Review: The Superior Spider-Man #26 by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos

I was growing bored of The Superior Spider-Man. The book has been a series of peaks and valleys since it began, with Dan Slott managing to keep me hooked with curve balls and flat out balls. I never thought he’d be able to get rid of Peter Parker, but he did. I didn’t think he could suspend my belief in continuity by having the Avengers buy into Doc Ock’s farce, but he did. As Slott’s plan for this new Spidey unfurled and we puzzle pieces snapped together, the book was able to recover its momentum from the stumbling blocks it had early on.

Despite this, it still couldn’t shake it’s core flaws. How could this serious, brutal, efficient Spider-Man keep pulling the wool over the rest of the Marvel Universe. As readers, the tale is entertaining and fresh, but we also don’t want to see Captain America, Mary Jane Watson, and Spidey’s many friends and foes act this oblivious and stupid. Something has to give, again.
Like every doubt I had since this idea’s inception, Dan Slott catches me at the last moment. In issue #25, Iron Man gets the Avengers to smarten up about their ally turned antagonist. This issue, the biggest undercurrent tying the title together breaks into the spotlight as the turf war between the Green Goblin and Hobgoblin explodes.

It’s a shame it’s just boring.

As a prelude to the Goblin Nation storyline, it lets us know exactly where things stand going in. Questions we’ve had about the Green Goblin are answered (maybe). The Avengers are done putting up with Spider-Man’s attitude (maybe). Peter is back in the fold (a certainty!). The balance of power shifts again – this last one is the most exciting to me. In a title with one classic criminal mastermind trying to out think the others, watching all the machinations and manipulations spin into place is the most satisfying part.

The Goblin feud is a story that would play entirely different were Peter Parker under the mask, and benefits from Otto Octavius being the one in the hot seat. It’s stories like this that really make the concept shine and show it was worth investing in.

That said, Slott’s not really on form here. Set up for a new story? That’s what this issue does. If you’ve been following the book, there’s not much new offered here. We’ve already had Peter existing. We’ve had the Avengers concerned, although now Iron Man’s brains are on the case. And the Goblin show down is a lot of flash and fluff, although there’s (maybe) reason for it. It just seems scripted to yank our chains with Green Goblin’s identity a few times.

It’s a jump on point, and for that, suffices. Loyal followers might feel cheated.

Art duties are split, with Humberto Ramos (with inker Victor Olazaba and colorist Edgar Delgado), Javier Rodriguez (with inker David Lopez ), and Marcos Martin penciling the Goblin, Avengers, and Peter Parker scenes. It’s a nice touch, as each artist offers their strengths to the tone of the scenes. Ramos’s trademark boldness stands out even more due to Rodriguez and Martin sharing a similar style, which helps set the mood between action, tense dialogue, and an introspective soliloquy.

As Doctor Octopus loses his grip on his scheme, so lost is he in his superiority complex, the scene is being set for the real Spider-Man to take his life back. Much like Otto’s confrontation with the Avengers, the set up and execution may be questionable, but the misdirection is so dramatic you can’t help but let it go to see what happens next.

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