Superior Spider-Man #28 Review (Stillanerd’s Take)

SuperiorSpider-Man#28-Cover“Not #23. He was my favorite.”

Death, destruction, chaos, kidnapping, unmasking, and flashbacks—all within a single issue! Though based on what the main cover suggests, what actually does happen in the second part of “Goblin Nation” may not exactly be what you’re presuming. Though after reading it, you might still believe the symbolism is apt.

“Goblin Nation, Part 2”
WRITER: Dan Slott
PENCILS: Giuseppe Camuncoli
INKS: John Dell
COLOR: Antonio Fabela
LETTERER: Chris Eliopoulos
EDITOR: Ellie Pyle


THE STORY: As the Goblin Army raids Spider-Island, SpOck, along with the Living Brain, make a hasty retreat, leaving behind the spiderlings as canon-fodder. The attack also prompts Mayor J. Jonah Jameson to publicly reveals Alchemax’s Spider-Slayers, which he has dubbed “Goblin-Slayers,” to go after the Goblin army. The Green Goblin also sends his troops after Peter’s loved ones, but Mary Jane Watson–armed with her own web-shooters–saves herself from being abducted by the Goblin-Kids and gets Aunt May and Jay Jameson out of their home before the Goblin Gang arrives, dragging her hapless and confused firefighter boyfriend, Pedro “Ollie” Oliveria, along for the ride.

Deep within Peter and Otto’s shared mind, Peter desperately tries to cling the memory of who he really is as he’s forced to relive Otto Octavious’ entire life leading up to the accident that fused Otto to his mechanical arms. The memories prove overwhelming, until finally, Peter declares that he is “Doctor Octopus.”

Meanwhile, SpOck, as Peter, and the Living Brain, arrive at Parker Industries, where he’s questioned by Sajani Jaffrey over his month long absence, then interrogated by Captain Yuri Watanabee, a.k.a.Wraith, over Carlie Cooper’s disappearance, only to then be attacked by Carlie, aka Monster, herself. After Carlie takes out Wraith and the Living Brain, SpOck, knowing that Carlie knows he’s really Doc Ock, is able to get Sajani out-of-the-way to safety. As he and Carlie fight, her transmitter used to communicate with the Green Goblin is damaged, thus allowing her to reveal that she has really been biding her time until she could get to SpOck, as she needs his and Peter’s brain to not only stop the Green Goblin but to cure her of the Goblin Formula.

Finally, at Empire State University, a woman picks up Ana Maria Marconi, claiming to be a friend of Peter’s sent by MJ to get her to safety. However, the woman is actually Lily Hollister, aka Menace.

THOUGHTS: On occasion, Dan Slott creates issues where, even though it feels as though a lot is happening, there’s not much in the way of actual story progression. Not there isn’t any progression or development, mind you; the subplot of Captain Watanabee investigating Carlie’s disappearance is resolved and we find out where Carlie’s loyalties really lie. It’s just the main action that occurs in this issue is still all about setting the stage for “Goblin NationSuperiorSpider-Man#28-p.16” even though we’re, counting the prologue, three issues into this story.

This was particularly evident in the scenes of Peter forced to relive Doc Ock’s life. Yes, it sets up a potential cliffhanger in that Peter is now brainwashed into thinking he’s really Doctor Octopus, but at the same time, it feels unnecessary. Last issue, with great effectiveness and subtlety, already showed us that Peter ended up getting lost inside Doc Ock’s mind and memories, and here it feels like padding. Even so, the sequences themselves, which a pair of two full-page spreads, are wonderfully illustrated and arranged by Guiseppe Camuncoli, and in an inversion of whenever we saw Otto experience Peter’s memories, we see Peter in place of Otto in his memories. If anything else, it’s nice visual reminder that Peter and Otto really are two sides of the same coin.

It’s also a scene which highlights another downside I had about this issue, and that is the frequent use of what listeners to the Spider-Man Crawlspace Podcast know as “Slott-Speak.” Maybe it’s just a consequence of Slott using Stan Lee’s “Marvel Method,” but he does have a tendency to cram in expository details within the dialogue and narration that either readers are already well aware of or can see for themselves on the printed page. Granted, it employs the notion that “every issue is somebody’s first,” but it also results in, at times, as if Slott doesn’t trust the reader enough.
The other aspect about this issue that was of particular notice was that this chapter felt less about SpOck and more about Peter’s ex-girlfriends. Sure, at the beginning, we get the sense that SpOck is now starting to realize just how unprepared and outmatched he really is, but once he escapes Spider-Island (and seeing SpOck use the Living Brain as a makeshift jet-ski will, for me, be one of the more memorable images of the Superior Spider-Man series) its the women in Peter’s life appear to take center stage.

