Is Superior Spider-Man #11 Starting ‘One More Day’ For Otto Octavius?

by James Ferguson

Otto Octavius is up against his greatest challenge yet with the Spider-Powered Norman Osborn from another Earth. His lab has been destroyed and his friends are injured while Norman toys with him. Otto will be pushed farther than he’s ever been, truly testing what makes him a hero if he’s going to stop Norman.

While the adventures through Superior Spider-Man have been fun so far, this arc has really catapulted it to new heights. Otto can strut around San Francisco thinking he’s…well…superior to everyone around him as there aren’t many other heroes nearby. His challenges have been vast, especially lately with the likes of Terrax and Master Pandemonium, yet they seem to pale in comparison to Norman. Here is someone that has vexed Otto time and time again, even though this is a different version than the one he’s seen as a rival for years. Norman represents everything Otto could have been as a villain if he stayed down that path.

Writer Christos Gage presents a dark and terrifying choice for Otto. Norman lays out a scenario that is lose-lose. This forces Otto to make an incredibly tough decision. Everything he’s worked for since returning to this mortal coil is on the line. I found myself screaming at the comic while I was reading it, begging Otto not to do this as he got closer and closer to the dark side.

The frustration that Otto feels comes through perfectly in Mike Hawthorne’s artwork. You can see the wheels turning in his head as he struggles to find a way out. If he didn’t have these new pesky morals, he’d be able to make a swifter decision, but he’s trying so hard to be good. Meanwhile, Norman stands confident and menacing, practically rubbing Otto’s nose in his shortcomings. If you thought Norman was frightening as the Green Goblin or as Carnage, he’s a different kind of scary here.

Otto’s resolve grows stronger as Superior Spider-Man #11 continues. Inker Wade von Grawbadger accentuates this determined look on the man’s face as he realizes what he must do and the lines he must cross. This coincides with a literal dark turn that happens in the comic, which colorist Jordie Bellaire handles wonderfully. You instantly understand the severity of this moment and how Otto’s moral fiber hangs in the balance with the ominous tone that spreads through these pages. This was the part I was yelling at the comic.

It’s hard to talk about this portion without spoiling it, but I want to add that letterer Clayton Cowles plays an integral part in this scene with some super creepy dialogue. Just in case you were unsure as to the intentions of those present, you fully understand them thanks to the disturbing font used.

My concern with all of this (and I’m not going to spoil the specifics), is that the work to build up and develop Otto in this role could be thrown out the window. There’s a definite chance of a reset button here, like a One More Day for the Superior Spider-Man which would be a bummer, especially since the series is really hitting its stride here. We’re seeing a unique path of redemption that continues to reframe one of the biggest villains in the Marvel Universe and that’s some powerful stuff.

Superior Spider-Man #11 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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