Superior Spider-Man #31
Plot: Dan Slott
Script: Christos Gage
Pencils: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inks: John Dell & Terry Pallot
Color: Antonio Fabela
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
The short of it:
We’ve made it to the finale of The Superior Spider-Man. I’ll keep it brief so as not to spoil previous issues for anyone still catching up on what brought us to this point.
Peter Parker returns as the Amazing Spider-Man. Everyone who spent the last year complaining how this arc would ruin the upcoming film’s tie-in potential can breathe easy. The Green Goblin has taken over the city and is baiting the Superior Spider-Man with his love for a final showdown. The Avengers are tied up with Spider-Slayers, and Spidey’s list of allies is thinning.
Thankfully Spider-Man 2099 is hanging around and willing to lend a hand. He’s got a personal stake here with his idol’s reputation on the line and the involvement of Alchemax, the 2099 megacorp that controls the city he protects. Alchemax’s place in the grand scheme is explained. The identity of the Green Goblin is revealed. Peter wades through the damage Otto has wrought on his life and mourns the happiness his own return has killed.
It’s a satisfying conclusion in the most classic of Spider-Man stories.
Christos Gage, Will Sliney, and Edgar Delgado have prepared an epilogue, but the real consequences will be coming in the upcoming new Spider-Man issues, so I’ve rolled this story into my thoughts on the whole issue.
What I liked:
• The final panel. Slott and Camuncoli sum up the run and Spider-Man as a character in one shot.
• Slott’s characterization of everyone involved in so short a time.
• The art. Camuncoli, Dell, and Pallot make every scene, from violence to sobering acceptance, as dynamic and impactful as you could hope. Fabela’s colors are a little brighter, and the final showdown pops off of the page with optimism and hope now that Peter is back. It’s a nice touch.
• Alchemax’s roots and place in the Spider world.
• Comparing and contrasting Peter and Otto the entire issue.
• Liz Allan.
• Spider-Man 2099 back in action to set up his new title.
What I didn’t like:
• Poor Carlie.
• JJJ’s epilogue. Looks like we could be regressing here.
• That cover price.
I was skeptical at the beginning, but Marvel delivered. Nick Lowe and Ellie Pyle ensured this story has the weight and meaning to Spider-Man that Amazing Spider-Man #121 had. While stories like the Clone Saga and Maximum Carnage sometimes garner disdain and criticism (even if we ate them up at the time), The Superior Spider-Man stands tall as a wonderful Spider-Man story. This story walked a dangerous line in comics these days. It changed things for an audience who wants change, then recoils at the slightest change. In the end, things are as they were, and readers are safe and secure that what they know is now status quo again. I think some things may have been too regressed, too cyclical, but that remains to be seen.
We made it through, though. The skeptics and cynics, the haters who never even gave it a shot yet judged it, probably won’t accept it.
I will. Dan Slott and all the artists involved crafted something special. To appreciate how much Slott understands and loves Spider-Man, we had to see Spidey through someone else’s eyes, and understand how the hero can impact everyone he touches for better or worse. Otto Octavius was one of the best tools to do that with. This story isn’t just about Otto Octavius stealing Spider-Man’s body. It’s still very much Peter Parker’s story, and it’s in his absence that we feel him most. Everything felt wrong for a reason. And the Superior Spider-Man’s entire existence owed, in a twisted way, to Peter Parker as a role model.
Spider-Island celebrated the powers and outlandishness of the Spider-Man world. The Superior Spider-Man is a focused character study on what makes Peter, his nemeses, and his friends and family tick. I can’t wait to see what comes next.
Tags: Christos Gage, Dan Slott, Giuseppe Camuncoli, John Dell, Marvel, Superior Spider-Man