Administrator Sly Moore conspires against Darth Vader

Administrator Sly Moore has been in Emperor Palpatine’s inner circle when he was still Chancellor of the Galactic Republic. A cunning political figure hailing from the planet Umbara and  who is Force-Sensitive, Moore is dangerous, possibly much more so than the Emperor’s other right-hand person, Grand Vizier Mas Amedda. 

When Darth Vader was punished by Emperor Palpatine for his side quest of finding out more information about his son, Luke Skywalker, Moore was one of the allies the Emperor ordered to eliminate the former Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. After Ochi of Bestoon, a Sith assassin, thought that he had defeated Vader on the volcanic planet of Mustafar, the Administrator felt that she had to pick up the pieces due to knowing that Vader could not be kept down that easily. After Vader got off Mustafar with Ochi as his prisoner, Moore was on board a Star Destroyer pursuing Vader and sending an entire fleet of TIE Fighters after him. However, the Sith quickly defeated the TIEs thanks to his skills as a pilot, his abilities in the Force, and a giant space creature enroute to the planet Exegol.  

After she, Vader, and Ochi witness the Emperor’s true power and his plans involving Exegol, Moore also witnesses the Emperor’s armored enforcer being restored. However, this has the administrator concerned and by the end of “Darth Vader no.13,” she is revealed to have conspired with IG-88 and a secret group of followers to finally kill Vader.

Warning Spoilers Ahead 

“Star Wars: Darth Vader no. 14” begins on the Imperial throne world of Coruscant where two Imperial cadets are in awe at how Darth Vader survived his ordeal  on Mustafar by just being held together by Separatist droid parts. They comment that Vader is basically unstoppable. As Vader strides triumphantly with his new right hand man Ochi of Bestoon at his side, Administrator Sly Moore is not at all impressed. 

Seeing her disappointment, Emperor Palpatine instigates jealousy within the Umbaran when he asks if she is satisfied with Vader being restored to full function and health. Sly admits that she failed to defeat Vader which the Emperor agrees and then chuckles as he walks away from her. To make matters worse, as the Umbara follows the Emperor, Grand Vizier Mas Amedda tells her that she is needed at the Prescreen Department. Moore quickly learns that due to her failure, she has been demoted to Sub-administrator. The Umbaran looks on as Amedda and Palpatine take the turbolift toward the Imperial Palace. Several Imperial officers and stormtroopers look on at the now Sub-administrator Moore. 

Property of Lucasfilm and Marvel

As I continue to read this series, I continue to praise Greg Pak as one of the many writers who knows how to write Star Wars along with Charles Soule. In this issue, the story’s main focus is on Sly Moore and the ongoing battle for supremacy within the Emperor’s inner circle. The inner conflict within the Galactic Empire is nothing new in Star Wars. We have seen plenty of Imperials conspire against each other or their allies. For example, there have been several past stories where the Grand Moff Tarkin has traded blows with Darth Vader. In addition, there have been previous comic issues where the Emperor has sent potential new enforcers or apprentices to kill Vader so that he can replace him. Furthermore, there have been other stories in the Star Wars Legends lore, like “Shadows of the Empire, ” where Vader has deep animosity for the Emperor’s ally and leader of the Black Sun criminal syndicate, the Falleen Prince Xizor. In this latest “Vader” issue, Paks narration and dialogue between the characters  are a reminder of how the Sith operate with each other and their allies. I also feel that Pak’s inclusion of the subtle infighting within the Emperor’s inner circle is a reminder of  the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis with Wise. 

While toiling away at the Prescreen Department with two Imperial officers, the now Sub-administrator Moore discovers that a high-ranking Imperial has been given an invitation to attend the auction of the carbonite frozen Han Solo from Crimson Dawn. Moore also hears the name “Skywalker” and sees this as a potential opportunity to enact revenge on Darth Vader. 

