A Classical Villain Trying To Be A New Age Hero In The Superior Octopus #1

by Josh Davison

Otto Octavius has moved to San Francisco, and that means that the Superior Octopus is the new protector of the city. We join the Octopus busting up a heist set up by the Night Shift, a group of vaguely horror-themed villains bent on threatening Silicon Valley tech moguls. Instead of sending them to jail, Otto decides to enlist the Night Shift to help him come to understand this new city and better protect it. Later, we join Otto at Horizon University as Professor Eliot Tolliver, and then Otto has an unwelcome guest at his home base.
In the backup story, we find the Web Warriors finishing up at Loomworld.

The Superior Octopus #1 cover by Travis Charest
The Superior Octopus #1 cover by Travis Charest

The Superior Octopus #1 is a fairly corny but overall fun one-off about the new life of Otto Octavius, formerly known as Doctor Octopus. We see how his crime-fighting operation works and the kinds of enemies he is watching.
The main charm is watching Otto try to apply his objectivist and technocratic idealism to the role of a street-level superhero. His overwrought and Shakespearean monologuing is fun to follow, and it’s especially entertaining watching him exchange this self-indulgent English with another classical mad scientist villain.
The Loomworld story connects vaguely to the Superior Octopus headliner but mostly serves as a prelude to Spider-Geddon #1.
The Superior Octopus #1 art by Mike Hawthorne, Wade von Grawbadger, and Jordie Bellaire
The Superior Octopus #1 art by Mike Hawthorne, Wade von Grawbadger, and Jordie Bellaire

Mike Hawthorne’s artwork serves the book well, giving Otto the intimidating yet regal posture he deserves. I’m actually quite fond of the Spider-Man-by-way-of-Hydra aesthetic of the costume, and Hawthorne and color artist Jordie Bellaire do it justice. The action beats with the mechanical arms look particularly good too. Wade von Grawbadger’s inkwork holds steady throughout and gives the visuals a little extra impact.
Mark Bagley, Craig Yeung, and Dono Sanchez-Almara with Protobunker cover the short Loomworld story, and it looks good too—no surprise considering it is Bagley.
The Superior Octopus #1 is a fun read that finds and old-fashioned villains struggling to become a new-aged hero. I’m personally quite fond of the “villain trying to be a hero” narrative, and Christos Gage does some enjoyable things with it here. This book is worth a recommendation. Check it out.
The Superior Octopus #1 comes to us from writers Christos Gage and Jed MacKay, artists Mike Hawthorne and Mark Bagley, inkers Wade von Grawbadger and Craig Yeung, color artists Jordie Bellaire and Dono Sanchez-Almara with Protobunker, letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles, cover artist Travis Charest, and variant cover artists Giuseppe Camuncoli, John Dell, and Andres Mossa as well as Yoon Lee.

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