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Superior Spider-Man: Game Changer

Dan Slott opens up on the major twist from the latest issue and what it means for the webslinger!



Superior Spider-Man #9 cover by Marcos Martin


By Josh Wigler

Just when you thought that times couldn't get darker for Peter Parker, along came SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #9.

Since Peter’s death in the pages of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700, his body has been occupied by the mind of one of his deadliest foes: the brilliant and lethal Doctor Octopus, who now wants to become the best version of Spider-Man the world has ever seen. Unknown to Doc Ock, a portion of Peter remained in the form of a ghost-like memory—but as of SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #9, even that aspect has been eradicated. Otto Octavius destroyed the final remnant of our friendly neighborhood hero, and has claimed Peter Parker's body for his own once and for all.

We spoke with Slott about the major status quo shift in SUPERIOR #9, how the death of Peter's memories will impact Ock's operating procedures going forward, and much more. Alright, Dan. If we're going to describe SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #9 with one phrase, "crazy-town banana-pants" might just do the trick, right?

Dan Slott: Uh , no! [Laughs] If you have only one phrase, it's "Peter Parker no more!" Otto Octavius has been running around in Peter's body for several issues now. You're a very vocal fan of Parker's, but you're certainly putting him and his other fans through their paces. Just when you think things can't get any direr, along comes SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #9!

Superior Spider-Man #9 page by Dan Slott, Ryan Stegman & Edgar Delgado

Dan Slott: I'm very much doing a U-turn with SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN, very much so. But come on. I've done over 70 issues of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, which means one out of every 10 issues of that book has been mine. I love Peter Parker. But there are some songs where it's about the notes you don't play. And right now, we're looking at Spider-Man's world, and Spider-Man's supporting cast, and Spider-Man's villains, and everything that is inherently Spider-Man; we have a hero with all of Spider-Man's powers, DNA, his voice—but the one thing taken out of the equation is Peter Parker's soul. Can you do a Spider-Man book without the soul of Peter Parker? Up until now, we at least had the specter of Peter Parker in the book. Based on the events of issue #9, can we assume that for the next little while, this is a Peter Parker-free book entirely?

Dan Slott: Peter's touch is always going to be in the book. This book won't always have the actual specter of Peter Parker, but the thematic specter will be everywhere you go. We're seeing what it's like to have Spider-Man's world without Spider-Man, and [with] a very different Spider-Man in his place.

Ever since the end of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #600, when Otto was dying and knew he didn't have much time left, and he tried to do something great for the world, and Spider-Man stopped him, from that point on, his new idea was, "If I can't do something great for the world, I'll do something great and terrible. I will leave my mark on this world, even if it's a big bleeding gash, so that no one will ever forget the name of Otto Octavius." Before he did that, he had moments where he was magnanimous, where he would try to find a cure for a major disease, or leave behind a perfectly automated Manhattan, finding new sources of energy to make the world a better place. But all of it was to feed his ego. He had moments in between the crime-lord schemes and master-planner moments, times where he almost did good. There is something in him.

Superior Spider-Man #9 page by Dan Slott, Ryan Stegman & Edgar Delgado

Peter's final hail Mary move when he was dying [in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700] was to give Doc Ock the shared experience of all the lessons Peter needed to learn to know that with great power, comes great responsibility. And especially after SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #8, where Doc saves a young girl's life, he realizes that he's wasted his life on being a villain. He wants to give this hero thing a shot. In his mind, the thing he destroyed—when we saw the Uncle Ben memory die in #9, and the way he talked about Peter at the beginning of the issue—he thought of this as a Peter Parker memory fragment, as an echo. This wasn't murder. This was him giving New York and the world, in his mind, a Superior Spider-Man. In the ego of Doc Ock, it would be irresponsible of him to relinquish control back to Peter. Let's get into how Ock managed to beat Peter this time. That moment from SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #8, where Peter tried to stop Ock from performing surgery so he couldn't get his hands on the scanner and discover that Peter was still in his brain, it does raise some questions, as Ock brings up in this issue. It was a self-interested move on Peter's part, not necessarily a responsible one. Makes you think!

Dan Slott: To be fair, in Peter's defense, when Doc is walking away and leaving the mind-scape, one of the last things Peter says is, "It was only a moment. I would never." The thing that everyone forgets about Peter Parker is that Peter Parker is not a saint. When he let that burglar run by, he could have done anything to stop him and he didn't, and that burglar killed Uncle Ben. That's when he learned the lesson that with great power comes great responsibility. But that didn't magically baptize him and make him flawless.

Superior Spider-Man #9 page by Dan Slott, Ryan Stegman & Edgar Delgado

We've seen over the years, many times, that when Peter Parker really wants to do the wrong thing; he has that moment, and then he shuts it down. We've seen where he really wants to use his spider-powers to punch Flash Thompson, and he's imagining it, and he stops himself. And then Flash gets kidnapped by Doctor Doom, and Peter leans back and decides to do nothing about it. Two panels later, he's all, "Ah, fine, I'll save him!" It's that way for the history of Spider-Man. So you can add Peter's choice in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #8 to a long list of momentary lapses.