As suspected, Carlie, in spite of being transformed physically and psychologically by the Goblin Formula, has been playing “undercover cop” since becoming “Monster.” Oh sure, Carlie still implies she still wasn’t in her right mind (after all, she is still murdering spiderlings with wanton abandon along with the other Goblins) and that she needs SpOck to cure her before she “loses control again,” but her being able resist the Goblin Formula at all is still way-too contrived. And, of course, it also sets-up and reinforces the notion that she’ll be the one person in the entire supporting cast to potentially bring Peter back. Although, another possibility could be that SpOck, even after everything that has happened, still believes he can stop the Green Goblin on his own, especially since he also thinks he’s fully erased Peter from his mind. All I can say is that this better not lead to some cockamamie “cure” for the Goblin Formula.

SuperiorSpider-Man#28-p.10As for Peter’s other ex, I believe I mentioned before that one of bigger complaints about Superior Spider-Man has been the way Slott has depicted Mary Jane over the course of the series. Well, Slott must have been waiting to give MJ her proper due in this story, because we haven’t seen her be this tough, this savvy, or kick this much ass since Spider-Island. Seriously, the way MJ was able to quickly save herself and Ollie, assess the situation, determine what to do next, and then get Aunt May and Jay to safety would make Liam Nesson’s character from Taken proud, and shows that she is the real hero of this issue. Granted, lines like “you just got spanked Mary Jane Watson style!” and her that she’s “the wild card” come off as incredibly cheesy, but all that aside, this is the MJ Spider-Man fans have grown to love, and it’s nice to see her finally acting in-character after so long. Although, I have a feeling that MJ, Aunt May, and Jay are not as safe they might think based on this issue’s cliffhanger involving Ana Maria’s abduction.

Note how Lily persuaded Ana Maria to go with her by saying she was sent by MJ and that they were getting Peter’s friends out of the city for safety—which, of course, is exactly what MJ is doing. Which raises the question: how did Lily, and thus the Green Goblin, know what MJ was up to? It means either the Green Goblin foresaw what MJ was going to do, was tapped into MJ’s cellphone call to her Aunt Anna, or he has a mole in the form of Pedro “Ollie” Olivera. Perhaps I’m reading a bit too much into that last part, but Ollie did seem to know those Goblin-Kids actually were kids when every other character who has initially encountered them, including Otto, assumed they were just little people. So how did Ollie know…unless he’s been part of the Goblin Underground since the beginning? Remember, there was someone else with the unmasked Green Goblin in Superior Spider-Man #15 whose face we didn’t see, so we should keep that in mind.

While this issue may be a step down in terms of story, it’s still entertaining enough to maintain your interest. And again, Camuncoli’s pencil work is incredible throughout, with intricate details, distinctive character designs, and dynamic action scenes. Along with the scenes of Peter reliving Doc Ock’s life, the Goblin Underground’s attack on Spider-Island is particularly noteworthy. “Goblin Nation” may be taking it’s time getting to the end, but at least given what SpOck ends up losing in this issue, at least we can see the end in sight.





  • I didn’t bring this up last time, but after this issue, I can’t help but ask “Where are the Avengers during all this?” After all, Mary Jane brings up the fact that Jonah is only just now revealing his “Goblin Slayers” well after the Green Goblin has been orchestrating a massive crime wave upon the city. Well, by the same logic, the Avengers should also have intervened much sooner, and certainly well before Spider-Island blew up, resulting in the deaths of several of SpOck’s minions. Speaking of MJ…
  • If Ollie isn’t actually a mole for the Green Goblin, he sure must feeling like crap right about now. First, his girlfriend points out the faulty logic in his blind support of Jonah’s “Goblin Slayers.” Then he learns that her ex-boyfriend “built tech for Spider-Man,” and still keeps a present of his. Then he finds out that her ex-boyfriend also has the same first name as he does, and that she’s still on a first-name basis with her ex’s family. And finally, the real kicker is he overhears MJ telling her aunt that she doesn’t know if their relationship is even serious or not. At the very least, methinks Ollie is starting to think of how he can gently give MJ a “let’s just be friends” speech.
  • Since Sajani confirms that SpOck has been absent from his CEO duties for a month, it once again makes me ask why no one, especially Sajani and Captain Watanabee, was going to his apartment to see if he was home? Especially given how last issue showed us that Sajani has tried to call him. You’d think after so many times, Sajani would’ve gone over to Peter’s apparent in person to see what was going on, not to mention Captain Watanabee as well.
  • Just like Carlie’s hair, it seems as if the colorists can’t settle on a color scheme for her Monster costume, either.
  • A Venture Brothers and a Kevin Bacon reference in the same issue? So what if these might be dated in a few years—this particular nerd thought it was still awesome!




