SuperiorSpider-Man#30-Cover“Today, you must accept that you…are superior.”

It’s the penultimate issue of The Superior Spider-Man, and based on this issue’s cover, you can probably take a wild guess who “dies” this time.  Or perhaps this person might have died much, much earlier without our realizing it…maybe.

“Goblin Nation, Part 4”
PLOT: Dan Slott
SCRIPT: Christos Gage
PENCILS: Giuseppe Camuncoli
INKS: John Dell & Terry Pallot
COLOR: Antonio Fabela
LETTERER: Chris Eliopoulos
ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Ellie Pyle
EDITOR: Nick Lowe

 

THE STORY: SpOck and Miquel O’Hara (Spider-Man 2099) continue fighting the Alchemax Spider-Slayers hacked by the Green Goblin, who may or may not have revealed himself to still be Norman Osborn. The Green Goblin then shows SpOck that he has Anna Maria Marconi as a hostage and offers him a choice: either save her or save Miquel. SpOck, of course, chooses to go save Anna Maria, leaving Miquel to angrily declare, “I knew you were a poser!” as he’s overwhelmed by the Slayers. As SpOck swings through the city, blaming himself for all the chaos, the Avengers, along with the Wraith, fight against the combined forces of the Goblin Army, Roderick Kingley’s former franchise villains, and the Slayers. Captain America also vows to arrest “Spider-Man” for funding Cardiac and his “illegal medical facility.” The media demands J. Jonah Jameson resignation as Alchemax CEO, Liz Allan, put all the blame on him for deploying the Spider-Slayers before they were properly tested. However, as Liz tries to shuffle her son, Normie, out of her office, we see that she is attempting to conceal…a Green Goblin mask!

During his search for Anna Maria, SpOck gets amushed by Menace, and she leads him into an abandoned subway, where the Green Goblin is about to run over Anna Maria with a train. Only it’s not Ana Maria but Amy Chen–the little girl with brain damage SpOck operated on and whose life he saved back in Superior Spider-Man #8. SpOck hesitates, afraid that if he either misses Amy or gets hit by the train, no one will be able to save Ana Maria. But a voice shouts for SpOck to “jump!” and SpOck grabs Amy before she’s run over. The identity of the voice? It’s the ghost of Peter Parker. For while Ghost Peter was trapped reliving all of Otto’s memories, he arrived at the moment from Amazing Spider-Man #700 in which Peter shared Otto his memories during his death. This not only allowed Ghost Peter to remember who he was but also has all of his memories restored.

Now aware of Peter’s presence and realizing he almost had another death on his hands, SpOck at last understands just how much a failure he has been, and decides it must be Peter who must stop the Green Goblin. So SpOck returns to Parker Industries and, using his neurolitic scanner, proceeds to erase himself and his memories from Peter’s mind, ensuring that Peter will not have any distractions or further confusion about his identity. This also includes Otto’s love for Anna Maria, and as he fades away, Otto’s last words to Peter are, “Only you can save her…for you are the Superior Spider-Man.” Thus Peter, fully returned to his body, puts on his signature red and blues and declares “my turn.”

THOUGHTS: And so, Otto Octavious is “Spider-Man no more,” and Peter Parker, the real Superior Spider-Man, has finally returned. This, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, is a call for celebration, a time for Spider-Man fans everywhere to rejoice and sing with praise that the “Hero who could be you” has risen from the grave.

So then why does this feel so underwhelming and anti-climatic?

Granted, considering how nobody except Uncle Ben and Gwen Stacy (so far) ever stays dead in comics, and taking into account Marvel’s own announcements about the relaunch of Amazing Spider-Man, everyone knew Peter Parker was coming back. So this might be the reason some may not feel as elated and overjoyed as they otherwise would be. I, on the other hand, suggest my particular lack of enthusiasm is due to something far more radical: that the way Peter Parker returns in this comic is ham-fisted, poorly executed, badly paced, and nonsensical even by the standards of comic book logic.

Superior Spider-Man#30-p.8Right now, you’re probably saying, “There you go, Stillanerd. First you whine and complain about how Peter Parker was killed off like a chump and Doc Ock becoming Spider-Man. And now, after finally getting Peter Parker back like you wanted, you’re still whining and complaining. There’s just no pleasing you, is there?” Or, you might be saying (and I’d agree with you if you did), “Come on, Stillanerd. The way Peter comes back here is infinitely better than that one time he turned into a giant-spider and gave birth to himself in that Avengers: Dissembled tie-in. Or that other time he molted his skin, went into a web-cocoon, and was tripping about totemic spider-gods in The Other: Evolve or Die.” Well, my dear readers, allow me to elaborate.

Consider how Peter is able to have all his memories restored. If you recall in Amazing Spider-Man #700, Doc Ock already had access to Peter’s memories and that Peter, just before he died, was forcing Otto to experience specific memories, not all of them. The proof is in Superior Spider-Man #19, #26, and #27, in which we are informed that after Otto tried to erase Peter back in Superior Spider-Man #9, the only memories Peter had left are those Otto already “peaked at and committed to memory” and “the ones [Peter] shared with [Otto]” which totaled to only 31 memories. Yet somehow, Peter is able regain memories that Otto never experienced, never accessed, had systematically erased, and therefore should no longer have. Are we supposed to surmise the memories Otto erased got stored in some “trash can icon” deep within his subconscious? Ordinarily, I would overlook something like this were it not for the fact the entire story hinges upon this moment. And I’m sorry, but from a storytelling standpoint, Dan Slott and Christos Gage cannot just arbitrarily violate the very rules about Peter’s memories that they established over and over again to have the resolution they want. After all, cheating is still cheating, and it makes the entire subplot of Peter only having 31 memories feel like a complete waste of time.

