Malekith’s forces have invaded Midgard and the planet’s heroes are spread far and wide to fight them back. Otto Octavius has entered the fray to put a stop to this menace one way or another. He’s not content with fighting smaller battles here and there. He wants to stop this thread once and for all. The thing is, the combined power of the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and a slew of others are already working that out.
Every time I think that Otto has learned a lesson, he takes a few steps back. You’d think that after being through Age of Ultron, Spider-Verse, and Spider-Geddon as a hero, he’d have some semblance of an idea as to how these things work. Instead, he rushes in half-cocked, pushing his way to the front lines like an angry soccer mom demanding to see a manager.
In Otto’s quest to be a better man and in turn become a better hero, he still has a lot to learn. His arrogance often gets the better of him and that’s definitely the case here. Writer Christos Gage puts him into the perfect position to eat a big piece of humble pie when he realizes what’s at stake here. Even if Otto were to put down Malekith, it’s not like they’d have a parade for him or build a statue in his honor. That’s not what this hero life is about.
Although he calls himself the Superior Spider-Man, Otto is still in the shadow of his predecessor. He may have improved on some elements of Peter Parker’s costume, technology, and tactics, but he’s woefully behind when it comes to the qualities that make a hero. Peter gives Otto a reality check in this issue that really drives home how far behind he is in this aspect.
Peter may work to put Otto in his place, but his words don’t pack as much of a punch because he’s delivering them while wearing an Asgardian helmet that looks ridiculous on him. Artist Lan Medina showcases the differences between the two Spider-Men in size and stature. Otto stands stiff and tall while Peter is much more flexible and loose.
While Peter shares some deep words, it’s Gwenpool that really cements these thoughts. This is surprising to me because I’m not a big fan of this character as she’s usually just spouting nonsense about being in a comic book and that gets old fast. This time around she has some poignant words for Otto, showing how he’s not the hero of everyone else’s story, only his own. That’s deep. Letterer Travis Lanham shows this dialogue in pink word balloons that stand out in the harsh snow.
This personal revelation occurs in Jotunheim, the home of the frost giants. It’s a frozen, desolate landscape. Inker Cam Smith highlights the details in these snow-covered mountains and colorists Andy Troy & Erick Arciniega create a nice contrast between this cold, unfeeling world and the burst of color the heroes bring to it. They represent a glimmer of hope, not just for this world, but for the other realms as well.
In the scheme of things, we didn’t need a Superior Spider-Man tie-in to War of the Realms. It did provide some further education in Super Hero 101, however those are lessons he’s either already seen and ignored or would have learned elsewhere. It also gave us some fun interactions between Otto and the West Coast Avengers. As we look at Otto’s journey, this will be a blip on the radar.