Dan Slott: Look, if you think Peter Parker is a saint, and you treat him as this guy who never makes the unethical and wrong choice, you're doing it wrong. He will make the completely self-serving wrong-headed choice. But a moment later, he'll always bring himself back. What we saw in issue #8, and what Doc Ock calls him on, is that. And it's too late, because he's played on Peter's guilt. Someone asked me a question: "Why would Peter Parker let someone guilt him?" Well, that's Peter Parker! Do you know what would make him feel guilt? A strong breeze. [Laughs] Let alone that it's Doc Ock doing it! We're talking about blights on an otherwise very solid career as a super hero. He makes good choices most of the time. And throughout SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN, the ghost of Peter has been around to hold Ock's hand back from time to time, even if he wasn't always successful, as with Massacre. Now that the ghost of Peter is gone, how does that free you up as a writer? What can you do now with SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN?

Dan Slott: Everything. It frees me up to do everything. [Laughs] As crazy as you think it's been, it's about to get crazier. There is no Jiminy Cricket on Doc Ock's shoulder anymore. It is gone.

Superior Spider-Man #9 page by Dan Slott, Ryan Stegman & Edgar Delgado

Early on, when I was telling everyone [at Marvel] what I wanted to do with SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN, everyone was really cool about it, until we got up to it happening. Axel Alonso, our wonderful [Editor-in-Chief], said, "Wait a minute—there's going to be no Peter Parker in this?" And we argued about it, we discussed it. Mark Waid threw in some ideas and Matt Fraction threw in ideas. Something we all settled on and liked was the idea of Ghost Pete. I was a little against it at first, but once everyone got so crazy at the end of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700—and I have never seen comics fans get so crazy about something I've written—I knew that having that twist ending in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #1 with Ghost Pete, I was like, "Oh, thank God Axel wanted this! He was right!" We knew once we had Ghost Pete, that he would go away after eight or nine issues. And then it ramps up even more.

In other words, the series so far has been on training wheels. Now that the wheels are off, we can do all kinds of crazy things with the bike. "Look, one wheel! Woo-hoo!" We have no hands on the bars. We can go a little crazy. Oh, I can't wait. In the issue, Otto destroys Peter's memories. What does that mean for Otto? Can he access those memories anymore?

Dan Slott: Nope. He originally set up a plan where he could have all of those memories, so that if someone came up to him saying, "Remember that time in Budapest?" He could answer, "Ah, yes, I remember, and here's the secret handshake!" Flash could go, "Hey, remember when you showed up for my 20th birthday?" Otto could answer, "Yes, I do! You were wearing a green shirt!" All of that is gone. That's going to create some new problems. Especially considering that at least one person, Carlie Cooper, is suspicious about who's really in the head of Peter Parker. It was hard enough to avoid detection before; this is going to make it pretty tricky.

Superior Spider-Man #9 page by Dan Slott, Ryan Stegman & Edgar Delgado

Dan Slott: You'll have to wait and see. The issue itself just looks fantastic. The mind-battle is gorgeous. Artist Ryan Stegman knocked it out of the park. What was your reaction when you saw Ryan's pages coming in?

Dan Slott: Ryan is fantastic, and also Edgar Delgado, our colorist, is an unsung hero. They really made the dreamscape so weird and creepy. The thing I really like the most about Ryan is that, yes, he can give you the splash pages with all of Spidey's friends and villains, all of them ganging up and dog piling on each other. What makes it is the acting. The way Ryan's characters act is gorgeous. The moment Peter realizes he can't remember Uncle Ben's name, it rips your heart out. And that's Stegman. That's Stegman doing the heavy lifting, with that tortured Peter Parker face. Set us up for the future, Dan. What are we getting in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #10 and beyond?

Dan Slott: In SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #10, we are getting all of the fallout from #9. What is Peter Parker's life like now, now that it's just Otto? What's that like? We check in on all of these characters and people and relationships. And we're starting to get a feel for what the Green Goblin is up to. What's he doing now that he's back?

Right now, Otto is in control of the moral compass of Spider-Man. That might not be a good thing. If you're looking for a road to redemption, you're probably better off having a Peter Parker moral compass, rather than an Otto Octavius one. That said, he does want to be a hero. Now more than ever, he's going to be that hero—in his own way. That's going to lead to some very interesting things.

Superior Spider-Man #9 page by Dan Slott, Ryan Stegman & Edgar Delgado

Right after SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #10, we're launching into a three-part adventure, written by me and Christos Gage and illustrated by Giuseppe Camuncoli. It'll be like one big action thriller with Spider-Man and J. Jonah Jameson at the Raft, with all of the villains Spider-Man has put into intensive care during his SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN run. There will be a major, major status-quo shift by the end of SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #13. Right when you think you know where we're going, when you get to the end and everything's played out in this big, giant adventure yarn, it's going to be a big shift. And so much of that comes from the fact that Peter Parker is no longer there.

If you haven’t already, read SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #9, and pre-order SUPERIOR-SPIDER-MAN #10, coming May 22!

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