“Darkest Hours, part 4”
WRITERS: Dan Slott and Christos Gage
COLORS: Delgado, Fabela, and Gandini
LETTERER: Chris Eliopoulos
VARIANT COVER: J.G. Jones
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Ellie Pyle
EDITOR: Stephen Wacker
The Superior Venom gets in an epic battle with the Avengers that gives time for the Hobgoblin and the Goblin King to move their chess pieces forward. After a few pages of pummeling the Avengers, Peterpus calls in backup from his trusty Spider goons, which gives the Goblin Knight a chance to gather Intel on how Spider Island reacts during emergency protocols. From there we get our first glimpse at what has become of Carlie Cooper (Peters most recent Ex-Girlfriend) after getting dosed with some goblin goop last issue. Cooper has now been christened with the new horrifying villain name…MONSTER. Yes that’s the best they could come up with. From this awkward reveal we cut back to the still ongoing fight in which we see the Avengers still getting their butts kicked and Captain America sending Iron Man to find Flash Thompson. Iron Man uses SCIENCE to heal an injured Cardiac and gathers up Flash in order to quell the rampaging symbiote.
Next we see a disgruntled youth convince an angry mob to start squashing some spider-bots and the evil Carlie destroying some of the Hobgoblins goons. Long story short (no really this issue is extra long) Flash arrives in Iron Mans suit and ghost Peter helps Ock rid himself of Venom placing it back where it belongs….on Eddie Bro- no wait still Flash. So in the end the Goblins declare war and Ock blames all of his actions as of late on the symbiote. Oh and the issue ends like three other issues before it with the Avengers saying “THIS TIME WE STOP SPIDER-MAN…NO SERIOUSLY GUYS THIS TIME WE STOP HIM” after Iron Man proves the rest of the Avengers don’t understand that heroes usually don’t randomly start offing their villains.
This issue is mainly a fight issue that packs in a lot of subplots in order to give the story some meaning. At least the Goblins finally start doing things this issue like destroying the awesome status quo of the current Hobgoblin. I love the idea of the Hobgoblin being in charge of the expired super villain franchises and this issue just tears it down. Which I knew one day had to happen but I was hoping it would at least make it out of Superior and pop back up in Amazing.
The best part of this issue is the Avengers battle. I loved seeing Spidey finally go toe to toe with the Avengers it seems like every other time Superior Spider-man has angered the Avengers he goes down way to easily barely putting up a fight. Although Slott and Gage seem to overcompensate a bit as he takes Thor down fairly easily. Thor has taken punches from the Hulk does a Venom Spidey really have that kind of power? Thank god the Avengers didn’t fall for the excuse that Superior Spider-Man gave regarding the symbiote being to blame for all of his actions. I really feared that this storyline was only going to serve as an excuse that would set back the believability of Superior Spider-man even more. Luckily Slage (which is my new official moniker for Slott and Gage’s team up) recognized finally that the Avengers aren’t idiots and know a lie when they have been told it….eventually. The other big plus was that when Ghost Peter finally makes his appearance he isn’t being used for blatant comedic effect like he was in the early days of Superior. This is the Peter Parker we know and love the guy who can put on a serious face from time to time to solve his problems with smarts rather than acting without a plan.
The biggest negative of this book is that it ends the exact same way as two other issues of Superior. Captain America saying “It’s time to bring Spider-man in” is essentially his new catchphrase. The Avengers never do anything meaningful. At this point I half expect the Avengers to confront Spidey about the missing security footage, for him to say he was attempting to watch Youtube, accidentally deleted it, and for them to pat him on the back sending him on his merry way. Asides from that issue there isn’t too much to complain about. Carlie Cooper being renamed “MONSTER” is pretty lame, and some of the dialogue with the Goblins is a little awkward. The mere fact that The Goblin King told Carlie he was Norman and then refused to unmask because she might still be a cop came off as weird to me. YOU JUST “supposedly” TOLD HER YOUR IDENTITY WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES SHOWING HER YOUR FACE MAKE? I think obviously this is meant to keep the reader on the edge guessing whether or not it really is Norman and at this point I honestly don’t think it is. It would be interesting if it were Ock’s body underneath the Goblin mask so then we could have some crazy convoluted plot in which Norman is in Ocks Body, Ock is in Peters body, and Peter is somehow in Normans body, Dr. Green Gobcopus-man.
Side note Cardiac and Iron Man claim to know each other because of the Marvel Civil War. Didn’t Iron Man have his brain rebooted in order to erase all the bad things he did during this time period or has that since been retconned?
The art in this issue is pretty good. I think Ramos has a nice style and has really consistent artwork this issue. The Heroes all look like themselves and the Goblins are all easily distinguishable from one another. The art has a nice flow to it and on the whole it’s one of Ramos’s strongest Spidey issues.
Overall this is a fairly exciting issue that only has a few nitpicky flaws that keep it back from being a solid knockout.