Moore begins to put her plan into motion by heading to the repair block where Vader was fully restored back in “Darth Vader no. 12” so that she can get the schematics on his machine-infused anatomy. Mas Amedda catches her and the two discuss their roles within the Emperor’s inner circle and how they serve the Sith and do not have the power to “indulge in their pleasures.” Sly being sly tells Amedda to pretend that he did not catch her while she, unbeknownst to the Grand Vizier, creates a holodisk containing the schematics on Vader’s anatomy. 

It is here that we learn how bounty hunter assassin droid IG-88 was able to track down Vader and  temporarily have the upper hand on him during their fight in the last issue. It was Moore and her fellow conspirators who provided the assassin droid and his army of droids with the disk.

Property of Lucasfilm and Marvel

Toward the end of the comic, we are left off at the part where IG-88 meets with Moore and her followers. The droid tries to terminate his bounty contract since Vader defeated him during their last encounter. Much to Moore’s horror, Vader sneaks behind IG-88 and slices the droid with his crimson-colored lightsaber. Moore and her followers flee from the Sith Lord while they try to kill him. Moore also tries using the same mechanism IG-88 used to defeat Vader but ultimately, Vader overpowers her. 

With no choice and admitting defeat, the Umbaran bargains with Vader by mentioning the Crimson Dawn invitation to the auction of Han Solo and also how Luke (who would not be far behind to rescue the smuggler) could potentially kill Vader. Sly makes a promise with the Sith Lord to purchase Solo for Vader so that the Sith could not only take Solo but also potentially fight Luke. The two come to a compromise on the plan. However, at the auction, things go south when Jabba the Hutt and his fellow Hutt, Bokku (who has allied with Vader) outbid Sly. The administrator is puzzled as to why Bokku, who is allied with Vader, is bidding against her. Ochi responds that it is the Hutt’s way to humiliate her and himself which in turn would expose her weakness to the Emperor.The assassin further explains that although Sly was very power with uniting her allies to defeat Vader, the Sith Lord is too powerful to let that happen. The end of this issue leaves off toward where   “War of the Bounty Hunters no. 2” ended but with Vader inviting himself to the auction by force choking several Crimson Dawn guards. 

As I mentioned before, the character of Administrator Sly Moore is very dangerous and shrewd. Greg Pak brought this character to life. Before the “Vader” comic, Moore was just a character who stood on the sidelines with a brooding expression in the “Star Wars” prequel films.  Pak’s take on Sly Moore is a high ranking Imperial official who is an opportunist and a quick study. She is willing to do whatever it takes when an opening presents itself to execute her plan. She also is no push over when it comes to executing that plan by mentioning Luke Skywalker being the only person who could kill Vader and take his place. This shows that she is as much of a manipulator as the Emperor. In the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who dies in the fight between Vader and Luke (who she may or may not know are father and son). One way or another, whoever dies, she would probably go for the killing bow.

I also like the direction Vader is going in this arc also. Yes, he knows that Luke is his son however, it seems that the Emperor wants to use that in order for him to have one less Skywalker to worry about. The Emperor is hell bent on manipulating Vader to kill Luke or vice versa since having an enforcer strong in the Force would serve his agenda. Especially if the Emperor was able to seduce someone as powerful as Anakin to the Dark Side. It will be interesting to see if Vader really is set on killing Luke or if this is just a ruse to get the Emperor off his scent of his own plans which involve having his son rule at his side. 

Property of Lucasfilm and Marvel

The art by Raffaele Lenco and the coloring by Jason Keith played just as huge of a role  as Pak’s writing did in bringing Sly Moore to life. The drawings of Sly Moore show the stark differences between her time as administrator in  the Galactic Republic to her time as administrator for the Empire. When she was administrator for the Republic, she was wearing a silver, or lighter, gown while under the Empire, she was wearing an all black short trench coat with black slacks and boots. In addition to her clothing, Moore’s facial features are further darkened and chiseled, possibly to show her age throughout the 23-years she has been in service to Palpatine. But I also think that those additional lines and shading on her face make her far more brooding than she did in the prequel films. 

