Superior Spider-Man #27 Review (Stillanerd’s Take)


SuperiorSpider-Man#27-Cover2So after months…and months…and months of build-up, the subplot of the Green Goblin and his ever growing army of tattooed followers is coming to fruition—just in time for “The End” of The Superior Spider-Man. Also, if the hype is anything to go by, everything that will happen in this story will all be SpOck’s fault. So let’s sit back and relish at just how badly Otto Octavious starts to screw things up, shall we?

Writer:Dan Slott

Pencils: Giuseppe Camuncoli

Inks: John Dell

Color Artist: Antonio Fabela

Letterer Chris Eliopoulos

Cover: Giuseppe Camuncoli

Variant Cover: Mark Brooks

Animal Variant: Jenny Parks

Assistant Editor: Ellie Pyle

Senior Editor: Stephen Wacker

THE STORY: We open “31 Days Later,” and New York is in the midst of a crime-wave courtesy of the Green Goblin’s army, complete with it’s own laugh track. SpOck can’t understand how this happened under his watch until he sees the Green Goblin’s insignia spray-painted on the side of the Brooklyn Bridge. Meanwhile, Peter is still wandering through his and Otto’s mind, when Doctor Octopus starts to access the memory of “The Night Gwen Stacy Died” in order to get a lead on the Green Goblin. Peter, not wanting to be discovered, decides to hide out in a memory both he and Doc Ock both share…only to get sucked all the way back to when Otto was born.

Back in the real world, SpOck, as Peter, tries to figure how his spider-bots failed to alert him to the Green Goblin and his army, when a conversation with Ana Maria Marconi (who is now living with SpOck) makes him realize that the problem lies in the spider-bot’s “facial recognition software” programed by Uatu Jackson. So after getting in touch with Uatu, the child prodigy creates a tracking program for SpOck to trace the transmission used to hack the spider-bots. As this is going on, Mayor J. Jonah Jameson, now believing “Spider-Man” and the Green Goblin are in cahoots, goes to Alchemax to step-up production of their new Spider-Slayers. Also, Captain Yuri Watanbee is still searching for “Peter” as a “person of interest” in Carlie Cooper’s disappearance, and puts Parker Industries on constant surveillance, much to Sajani Jaffrey’s annoyance.

As SpOck arrives at where he assumes the Green Goblin’s lair, he’s confronted by the Goblin and the remnants of Hobgoblin’s super-villain franchise, who expected SpOck’s arrival. Much to SpOck’s surprise, the Green Goblin not only reveals that he knows SpOck is really Doc Ock (courtesy of Carlie’s case journal), but he’s also offers SpOck to help him run his new criminal empire. SpOck refuses, and the Green Goblin zaps him, only to learn that SpOck is still at Spider-Island and was using Dr. Carolyn Trainer’s VR device to create a solid hologram of himself. Undeterred, the Green Goblin plays his trump card—he orders Menace, Goblin Knight, Monster, the Goblin Kids, and the rest of his real Goblin army to attack and carpet bomb Spider-Island! To be continued…

THOUGHTS: Well this was certainly an impressive way to kick things off. One of Dan Slott’s biggest strengths has been the way he’s able to tie together seemingly innocuous events from earlier issues and make them essential to larger story at hand without it feeling forced, and this is used with great effectiveness here. For example, while we all knew why SpOck’s spider-bots were unable to detect the Green Goblin and his army, I had completely forgotten that them being able to find criminals was actually a program created by Uatu Jackson. Thus, there’s an organic reason for bringing Uatu into the story to aid SpOck in his search for the Green Goblin. Likewise, Phil Urich saying that it’s “Shadowland all over again” only in reverse is not only a nice callback to Superior Spider-Man #14, but underscores how Phil sees this as sweet revenge against SpOck. It really drives the point home that everything that is transpires in this issue is all the result of SpOck’s decisions and after seemingly getting away with literally murder for so many issues, he’s getting his comeuppance all at once.

