In this exciting era of spider stories with Spider-Man Beyond, where Doc Ock is already up to a lot of shenanigans, Superior Four could have been easy to miss this stealth Devil’s Reign tie-in if you haven’t been closely following writer Zac Thompson’s tweets about Alfred Molina and Superior Spider-Man. Despite this being an event tie-in, it works completely fine outside of Devil’s Reign and acts as a sort of homage to some of my favorite Marvel tales, such as the New Fantastic Four arc, Dark Reign and the aforementioned Superior Spider-Man. Even with all of that, Superior Four still manages to be, in essence, a simple multiverse tale about the mind of the great Doctor Octopus trying to prove he is superior to Reed Richards and every other Doctor Octopus across the multiverse.
Writer Zac Thompson completely gets Ock’s god-complex/parental troubles that are at the root of Doc Ock and always will be. When Ock originally returned in Spencer’s Amazing Spider-Man #70 last year, it felt nothing from the end of Superior Spider-Man (2018) would be mentioned ever again. Thanks to Thompson, those worries are no longer an issue.
At times, the multiversal aspect bogs down this issue, but there’s more than enough charisma from Doc Ock to keep everything going smoothly. However, the three other Ocks, including a Hulk, Wolverine & Ghost Rider counterpart, don’t have much to offer other than some visual flair. Artist Davide Tinto and colorist Matt Milla make the issue so fluid and seamless that I just want more and more of the Doctors Octopus fighting the multiverse. I want more shots of the Bridge, power of the sun in the palm of his hands kind of imagery.
A tease at the end that has me excited for the next installment. Not a perfect issue but a solid start. This book understands its continuity and loves the Marvel universe, with attention to some of my favorite eras of Marvel. I am glad this mini-series exists, and I can’t wait to have the full story and the full plan of whatever Ock is up to this year. We’re entering yet another mini-reboot of Amazing Spider-Man in April, and I don’t want the plan showcased here to lose momentum or be halted in any way.