Overall, the “War of the Bounty Hunters” arc has been the blockbuster of the summer that has rocked the Skywalker Saga in the Disney era. There hasn’t been such an arc since the Shadows of the Empire that has changed the landscape and expanded the Star Wars Universe. With the inclusion of Han Solo’s ex girlfriend Qi’ra, from “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” pulling the strings by gathering all entities in the galaxy, there is no way that it would be a “Star Wars” blockbuster without Darth Vader. Greg Pak’s post “Empire Strikes Back” Vader is ruthless, determined, and cold-blooded. From what I read, he knows that he cannot take on the Emperor alone but he also knows that Luke could very well defeat him. With that, Vader has no choice but to kill Luke or at least defeat him enough so that he could have one less potentially powerful enemy to worry about. Or, as I mentioned before, Vader is likely playing possum and secretly wants to have Luke at his side (which he actually does) so that they can overthrow the Emperor. 

“Star Wars: Darth Vader no.14” is now out wherever comic books are sold.

Writer: Greg Pak

Artist: Raffaele Ienco

Colorist: Jason Keith

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagnna

Publisher: Marvel
Synopsis: “The Blade Behind the Curtain” For decades, no figure has stood as close to theEmperor with so much mystery surrounding her. Who is theUmbaran? What is her role within the Empire and in the War of the Bounty Hunters? And what happens when she emerges from the darkness to challenge Darth Vaderhimself? Featuring an unprecedented look at the inner workings of the Emperor  inner circle – and the return of IG-88!

Review: MeSseD Comic


Creator/Writer: Jay B. Kalagayan

Artist(s): Geof Raker

Logo Design: Geoff Raker

I have had the awesome opportunity to read Cincinnati-based Jay B. Kalagayan’s MeSsed comic, which takes place in the mean sewers of the public utility: the Metropolitan Sewer System or MSD.

The comic centers around filter, or sewer worker, Lilliput who has to brave the mean sewers of the MSD to keep the effluent, or waste, flowing. When I read the file in the comic which states that Lilliput’s “fellow sewer workers” whine, I was reminded by what podcaster and radio host Ken Coleman said about “the unfortunate reality” being “that 70% of Americans aren’t satisfied with their current work situation.” The same could definitely be said for most of the filters who work for the MSD but, not Lilliput who is described to be “tough, smart and adaptable.”

Lilliput is seen as dedicated to her mission to keep the waste clean by any means necessary. An example of this is in the Volume One story “Choke”,  when she fights a creature that was clogging the sewer system.

We also learn that she is an orphan and also described to “seek familial bonds.” We see this several times throughout the comic with her interactions with her pet rat or “partner-in-slime,” Akka who is a very dependable as her master and is the closest thing to family Lilliput has. In the MeSsed Volume Two story Messenger, Akka goes through hell and back to send help for Lilliput by forging an alliance with a centipede name Footsie, while going toward a deadly swarm of centipedes.

Another instance where MesSed goes into depth about Lilliput being an orphan is an conversation with an alligator hatchling name Bekka.  Bekka was cast off from the Allicroc tribe, a tribe of alligators living in the sewer, due to not being wanted by their chief. Bekka asks Lilliput what is like being orphaned and the sewer work tells her that it is tough but she gives it a positive spin on it by saying that “amongst the flotsam jetsam, you get to choose your family. Pick new friends, siblings, parents.” This shows that despite working in the sewer and even being orphaned, Lilliput has a very sunny disposition.

While reading MeSsed, I was introduced to a strange world, but a world that is similar to our own. Like our world, the world of the MSD has groups like the filters (workers, like our heroine Lilliput, who keep the effluent flowing), Residents of the Roots (homless, bunker people, and others), Allicroc tribe, centipedes, and rats. The Allicroc tribe has a peace treaty of sorts with the MSD. In addition, Bekka was given to MSD as a liaison to further keep the peace between them and the public utility.

MeSsed has an ensemble of characters. The aforementioned Lilliput and her pet Akka are the dynamic duo in this comic. Next is Fat Mucker, the MSD manager of operations. She is described by Lilliput to be a “crazy aunt,” Fat Mucker also composes the files or reports at the end of each issue.  Another character (a favorite of mine) is Pilty, an eccentric inventor who lives in the sewers and creates some gadgets for Lilliput and other MSD workers. In the Volume Two comic “Echoes,” Pilty invents a device called an “echolo” which helps sewer workers see in the dark with the use of sound. he also seen as not being afraid of Fat Mucket by being blunt about the timeliness of her inventions which the MSD manager demands. The character reminds of “Q” from the James Bond movies; so she’s like a “Q” who operates in the sewers. Another character is Sandshell who is another filter and Kidneyshell, who is the MSD Treatment Manager.

If you want to read something unique, unorthodox,  or out of the box, this is the comic to read. It doesn’t take place in a typical city or town, a planet in another galaxy, a certain past, a apocalyptic time, or whenever or wherever. It takes place in a sewer of all places. A smelly and dangerous sewer where people actually live, monsters clog up the system, and alligators talk. That’s the world of MeSsed.


If you also like black and white art, that this is definitely the comic worth reading. The gritty black and white art done by Dylan Speeg and Clint Basinger brings out some noir vibes. It also evokes the feelings of working in the sewers all the while the character of Lilliput brings out her colorful personality. This is the comic’s yin and yang and it goes perfectly together.

Kalagayan created a story about a young woman who is just going through life working in a sewer but also making it her purpose (sometimes risking her own life) to keep the water flowing. Lilliput to the MSD sewer system is like Superman to Metropolis or if you want to go another route, Lilliput to the MSD sewer system is like Clark Kent to the Daily Planet.  After all, Lilliput is both an employee and guardian of the MSD sewer system.  

And to me, this comic represents that, like Lilliput, we can make the best of anything, even in the most stinkiest(which I knew the MSD sewer system is) of situations. It is possible that Kalagayan might have unwittingly wrote an affirmation in the form of a comic book about a young orphaned woman who, if she wanted to, could have played victim and blame the world for her misfortune. But that young woman, in my opinion, is living her best life by adhering to her mission. And I find that awesome and heroic.

I am looking forward to reading more MesSed and see how Lilliput continues to grow and how she tackles her challenges in the sewer and in her life. After all, this comic reminds me that life is like the sewer, we need to be there to keep the effluent flowing so that nothing gets clogged up in the chokes.

If you want to purchase MesSed comics or trade paperbacks, or just learn more about the comics, you can go to the website or your can also follow the comic on twitter @MeSseDComics.


-Brian of Earth-16

Coronavirus: A Time to Get Creative

The news of the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has spread almost as quickly as the virus itself. When it was announced that the virus was becoming a pandemic, I felt a tremendous amount of stress, anger, and anxiety. I knew that this virus was going to affect almost every industry or sector on the planet. Sports, education, entertainment, retail, construction, the list goes on. I knew that it would definitely affect the comic book industry, an industry I have grown up with and love.

Several comic book conventions, especially where the Coronavirus is running rampant, had to be postponed to later dates. I have to expect the possibility of Phoenix Fan Fusion  (a comic book and entertainment convention I attend every year around Memorial Day weekend) being cancelled. I am hoping that it doesn’t get cancelled since I enjoy attending that convention but, if it is a way to keep people safe and healthy, then it’s necessary. In addition, several comic book shops may face closure due to the decline in sales.