SuperiorSpider-Man#27-p.6There are also two stand-out sequences, both, of course, beautifully illustrated by Giuseppe Camuncoli. While the scene showing Peter wandering through the desolation of his memories may start off repetitive in light of Superior Spider-Man #26, it doesn’t take long for Slott to advance Peter’s story a very significant and important way. Not only do we learn exactly just how much Peter does remember (and not to worry Mary Jane fans, Peter still remembers her and their relationship together, thank goodness!), but a really unexpected, bizarre, and rather amusing obstacle gets thrown in Peter’s path. Just as Otto has “become” Peter, Peter has technically now “become” Otto, and this makes me think he’ll be reliving Otto’s life up right to the moment where Doc Ock was implementing his mindswap plan. And I believe if and when that happens, this will also be the moment where Peter and the reader learns that the Otto we’ve followed ever since Amazing Spider-Man #698 wasn’t the real Doc Ock but a copy of Doc Ock’s own mind. In any case, Peter living Doc Ock’s life as it happened is what will help Peter gain the upper hand and eventually retake control of his body.

SuperiorSpider-Man#27-p.15The other highlight of the issue, of course, is when SpOck finally confronts the Green Goblin. Rather than being just a battle of brawn like we would expect, it’s a battle between intellects, and this makes perfect sense given how both the Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus are mental adversaries for Spider-Man as well as physical. Note how their conversation takes place on a tiled floor which looks very reminiscent of a chess board; given the cover for the upcoming issue, this a very apt and symbolically fitting image as the Green Goblin has essentially been playing a “game of chess” with SpOck all along.

It’s also perfectly in-character for the Green Goblin to offer SpOck the job of being his second-in-command, even though he no doubt anticipated that SpOck would refuse. After all, the Green Goblin has no real qualms against Doc Ock and, at most, sees him as merely competition for control of the criminal underworld. So when SpOck declares that he’s no longer Doctor Octopus” that he’s “become something far greater” and that he’s “Spider-Man,” the Green Goblin’s responding with laughter is not only a mockery of SpOck’s belief that he will succeed, it’s a mockery that Doc Ock could ever Spider-Man’s shoes, much less be “superior” to him. Maybe I’m reading far too much into this, but I can’t help but feel that Slott is pointing out that, despite Otto’s success as Spider-Man, he’s become a joke because he’s deluded himself into believing he’s somebody he’s not. Of course, if this Green Goblin isn’t, in fact, Norman Osborn, this would not only be ironic, but also calling the kettle black on the Green Goblin’s part.

(By the way, here’s some potential ammo for all you folks who are suspecting Normie Osborn as the Green Goblin: notice who is conveniently absent from Alchemax when Jonah arrives to check on the progress of the Spider-Slayers? Which, given it’s taking place at night during that same day, we also have to assume, based on how SpOck is visiting Uatu in the afternoon, that it’s taking place around the same time as when SpOck confronts the Green Goblin at his secret lair. Which, given the assault on Spider-Island, also takes place at night. Sure, it’s circumstantial evidence at best, but I do think it’s rather telling that Normie is nowhere to be seen when he’s usually shown to be right by his momma’s side. Notice that he was also absent in Superior Spider-Man #23 while the Green Goblin was gliding around impersonating the Hobgoblin.)

One misgiving I have, however, is the one month forward jump in time from the last issue. I understand why it was done; it’s nice to see that Slott doesn’t delay into getting right to the story, and you’re definitely caught to speed about SpOck’s current status quo without being confused. It also, retroactively, allows for the some of the events outside of Superior Spider-Man (like, as we’re reminded via Steve Wacker’s note about the yet to be released Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #10) with a minimum of fuss. Even so, given how we know this is the last story arc of Superior Spider-Man, it feels a bit rushed. Also, the revelation that Ana Maria has now moved-in with SpOck does not bode well for her future at all. It shows that the more her relationship with Otto has advanced, the more it’s underscored that she’s a unknowing victim of Otto’s deception. If she survives “Goblin Nation,” that is. Either way, unless Slott proves otherwise, and can’t help but feel Ana Maria was merely created just to be “fridged” in some way shape or form.