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(24) Comments

  1. George Berryman

    Hornacek - check your message board mail so we can see if we can figure it out. Thanks! Sorry you're having troubles with it but I'm hoping we can fix it!

  2. hornacek

    @22 - Thanks. Hopefully you got my reference and didn't think that I was speaking for you.

  3. hornacek

    Argh, tried half a dozen times, my comments on this topic won't post. George is getting frustrated!

  4. Stillanerd - Post author

    @#6 NickMB--Fair point, although I would point out that both Harry Osborn and Phil Urich were good people and the Goblin Formula made them insane as well. Then again, this is the Goblin Formula which, for some reason, can make Lily and Carlie physically transform while folks like Norman and Harry didn't, so who knows.@#8 Rzerox21xx -- Vin Gonzales would be my second guess if it's not Pedro "Ollie" Olivia. The next would be Gabriel Stacy.@#9 Adam S. -- "Ghost Otto" I think could be a definite possibility.@#13 Lockdown -- Agreed.@#15 Big Al -- Oh, at the very least, Pedro "Ollie" Olivera has "rebound guy" written all over him, and at the very least (and especially if he doesn't turn out to be the Goblin's mole) then, as my Nerdy Nitpicks suggest, he should've figured out he is one after this issue. Either way, I don't see MJ hanging around this guy after this story.@#16 RDMacQ -- Oh, I still think it will be the whole "No matter how strange you acted, I always felt there was some part of you that was still you" angle as stated in Superior Spider-Man #10 and Superior Spider-Man #25, and it will be justified when, I believe, it will be revealed that "Ghost Peter" was the real Peter all along.@#18 Sirspidermonkey -- Yep, that guy wearing the sleeveless T and the purple hat in Superior Spider-Man #15. Reason why I'm thinking it's Pedro "Ollie" Olivera is not only based on what I mentioned in my review, but also usually whenever there's someone whose face is hidden, it tends to be someone we were already recently introduced to, or someone we're about to recently meet. That said, I do think Vin is a good alternative contender as is Gabriel Stacy. Julia Carpenter working for the Green Goblin? I don't think so.

  5. Gianni-Toyman

    Goblin will bring Peter out of Doc Ock when he throws Doc Ock's girlfriend off of a bridge and kills her a la Gwen Stacy.

  6. Sirspidermonkey

    So you're saying that the GG has a secret apprentice? the guy partially hidden in SSM 15? Intriguing. Who could it be? not Ollie.We haven't seen Harry, Normie, or Stanley in a while, but what about ..Julia Carpenter?

  7. Sirspidermonkey

    I doubt that carlie will be the 1 to bring back Peter.I bet the avengers if not Tony Stark himself will have a big hand in it.Did any1 else think it odd to see Sanjay's April O'neil banana suit?

  8. RDMacQ

    @15- Wanna bet that when Superior is over, Slott will try to retcon MJ's behavior by stating that she "always" knew something was wrong with him, and wanted to do something about it, but never did because she needed "proof" or something like that?