As news of comic book conventions being cancelled, sporting events being played in empty arenas, employment being affected, and people getting infected or dying, all sorts of questions flooded my mind. What was going to happen in the next couple weeks? Months? Will things be the way they were before this stupid virus made its unwanted presence known? Then I realized that this is not a time to be fearful or sad. It is a time to learn some new things. It is a time to be sharp both physically and mentally. It is time to get right with our Maker. It is a time to be respectful toward one another. It is a time to get creative.

During the first week of quarantine, I stayed home to work remotely. After work ended, I started to devote my time to reading more about the construction behind the comic book. In addition, I also opened a new Twitch account where I interact with people, play video games, and promote by podcast the Earth-16 Comics Wire.

I was inspired by Eric Stephenson, the publisher from Image Comics, that I need to do my part to help the comic book industry. Just today, I donated money to a campaign aimed at helping comic book retailers during these times. You can find the campaign by clicking this link.  I also decided to dedicate my time (as I mentioned before) in learning about comic books and reading some awesome comics. Furthermore, I am planning on podcasting more and using my Twitch to spread positive vibes for not only the comic book industry but for everyone else. And there will be more podcast segments to come in the future.

As sad, jacked up, and crazy these times are, I want all of you reading this to remember that we can beat this thing. We have creativity, faith, love, and grit. And also, do not let what the news media says about this virus deter you from doing what you love.

As Superman told the trouble kid in Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman, “You’re much stronger than you think you are. Trust me.”

And as Superman always says: let’s dream of a better tomorrow!

-Brian from Earth-16

Review: The Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn

I just saw The Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn, or simply Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey today. And I have to say that, I liked the film. Maybe I am just saying this out of bias because I am a fan of Batman and Harley Quinn is one of my favorite villains/anti-heroes. But there it is. I liked the film. It was fun and enjoyable.

Margot Robbie (Wolf of Wall Street), reprises her role as Harley Quinn (from the Suicide Squad), And in this film, there were a lot of dark but funny jokes. Plenty of smashing. A lot of campy scenes. Several scenes where the crime lord loses his mind every time his plans go awry.  I mean, it was really a fun movie.

Some people might have seen this film as a female empowerment propaganda being shoved down our throats. But what I have seen with this film is nothing new. There have been many depictions of Harley Quinn becoming her own person and standing up the the Joker, the man she fell in love with and who later on bullied her. This story has been seen in various comic books and there was an episode in Batman: The Animated Series where Harley broke away from the Joker and started teaming with Poison Ivy. Even the adult cartoon, Harley Quinn, voiced by Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory) elludes into Harley declaring her independence from the Joker despite trying to get a spot on the Legion of Doom.

In this film however, Harley Quinn is not the only one struggling to break away from the chains of her past. First, we have the Black Canary, Dinah Lance, played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell, who is trying to break away from the dangerous yet immature, and funny, antagonist crime lord, Black Mask (played by Ewan McGreggor, who also played the young version of the Jedi Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars. Next, we have Helena Bertinelli, the Huntress, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Plilgrim Saves the World) who seems to be locked by her own vengeance against the people who murdered her family. Then we have Renee Montoya, played by Rosie Perez (White Men Can’t Jump, Pineapple Express) who is a brilliant cop that is bitter with her treatment at the Gothan City Police Department due to her partner taking all the credit for her hard work. Last but not least, we have Cassandra Cain, played by the young actress Ella Jay Basco, is trying to break away from a life stricken by poverty and a dysfunctional foster family. So, to me, the overall theme of Harley Quinn was breaking away. And this is what makes Harley relatable to all of us.

Some of us had to break away from the things in our life we knew held us back. For some people, it was someone they loved. Or for some people, it is that job that sucks the life out of them. Whatever is or was, something in our lives held us back and like Harley, we begin to question if we really could make it out on our own without that something anchoring us. To Harley, Joker was a sense of protection and security but as Benjamin Franklin once warned: those who desire security over freedom, deserve neither. Harley learned that the moment she decided that she was going to declare her independence from Joker. And that is one of the things I admire about her.