Again, this is a terrific start by Slott and Camuncoli for “Goblin Nation.” It’s well plotted and illustrated, grabbing your attention from the start and never letting go. Here’s hoping the remaining four issues can keep up that same sense of momentum and quality.

 

A-

NERDY NITPICKS

  • Hmm…so this issue takes place 31 days after the last one. And Peter only has 31 memories. There are only 31 issues total for Superior Spider-Man. And Amazing Spider-Man #31 was the first part of the three-part classic “If This Be My Destiny,” which featured you-know-who as “The Master Planner.” My gosh! 31 is the new 23, 42, and 52! (And bonus points to anyone who actually gets those references.) Of course, this also means I have actually go back and count through the back issues to see if Peter’s memories actually do total up to 31, doesn’t it?
  • So let me get this straight: Captain Watanabee has been unable to locate a key suspect to Carlie’s disappearance for a whole month, right? And she’s only just now investigating “Peter’s” company and putting it under a 24/7 watch? Which also raises the question of why she’s not also posting any uniformed officers outside Peter’s apartment, especially since everybody knows where Peter lives, including all the employees at Parker Industries? And while I admire Watanabee’s dedication in wanting to find her friend and fellow cop, she does know that the city is in complete chaos by the Green Goblin’s gang and thus this emergency would be considered a higher priority than her investigation, correct?

  • Here’s a question for you science majors–If SpOck wasn’t actually there at the Green Goblin’s lair and was only projecting a hologram of himself, how was his spider-sense able to  still be working? Because if you think about it, SpOck wasn’t actually in danger the entire time. Ladies and gentlemen, I smell a “no-prize contest” in the works.

 

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(43) Comments

  1. hornacek

    @42 - what Stillanerd was asking is why SpOck said "my spider sense isn't going off so I'm not in danger" but if he wasn't really there (i.e. hologram) then why would he assume he wasn't in danger since (as far as we know) the spider-sense only works if he's actually in danger, and since he was only there as a hologram, he was never in danger. Your post seems to be saying that the spider-sense did go off. Are you talking about something different?

  2. PeterBaez

    I dont know you guys but maybe the spider-sense when off because there were many bad guys out there, or hiding nearby ( the goblin army that attacked the island), that could be the excuse of the spider-sense going off. I know... Im too optimistic.....

  3. Nick MB

    That seems more like an example of the arrogance and hypocrisy which is going to be Otto's imminent undoing - the belief that he's so "Superior", he can have a well-advertised base without anyone daring to come at him. So yes, it's a flaw, but an intentional one that plays into the story rather than a plot-convenient "stupid-virus".

  4. Jack Brooks

    Why not read what i wrote?. Otto rebuked Jameson for doing something that would broadcast Otto's location to his enemies, then created a headquarters that would broadcast his location to his enemies.

  5. hornacek

    @38 - If you have a lair you can store all of your equipment and stuff, but if you publicize it's location then your enemies know where to attack you. Didn't Dr. Doom rip up the entire Baxter Building and fling it into space?

  6. Jason

    @37 So what you're saying is super heroes shouldn't have lairs or headquarters? The Fantastic Four has had one for years, as have the Avengers.

  7. Jack Brooks

    I also wonder why Otto didn't just grab Goblin by the throat and choke the life out of him, since the Trainor hard-light projections are indestructible. GG could have zapped him in the eye at point-blank range and it shouldn't have done a thing. As a hard-light projection, Otto would have been invulnerable. File this under another SSM character dumb-move: installing the VR tech at Spider-Island, which would be the obvious starting point for anyone trying to attack it. It's such a powerful weapon, Otto should have installed it in his underwater lab. In fact, Otto installing himself in a known, visible facility was similarly foolish, especially considering that he had chastised Jameson for using a spider-signal on the grounds that such a thing tells every villain exactly where he is. Spider Island is nothing but a stationary target with SpOck's face painted on the bulls-eye. So Otto is also a victim of the SSM "stupid-virus."

