Greetings from the Odinson,
A few days ago, after the release of Superior Spider-Man #13 (which I highly recommend by the way), a colleague of mine here in the mycomicshop.com office came over and in passing mentioned that the current state of Spider-Man’s corner of the Marvel Universe reminded him of when DC did The Death of Superman storyline, more specifically the aftermath tale – Reign of the Supermen. This got me thinking, and though the storylines are quite different in their execution, there are parallels that can be drawn.
Let’s see, iconic super hero falls in an epic battle witnessed by his supporting cast and the world (see Dying Wish and The Death Superman). CHECK. The death of this icon generates huge media buzz in the real world. CHECK. Deceased hero is replaced by doppelganger[s]. CHECK.
The Man of Steel (Steel) – John Henry Irons is a genius engineer who created a suit of armor and a powerful hammer and now fights for truth and justice to honor the name of the greatest hero the DCU has ever known – Superman.
The Man of Tomorrow (Cyborg-Superman) – Astronaut Hank Henshaw’s unstable mind was placed in the robotic body of one of Superman’s sentries. Now he is a major villain in the DCU and leader of the mechanical army known as the Manhunters.
The Metropolis Kid (Superboy) – Conner Kent is a Kryptonian/human hybrid cloned from the DNA of the DCU’s greatest hero and villain – Superman and Lex Luthor. He has the potential to be the world’s greatest hero (see Infinite Crisis) or a dangerous threat (see The Insiders).
The Last Son of Krypton (The Eradicator) – Originally an ancient alien device used to “eradicate” other cultures and replace it with Krypton’s own culture, the Eradicator has evolved into a humanoid form with various powers. The Eradicator, though he is wont to help the Man of Steel due to his Kryptonian programming, walks a thin line between good and bad, for when the Eradicator deals with the criminal element, he does so as Judge, Jury, and Executioner. When the Eradicator returns, will it be to help mankind or destroy [eradicate] it? Only time will tell.
Venom (Flash Thompson) – Former star athlete and bully, and current friend to Peter Parker, Flash Thompson served his country as a soldier fighting against terrorists in the Middle East. Severe gunshot wounds suffered in the call of duty took his legs. An alien symbiote gave them back. Now as the super human government sponsored Special Agent, Flash fights for truth and justice in honor of the hero that he idolizes – Spider-Man.
Superior Spider-Man (Otto Octavius) – As Doctor Octopus he was Spider-Man’s greatest adversary. He was once a major villain in the Marvel U and leader of the super villain hit squad known as the Sinister Six. Now, the diabolical mind of Otto Octavius resides in the body of his greatest foe, but influenced by the conscience of Peter Parker, he is steered toward the path of righteousness. But if Octavius is going to be a hero, he will be his kind of hero. He’s a smarter Spider-Man. He’s a more dangerous Spider-Man. He’s a Superior Spider-Man.
Scarlet Spider (Kaine) – Kaine is a clone of Peter Parker, endowed with all the super human powers of Spider-Man, but with none of the responsibility. He’s not as noble as the Amazing Spider-Man and he’s not as precarious as the Superior Spider-Man. He lies somewhere in between, an X-Factor that could go either way – good or bad.
Superior Carnage (???) – Originally Cletus Kasady was a serial killer who was imprisoned alongside Eddie Brock, the original Venom. When Venom’s alien symbiote reproduced, its offspring attached itself to Kasady, and Carnage was born. Carnage is a lethal monster that kills without conscience. In the pages of Superior Carnage, the super criminals known as the Wizard and Klaw have plans for the now sans Kasady symbiote. Moving forward, will this dangerous creature be a force for good or evil? Only time will tell.
Superman eventually returned from the grave. Steel went on to serve as a member of the Justice League, the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes, and Superboy became a perennial member of the Teen Titans. Both have become stalwart protectors of justice in their own right and mainstays in the DCU. The Cyborg-Superman has become an oft recurring thorn in the side of the Man of Steel and even played a major role in the epic Sinestro Corps War. The Eradicator’s future is a mystery.
What will happen to Superior Spider-Man when Peter Parker makes his inevitable return? Venom has been welcomed into the ranks of the Avengers, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and the Thunderbolts. Will this incarnation of Venom become a mainstay of the Marvel Universe? The futures of the Scarlet Spider and Superior Carnage remain a mystery.
Both John Henry Irons and Flash Thompson are now heroes inspired by the greatest icons of their respective universes. Both Cyborg-Superman and Doctor Octopus have their minds placed within bodies belonging to their greatest foes. Both Superboy and Kaine are clones of fallen icons. And both the Eradicator and Carnage are strange alien visitors whose motivations and futures are shrouded in mystery.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell