Devil’s Reign has kicked into high gear with two issues and now it’s time for the tie-in series to reign supreme. Enter Superior Four, by Zac Thompson and Davide Tinto, which features everyone’s favorite Spider-Man arch-nemesis Doc Ock with new abilities thanks to taking over the Fantastic Four headquarters. Nothing could possibly go wrong if Otto Octavius messes with the multiverse, right?
Something that is immediately obvious when you open this book is how well Thompson captures Doc Ock’s voice. He’s smart, the perfect amount of pompous, and just the right amount of evil. He’s a bad guy for sure, but at a level that’s fun to explore and enjoy. The book opens with Doc Ock talking through his childhood trauma via captions. It puts us on Doc Ock’s side before diving into the main conceit of the series.
That conceit, which features the Superior Four aka Doc Ocks of other dimensions that came into the form of Wolverine, Hulk, and Ghost Rider, is a lot of fun. Thompson defines each in subtle ways that add a dimension to each so that they aren’t just clones of Doc Ock. This allows the Hulk version, for instance, to come off as a bit more caring, or the Wolverine version is a bit more animalistic. Plus his adamantium arms are quite cool too.
Tinto and color artist Matt Milla put a lot of detail in every panel, with many smaller panels still doing the work to show all four Doc Ock characters. There’s a level of detail going into backgrounds that add richness to the world around the characters. It ends up making the book feel like it has more value. Character design is subtle with the Superior characters–they each seem to have the same patch on their thighs–but expect to find some new characters pop up in the book. There’s a cool remix on a classic that’ll have fans excited for sure.
It’s somewhat hard to believe Doc Ock from the 616 universe is in charge since these other Doc Ocks are powered up with specific hero powers. Some explanation as to how he took charge would help explain that, or at the very least give him an edge. As it stands, he sort of takes charge on the presumption that the 616 is likely the better universe.
Letters by Ariana Maher are clean and easy to follow. Sound effects use a stroke effect to make them pop. In a few panels, they are integrated with the art in interesting ways, popping up behind characters.
Readers who may not be interested in Devil’s Reign should know this tie-in isn’t that connected, at least at the start. The book is kicked off due to the events that move the Fantastic Four out of their headquarters, but this is really Doc Ock getting to play with some new tech and run rabid with his ego in more ways than one. That makes this an interesting exploration of the character that uses the multiverse in some fun ways.
Devil’s Reign: Superior Four #1 is a great start that’ll have Doc Ock fans thirsty for more. As a reader who loved Superior Spider-Man, it’s an easy recommendation as the creative team clearly understands the character. Revel in this series as it knows an ego can be a beautifully fun thing.
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