  8. Jesse

    @ #35 Now thats interesting! We know Norman and the Jackal have worked together before. I wouldn't be super surprised to see Jackal be a part of this scheme, after all his last run in w/ SpOck didn't exactly settle things.

  9. Jack Brooks

    I thought the Jackal had Gabe Stacey locked up in a giant tube, percolating. There was some ASM issue in which the Jackal appeared, and in the background is a vat with the label "G. Stacey" on it.

  10. Jesse

    @ #31, now that's a really good point, I can't believe i didn't think of that. Has there ever been a situation in marvel where a child was transformed into an adult along with an adult mentality such as the 1 being displayed by the Goblin king? Gabiel and sarah stacy had age enhancement and they seemed adult minded, so why not normie?

  11. Jason

    I still don't see the motive for Normie to become the Green Goblin, let alone be smart enough to realize Spidey is Otto and not Peter. Does this new strain also transform a child's brain to one of an adult?

  12. DarthSpidey

    @28 - I know it's not cannon but after all the various results from different strains of goblin formula who's to say that Slott hasn't created one that physically transforms the exposed person from one physical form to another?

  13. hornacek

    @26 - Actually, I think in Avatar they had physical bodies that they created which they projected the people's consciousness into. With Stunner, it was all holotechnology. How was she able to affect physical objects? SCIENCE! @28 - While the 90s series is not cannon, writers seem to think it is since they all state that the symbiote made Peter evil back in the 80s comics when actually "it just used his body like a prison cellmate" (quote attributed to Donovan).

  14. Jason

    @27 - and for those who have never watched the cartoon, that isn't exactly cannon. I'm curious how and why Normie would be exposed, assuming this ability from the formula exists in the comic. Since Harry is no longer dead, what motivation would Normie have to attack Spider-Man?

  15. DarthSpidey

    @20 - I almost referenced that same thing....hahaha. @21 - It's not implausible for Normie to be under the mask. If you remember the 90's Spiderman cartoon, Felicia Hardy was exposed to a modified version of the Super Soldier formula which had a unique effect. When Felicia turned the power on at will she was physically transformed from her normal body type to a more muscular and taller body. It's not wildly out of the schope of things for Normie to have been exposed to strain of Goblin formula that could transform him into an adult when active and back to a child when inactive. As for his mom, well she wasn't exactly around during the time we have Spidey and the Goblin meeting. @23 - For Slott claiming to be the biggest Spidey fan, he sure does botch things up a lot. Slott could've thrown the reader off without mentioning the Spidey sense. Maybe he's trying to be the M. Night Shyamalan of comic books. Heck his new catch phrase could be "What a crazy-town-banana-pants twist". Lol

  16. hornacek

    Well, Stunner was just a hologram but she had a physical presence, so this is based on existing technology in the Spider-Man universe. So even though it's ridiculous we can't blame it on Slott. Thanks 90s!

  17. Jesse

    What i wanna know is, if SpOck was just a hologram that whole time, how did he smash the chair and table?

  18. hornacek

    @22 - Since SpOck was not physically there, whether or not his spider-sense went off or not is likely irrelevant. Unless Slott forgot that the Spider-Sense doesn't work through holograms.

  19. Jack Brooks

    Is the fact that Spider-Man's sense did not go off toward GG significant? Could that imply it IS (non-insane) Harry? I.e., he actually does not intend to harm SpOck at all?

  20. Jason

    Not really buying Normie as the Green Goblin. How would a child become an adult so quickly, and wouldn't his mother notice? Anybody else notice what looks like an engagement ring box in "Peter's" pocket?

  21. hornacek

    @19 - Yeah, the Goblin basically said "Oh, you managed to defeat my arch-enemy who I was never able to? That's fine, I'm ok with it, wanna team-up?" I'm not buying it. It reminds me of the Mad Love episode of the Batman animated series (sorry for the DC reference, Brad) where Harley Quinn decides to kill Batman to prove her love for the Joker and manages to capture him, and when the Joker realizes what she's doing he freaks out yelling "I'm the one that gets to kill the Batman! No one kills him but me!"

  22. DarthSpidey

    Anybody else find the Goblins reaction to SpOck a little "off"? Since when does Norman want anyone other than himself taking Spidey out? There's no emotion displayed at all by GG while he's confronting SpOck. I know Stormin Norman is a few french fries short of a happy meal but seriously handing out a compliment to a fellow villan for taking out his archnemisis? Personally I don't buy it. If there's anything that practically screams that GG isn't who he says it is it should be his interaction with Ock based off of his "So you body snatched Spidey and then killed him. Good for you. Want a job?" attitude. My money is still riding on Normie being under the mask. As for Slott, isn't it time for him to really hang up the webs and jump to a new character? I'll admit his SS book has gotten better with the last two issues, however it's taken him 20+ issues to get there. If he were a new writer I'd chalk that up to him getting a feel for the character, but this guys got years of "experience" under his belt. The whole SS book has limped along only because Slott has heavily medicated the supporting cast with so many "Stupid Pills" that one should expect them to die of an over dose. Granted this is all in the name of keeping "his" baby alive so it's okay. What's really sad about this is the concept would've been neat for a story arc....not for a seperate book that stretches over 31 (not sure if this is the correct number they are projecting or not) issues. With that being said, I think Slott's tapped out of being able to weave new storys without having to significantly alter the essence of established characters.

  23. Sbee

    @16 you got that right there's at least 5 writers I can think of who would do remarkable and this is the most logical time to walk away. But knowing slott the chance of him leaving is slim and none. I believe marvel will have to literally pull him out of the office one day cause he won't give up the character. I just hope it's sooner rather than later.

  24. RDMacQ

    @#9 Stillanerd- The whole Pedro thing seems less like an "obstacle" and more like an "excuse." I have a feeling that this will play out very similarly to the second Spider-Man movie- Peter "realizes" he loves MJ based on his old memories, but she's "reluctant." Especially if she clues into the whole "Otto took over my body" thing, and questions whether or not she truly "loves" him. Which, as stated before, can cause this thing to be dragged out for another year or two ad nauseum.

  25. hornacek

    @12, 13 - Yeah, I asked a podcast question a few months back about if Peter's return would be the logical end of Slott's time on Spider-Man. Whether you like Slott's writing on Spidey or not, it just seems to make sense that when he reverses SpOck and Peter returns, THAT feels like the right time to bring on a new writer. Not all of them, but when some ASM writers have left their final issues have felt like a "wrapping up" of a chapter and the following issue (with a new writer) was the beginning of a new chapter. Mackie, JMS, Roger Stern, Micheline come to mind. Also, THE RINGER!

  26. Stillanerd - Post author

    @#11 Lockdown-- Yeah, the Avengers potential involvement or lack thereof in this storyline is also something I'm wondering about as well since, as you pointed out in your review, you'd think they be on top of this crime wave that's been hitting the city. As for Jonah, I think part of it is that, because SpOck is still blackmailing him, that he has to ironically deny the accusations in the press that "Spider-Man" and the Green Goblin are in cahoots even though, as we see, he believes they are, hence part of the reason for wanting the folks at Alchemax to step up production on the Spider-Slayers. @#14 Mike 13 -- Yes, TMoB, you have correctly guessed all three! And thanks for the compliment.

  27. Mike 13

    Stillanerd is my favourite reviewer... 23 is from the movie (and has it's own references), 42 is the meaning of life, and 52 is clearly a DC reference. TMoB

  28. George Berryman

    @12 - Well we'll see. At any rate we'll hope for the best. The Superior stuff Slott's been doing has been the best I've seen from him; much of it has been very, very good. I've got my fingers crossed and will be hoping it doesn't all go south.

