal with a demonic incursion. There’s nothing remarkable about this issue in terms of story, but it’s well-paced and doesn’t drag at all, and facilitates the character moments Otto requires to shine in his solo book.
Gage’s characterisation of Otto is the main reason I love this book in particular. Gage has a perfect grasp of the former mad scientist. He’s arrogant, overly dramatic, brilliant, but also, somehow incredibly naïve when it comes to certain matters. He’s an unbridled joy to read and Gage knows exactly how to make Otto both a compelling and amusing character in equal measure. Stand out highlight for when Otto tries to claim his career of supervillainy was “ironic”. In addition to our titular Superior Spidey, Gage also handles Anna Maria’s character excellently, working as the perfect foil to try and curb Otto’s overall arrogance, much to her constant exasperation.
Mike Hawthorne’s art with Jordie Bellaire’s colours are fantastic. Hawthorne’s exagerrated faces are great at conveying the characters’ emotions, and, as is important for any good Spider-Man artist, knows how to make Otto’s mask expressive too. Hawthorne also brings dynamically drawn action to the table, capturing the athleticism of Superior Spidey with easy-to-read movements. Bellaire’s colours complement the art well; the colouring on Otto’s suit makes him perfectly pop out from the rest of the page, and the overall colour palette, while muted, maintains enough variation to not actively be dull to look at.
Superior Spider-Man #5
A solid issue that continues to deliver the entertaining moments you want to see when you read any issue involving Otto as the Superior Spider-Man, with great art.