I will admit, there were times where the film went back and forth due to Harley’s narrating but at the same time, that was what made it fun. Again, I enjoyed the film and to me, Margot Robbie is Harley Quinn, without question.

I definitely would recommend anyone give this film a watch and yeah, maybe there are some themes in it, but in the end, its still a fun film and it has Harley Quinn in it. Enough said.


-Brian From Earth-16


Review: Undiscovered Country

Undiscovered County

Written by Scott Synder and Charles Soule

Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Daniele Orlandini

Coloring by Matt Wilson

Lettering by Crank!

Publisher: Image Comics

When Undiscovered Country was announced during the fall of 2019, I knew I had to read this comic. After all, it is written by two of my favorite writers, Scott Synder (Batman, Dark Nights Metal) and Charles Soule (Star Wars and Darth Vader). And it is a story about my country and my home, the United States of America. So, how could I pass this up?

The story is about a United States from a future not too far from our present. A United States that has closed off its borders to the entire world. In addition, this is also a story about humanity on the brink of extinction thanks to a sky virus and the delicate armistice that could lead to yet another war. And at the center of it all? Seven strangers chosen to go on a diplomatic mission to get the cure for the sky virus after a message was sent over by a doctor by the name of Sam Elgin.

We are introduced to siblings who originate from the United States, Daniel and Charlotte “Lottie” Graves who are mere opposites of each other. Lottie is a doctor who is determined to get the cure of the sky virus and save as many lives as she can while Daniel is a hired mercenary on the run. Then we have Ace Kenyatta, a specialist in all thing United States including the history and society of the country. Valentina Sandoval, a multimedia journalist with a reliable drone name “Buzz.” Janet Worthington, a diplomat from the Western Alliance Euro Afrique and her Eastern counterpart, Enlou Chang, a diplomat from the Pan Asiatic Prosperity Zone. And Colonel Bukowski, a pilot from Poland.

When group arrives in America, they are ambushed by an odd group led by a mysterious man known as the Destiny Man, a xenophobe who does not want any foreign boots on American soil and the comic’s main antagonist. The group is eventually rescued by a masked figure revealed to be none other than Dr. Sam Elgin proclaiming himself to be Uncle Sam and telling Daniel and Lottie that he wants them to save America.

As the story goes further, it is clear that in addition to their expertise or talents, every single character has their own motives that led to them being a part of this expedition. These motives are mini anecdotes that flesh each of the characters out. And it is a reminder of why I enjoy Synder’s and Soule’s writing so much. Synder used a similar anecdotal style when writing the backstory of Lincoln March and ancestors of Bruce Wayne during his run on Batman. And with Soule’s writing, I feel there is a bit of that emotional element that every character expresses; I’ve seen this on his Vader work when the Sith Lord would reminisce about his days as Anakin Skywalker. Like with any awesome adventure story, Synder and Soile take us on a ride where we see some unexpected twists and turns in this comics and this is only just the beginning.

I also love the art drawn by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Daniele Orlandini. I remembered seeing Camuncoli’s work when reading Superior Spider-Man and Vader (he and Soule worked together on this comic) and I was hooked with the grittiness of the art which I see was perfect for Undiscovered Country. I did some research on Daniele Orlandini and saw that she did work on Marvel’s Darth Vader and I could see that same boldness into the art. In addition, the coloring by Matt Wilson was also a great tag team partner to that gritty art.

I am looking forward to more issues for this comic. I have read three issues so far and I read that Synder and Soule plan on making this into an ongoing series. If that is the case, I would love to buy an omnibus in the future because this has got to be one of my favorite series from a non-DC and Marvel title.  I recommend that you check out Undiscovered Country. To me, this story is as American as it gets. Not in entirely in a, as Lex Luthor from Superman: Red Son would put it, “Norman Rockwell, apple pie, Stars n’ Stripes, and the Fourth of July,” sense but close enough. I recommend that you all give it a read.


-Brian of Earth 16


UPDATE:The Earth-16 Comics Wire

Hello everyone,

Due to my hectic schedule, I have been trying to keep up to date with the Earth-16 Comics Wire. For 2020, I promised myself to be utilizing more of my multimedia platform which includes my podcast, my Youtube page, and this blog that you are reading.

Sometime next week, you are going to see my latest Youtube video (which I am current;y working on right now) and I am also going to be doing a podcast segment with a comic book creator. I’m going to really make this happen and I am going to look cool doing it.

In addition, I am also going to be showing some other surprises along the way. I feel that I need to ignore the burnout and just…well in the wise words of Yoda: “do or do not, there is no try.” And man, does that make a lot of sense. (Thanks Master Yoda!)

And yes, you will be seeing more written comic book reviews and essays on this blog as well in the coming days, weeks, months, and years ahead.

Rest assured people, I am going to be trucking along and hustling. I figured despite my personal battles and burnout, I should be doing what I love. Period. Point. Blank. And that’s writing, vlogging, and talking all things comics and geekdom. Earth-16 style from yours truly.

And as I always say…#allcomicscelebrated!



-Brian From Earth-16

My Take On the Superior Spider-Man

This past week, I’ve read the Superior Spider-Man which was written by Dan Slott. Some of the issues in the series were drawn by Ryan Stegman and Giuseppe Camuncoli. The series first debuted around 2013. In the Amazing Spider-Man comic, the villainous Dr. Otto “Octopus” Octavius swapped bodies with the heroic Peter Parker to save his own life.

Inside the dying Otto’s body, Peter told Otto to protect those that he cared and loved and that with great power, came great responsibility. Otto decided to do just that but by his own means. Otto Octavius decided to become a better Spider-Man than Peter Parker ever was by christening himself as the Superior Spider-Man.

Such a move created a controversial buzz among Spider-Man fans. Many were upset that Slott had Peter and Doc Ock swap bodies. I had to admit, I too was upset and thought it was a rather odd move and did not bother reading the comic until this year. I even thought that fan backlash would force Slott to quickly drop the title. However, that never happened probably because Slott wanted people to see what would happen next.

What propelled me to read the comic was our of curiosity. I wanted to see what it would be like for a villain to take on a heroic role. And after reading the first issue, Slott’s story direction made me want to read more. And if that was Slott’s agenda, I’d say he did a pretty damn good job.

I saw that being Spider-Man made Otto feel that he had a greater power and a greater responsibility. From using that same intellect that made him a dangerous supervillain, Otto became a more lethal incarnation of Spider-Man. From the miniature spider-bots to the Spider-Man army he created, Octavius was not the Spider-Man anyone wanted to mess with. He was not the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man we all grew to know and love. He was every hero’s and villain’s worst nightmare. Just ask Kingpin or the Avengers.

One of my favorite moments in the comic was the real Peter Parker fighting to reclaim his life. There was a battle between Peter and Otto within Peter’s mind. This reminded me of the battle between the two Superman in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace where Superman’s light and dark sides fought. However, the Amazing Spider-Man lost and the Superior Spider-Man was victorious. But knowing Peter Parker, the OG Spider-Man is not one who gives up so easily.

Otto, now in full control of Peter Parker’s life, set out to rebuild his life. He earned a doctorate at Empire State University, used his genius and technology which helped drop the crime rate in New York City, he fell in love with a fellow Empire State student, Anna Marie Marconi who had dwafism, and started a company called Parker Industries.

As I read into the series, I saw some parts that showed Doc Ock’s past. As a kid he was bullied by both his father and the kids at school. The only love Doc Ock had was from his mother. It was here where I felt very sorry for Otto. All that he wanted to do was be a scientist and himself. And it was also here that I learned that Peter and Otto were not too different. Peter was also bullied but he lived in a home where both people loved him.