  29. Sbee

    @8 that's a dang good point I never thought about the same guy who's destroyed spider-man is the same that's supposed to bring him back? That's a recipe for disaster

  30. Lockdown

    You touched on the way the supporting cast was acting better than me. I agreed that the way Anna Marie was so calm yet the city is being attacked and burning. Yet Yuri wNts Peter Parker and no other hero from the Avengers to the New Warriors aren't doing anything. Even JJJ reaction was odd.

  31. reader

    @9 If that's the case then yeah, it's strange how his spider-sense works with the holo, it even makes Ocks comment about his spidey sense not reading anything from the room with GG even wierder.

  32. Stillanerd - Post author

    @#4 reader--Well, SpOck's "Spider-Man Avatar" is also referred to as a hologram in this issue and the Living Brain does call the VR machine SpOck is hooked up to a holographic interface. Also, having done a quick Google search and reading up on her entries at various places like the Marvel database, since all of her powers are dependent upon the VR machine she strapped herself into, the only way to really stop was the shut the VR machine off, like we saw SpOck do in Superior Spider-Man #21. So the implication is that anyone who uses the VR machine cannot be harmed or injured by inflicting damage to their avatar since, technically, it's only a hologram. @#7 RDMacQ--Slott might have already introduced a potential obstacle in the form of Pedro Olivera. You know, the firefighter who saved her in Superior Spider-Man #10 who just so happens to share the same first name with Peter? And whom MJ only started going out with because she was mad at "Peter" because he didn't come to her rescue, refused to return her calls, and never checked up on her to see if she was okay? Then again, considering how MJ forgave "Peter" in Superior Spider-Man #25 after she was convinced he's been under possession by the Venom symbiote the whole time, I imagine she'd be feeling rather awkward that she's put herself in a rebound relationship with ersatz version of her ex--whom she's still clearly in love with BTW--just to get back at him and not knowing he wasn't the Peter, to boot.

  33. George Berryman

    It could be that Slott & editorial did an assessment on the missteps that necessitated they get rid of the title character altogether and replace him with Otto for as long as they did. I continue to point out that Peter has been so badly mishandled since OMD he's barely recognizable in the Brandnewverse era. The smart thing would be to do a lot of self-reflection on the mistakes made with the character and start steering towards correction with Peter's "return." But then I might be too optimistic. I'm still very wary of Peter's return being handled by the same writer who's mucked him up so much to begin with.

  34. RDMacQ

    I'm not confidant about the whole "Remembering MJ" thing. I still think that Slott's going to have some contrived reason as to why they just won't get back together when Peter gets control of his body back. He'll remember her, but won't remember a lot of their history, and she'll have "moved on" or something like that.

  35. Jake

    #3 Doubted. They said Peter is coming back, not Otto thinking he's Peter. Plus there's a comic coming out where Peter takes control during a battle but doesn't remember anything, therefore not knowing whether or not he's a hero or a villain.

  36. Cheesedique

    Gotta say it again, but Camuncoli is really the star of tbe show here. His artwork, along with the coloring, looks flat out fantastic. And he's been killing it this entire series, from what i've seen.

  37. reader

    I'm not sure how stunner's tech work but isn't it more of an avatar than a hologram? Is stunner in any real danger if her avatar is harmed?

  38. Gary

    Peter is diluted and washed away? Yeah, I think "Peter" in the new Amazing Spider-man is just going to be SpOck thinking he's Peter Parker and forgetting he's really Otto Octavius. Which would be stupid. Any takers on a bet that Amazing Spider-man #1 ends with Ghost Otto revealing himself to be in Spidey's head?

  39. Stillanerd - Post author

    @#1 Andrew Roebuck--Thanks, Andrew. And right back at you on your excellent review, as well!

  40. Andrew Roebuck

    Oh dang you definitely one-upped me on the 31 stuff. I forgot the importance of Amazing Spider-Man #21 and I also definitely neglected to realize that Superior was going 31 issues I incorrectly assumed it was only going to 30 haha. Great review as always

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