  9. Big Al

    @#11-In (Heart) Marvel: Web of Romance #1 he gave Mary Jane a pair of modified web shooters as a gift but they weren’t the same model as these ones.I've said this before but I think Pedro is just a rebound boyfriend for MJ. She's upset about Peter and trying to get over him by dating a kind of poor man's version of him. That's evident from the way she's still friendly with Aunt May, went straight to him after 'ending' things with Peter, hit him with the exact same line from ASM #42, as well as how she rushed over to Pete in Darkest Hours. When did they actually begin dating last I heard she was bowled over by his dog.I liked that she kicked ass here but I still cannot forgive the criminal way she's been depicted as ignorant this whole time

  10. Jack Brooks

    ANick: No, I believe it was Norman struggling to overcome his paranoid schizophrenia, which I think pre-dated him absorbing the formula.I think the Goblin formula is a little bit like the late, unlamented psychic blind-spot -- it does more or less whatever the writer of that issue wants it to do.E.g., why does the Goblin formula physically mutate Lily and Carlie, but not Norman or Phil?I'd say Carlie slashing people open with a scythe = pretty far gone. Her ability to just turn off the crazy when she's talking later is a bit inexplicable.

  11. Lockdown

    Better then slashing them with her forced perspective. As I said in my review. Love to know where all other heroes are while the city burns. Not to mention how was Otto missing a month and no one tried to find him.

  12. hornacek

    Is there any mention of how MJ can use Peter's webshooters since it's been established that you need super strength to press the trigger and expel the webbing (that sounded dirtier than I meant it). Remember the story when Peter lost his webshooter (or was it stolen?) and the guy that found it tried to use it and used a hammer to hit the trigger but it still wouldn't work.Of course if Peter gave this pair to MJ he probably disabled the strength-lock it so she could use it. Does it say how she got this webshooter? Was it a gift or did she borrow it from Peter without his knowledge?(I can't wait for ASM #1 so my posts on these reviews won't be hindered by my not having read the issue)

  13. Sbee

    @#3 I couldn't have said it any better I just can't wait for the "amazing" slott hole that brings us Peter back or at least what slott considers Peter Parker.

  14. Adam S.

    I seriously doubt that Otto's still going to be in control and able to do a Peter impression when Amazing starts up again. Worse case scenario, there'll be a "Ghost Otto" floating around in Peter's head.@6: I know that in the early days (post-Ditko) whenever Peter and Norman fight, the battles usually end with Norman getting amnesia and forgetting he's the Green Goblin entirely, until eventually being around Peter/Spider-Man makes him remember (At least I think that's the triggers that causes him to remember).@7: If I remember correctly, the accident that gives Norman his powers also caused him to suffer some brain damage.

  15. Rzerox21xx

    Maybe Pedro could be Vin Gonzales given a new identity by the Goblin since he did joined the Goblin cult in his last appearance. if he is the mole. I have a feeling that Vin will show up at some point since Dan is fond of the BND cast I guess.

  16. Mycroftian

    Legitimate question, not trying to start an argument: since when is the Goblin formula brainwash-juice? Having mostly read the classic stuff, I never got that impression that it (directly) did anything to his mentality, and his psychosis was just the result of his normal life, brought on by suddenly attaining superpowers. Norman was already a shoddy person and when he was given great power, he went nuts with it. Tiddy-boom.

  17. Nick MB

    Aren't there quite a lot of stories where Norman struggles to overcome the Goblin formula, manages it for a while, then lapses back into it? Doesn't seem that far fetched for Carlie to do the same thing. (Also, Carlie is pre-established as being a decent human being, whereas I think it's fairly well entrenched now that pre-Goblin Norman often wasn't a very nice man, so he may not have always been trying that hard to fight it.)

  18. RDMacQ

    Nice to see MJ actually be the MJ we know and love for the first time in a long, long while. Problem being that this is only one issue, and Slott tends to drop the ball far too often.But- what a shock- Carlie has "managed" to overcome the Goblin serum. "Amazing." "Look how heroic she is." I see Slott isn't going to let Carlie fade out without at least trying to point out how "awesome" she is one final time.

  19. Gary

    Peter declaring that he is "Doctor Octopus" just tells me that the new Amazing Spider-man is still Otto, but thinking he's Peter. The end of issue #1 "Freaking everyone out" according to solicitations for #2 has me thinking it's going to reveal that Ock is still in charge of the body, and is just able to channel Peter or something stupid like that. This is Slott we're talking about.And yet another book filled with plot holes (Slott Holes is what I call them). Carlie can overcome the effects of the Goblin Formula? Really? Norman couldn't do it, why can Carlie?With Amazing Spider-man going to have a "twist" that has Slott all giddy, I'm confident it's going to suck. So I'm dropping the title.

  20. RobHagen

    Sooo....Carlie has somehow resisted the Goblin Formula and is working against the Green Goblin now? Oy...

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