At the climax of the story, several tragedies and tribulations make Otto realize that Peter Parker was the Superior Spider-Man. The return of the Green Goblin, now christening himself as the Goblin King and terrorizing New York brought about this. The Goblin also knew that Otto had taken over the mind of Spider-Man thanks to reading the journal from Peter’s ex-girlfriend Carlie Cooper who was able to piece together why Spider-Man was acting unusual and gaining the resources for his extreme war on crime. After seeing a childhood friend get killed by saving Otto’s life, New York in chaos by the Green Goblin, and Anna Marie kidnapped, Otto knew that only one man could end it all: Peter Parker. The real Peter Parker.

It is here where Otto finally admitted that Peter Parker was the real Spider-Man and that in order to make things right, he had to erase himself from Peter’s mind just like he had tried to erase Peter. Peter and Otto parted on somewhat better terms and Peter returned as the Amazing Spider-Man. After Peter was able to defeat the Goblin, he slowly but gradually began to learn what Otto did while he was gone. But in the end,Peter began to have a new lease on life after his experience.

Overall, I really enjoyed the comic series. I grew to also like the character of the Superior Spider-Man. The Otto incarnation is another favorite Spider-Man next to the original, Spider-Man Noir, and Miles Morales.

I also have to say that for me, this series is up there with Batman: Year One, All-Star Superman, and Invincible. Spider-Man has always been one of my favorite Marvel heroes next to Captain America. Like Superman, Spider-Man is the epitome of never giving up even when shit is seemingly hitting the fan or during the darkest of times. And in this comic, Peter never gave up. Without a doubt, Dan Slott made this a true Spider-Man story. And I bet that it took great power and great responsibility to write it.

And as Stan Lee would always say, Excelsior!

Brian of Earth16

Shahrazad Kickstarter Event at Jesse James Comics

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This past Saturday was awesome. I took part in a a kickstarter event aimed at funding a  a comic book project called Shahrazad which is published by Big Dog Ink (which is also celebrating it’s 10-year anniversary) which is under Aspen Comics, which is based in Culver City, Ca.

The event was held at Jesse James’ Comics in Glendale, Arizona. This was the second comic book shop I’ve been in Arizona with the first being Gotham City Comics (One of my favorites) in Mesa.  I had the awesome pleasure of meeting story creator Tom Hutchinson and colorist Nei Ruffino (also a colorist at DC Comics) who were both very awesome.

Tom told me and another person about the inspiration behind creating Shahrazad. I learned that Shahrazad was an inspired by the tale of Shahrazad in the Arabian folklore, the One Thousand and One Nights, or commonly known as the Arabian Nights. In Arabian Nights, Shahrazad was given to a Sultan as a wife. Now this Sultan was known for killing women he married but once he married Shahrazad, she told him elaborate stories to pique his interest so that he wouldn’t kill her and the other women he planned on marrying. And as she told him so many stories night after night, that he ultimately forgot his plan to kill her.

Tom also told me that another one of those inspirations was from the resurgence of Doctor Who. As I read the comic, I could see some elements of Doctor Who, due to Shahrazad living through several life times and different incarnations. And as a Doctor Who fan, I was impressed with the creators adding that element to the comic.

After reading Sharazad Volume#1, I read from several letters to the reader from co-writers Kim Hutichinson and Kari Castor I learned that this was a collaborative project. I have read several of their own insights into creating the comic.  And after reading all of volume one in addition to those insights, I decided to offer my support to the kickstarter.

I met a lot of awesome people and also joined a Facebook comic book community group, snacked on a pizza slice and three M&Ms (trying to avoid having too much due to sugar), and I got my comics autographed by Nei and Tom.

Overall, it was a really fun event, and I encourage all of you to visit the aspen comics website to pick up a copy of Shahrazad, by clicking here. I also encourage you to give money to the kickstarter for Shahrazad: Sidequests-“The Geisha In King Author’s Court” here at this link.

-Brian From Earth-16