Then there’s the matter of how Peter retrieves his body from Otto, which amounts to Otto just giving up and committing “suicide.” From the way the scene is written—complete with SpOck shedding tears and reaching out for ghostly images of Anna Maria as she fades into the ether—we’re obviously meant to interpret this as Otto, having come to the realization that Peter was the better man all along, choosing to sacrifice himself for the greater good, and that in his last moments, he truly redeemed himself. That is until you realize that Otto is also avoiding having to deal directly with the consequences of his own actions. Couple this with how no one—including the Avengers or Mary Jane—will likely believe Peter when he tries to tell them what really happened, then Otto really hasn’t done Peter any real favors here. And last time I checked, passing the buck to someone else in the hopes they will fix your own mistakes is nowhere near being heroic or noble. So instead, the scene comes off as being manipulative and false instead of being genuine or deserved. Plus, you know this isn’t the last bow of Doc Ock. There’s still his body that’s missing and uncounted for, after all.

Moreover, it’s still vague as to whether this is even the real Peter that’s come back. We’re shown, via Peter reliving Otto’s memories, that beforeEnds of the Earth,” Doc Ock uploaded his mind into the gold octobot as a contingency. This implies that the Otto Octavious we’ve read about ever since Amazing Spider-Man #698 is not, in fact, the real Doc Ock, but is, for lack of a better term, a “clone” of Doc Ock (and if that’s the case, shouldn’t we be calling SpOck “ClOck” instead?). This would also mean that, technically, Doc Ock, not Peter, died in Amazing Spider-Man #700, and that “Ghost Peter” was the real Peter Parker all along. Which would have been acceptable on its own were we not also reminded both in the story and in the recap page that “Ghost Peter” is only a “memory fragment” of Peter Parker, not the real Peter Parker. Which would mean Peter’s “return” is actually “Ghost Peter” having claimed Peter’s body for himself, not the return of the real Peter Parker.

Thus we’re left with one of two options: either SpOck was really just a brainwashed Peter reprogrammed to believe he was Otto, or that the real Peter is still dead. If this was attempt by Slott and Gage to appease both fans of Peter and SpOck, it, like most efforts at appeasement, satisfies no one and cannot be simply hand-waved away and forgotten about. If Marvel plans on going forward, this is a matter that needs clarity, not ambiguity.

But if you think ISuperior Spider-Man #30-p.14‘m being entirely negative here, rest assured that are still moments of sheer brilliance within this issue, along with a few unexpected surprises. The lead-up to and the moment where Peter forces SpOck into action to save Amy Chen, for example, is full of genuine suspense and nerve-wracking tension, and it’s fitting that Otto’s journey as Spider-Man comes full circle over having his one decent act as Spider-Man almost undone. And just how great was the Green Goblin’s “I’ve done bridges. This time I thought I’d go with tunnels” line?

There’s also the following scene where Otto admits to his own arrogance and says Peter is “superior” because of his humility. It’s a fascinating comparison between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus as characters while developing them in fundamental and meaningful ways. Plus, Peter’s reaction to finding out he now had his own company, and SpOck telling Sajani Jaffrey to “shut up” when she tried to tell him what happened were just classic. So it’s all the more frustrating that we haven’t had more scenes like this during “Goblin Nation.” Can you imagine that, instead of having randomly placed interludes of Peter reliving Otto’s memories, we instead had Peter and Otto forced to work together to stop the Green Goblin and his army? Scenes where the two of them would argue over what course of action to take, or compliment each other over something unexpected and brilliant they came up with? It would’ve made Otto’s decision for Peter reclaim his identity and body truly earned instead of being rushed and crammed together within a mere five pages.

As it has all throughout “Goblin Nation,” Giuseppe Camuncoli’s penciling is sublime, raised even further thanks to John Dell and Terry Pallot’s inking, and Antonio Fabela’s coloring. For as much as I’ve criticized the moments where Peter regains his memories and when Otto relinquishes control back to Peter, there is no question that, from a visual standpoint, these scenes look gorgeous and are truly powerful in their imagery. The two-page spread showing Peter haloed in light and surrounded by a literal web of memories (all taken from scenes from various comics) with Peter declaring he wants to take back the good and the bad is worthy of being made into a commissioned poster. In spite of the particulars of how Peter arrived at this moment, Camuncoli is still able to convey a sense of triumph.

Superior Spider-Man#30-p.6Finally, there’s the surprising revelation that Liz Allen may, in fact, have been in cahoots with the Green Goblin all along, if not posed as the Green Goblin himself…or rather, herself. One of the theories about the identity of the Goblin King is that he was still Norman Osborn disguised as Liz Allen’s nondescript personal assistant, Mason Banks, and that he and Liz Allen were working together. After all, there were twomystery figures, one of whom was the Green Goblin, shown in Superior Spider-Man#15, and, based on what the out-of-costume Green Goblin was wearing, it did look like the business suit worn by Alchemax employees. So on the surface, the scene with Liz does indeed seem all but a conformation of this theory. Moreover, Liz’s “I’m doing this for you” statement gives her motive and could explain why, if the Green Goblin is still Norman Osborn, she would put her hatred for her ex-father-in-law aside and be his accomplice. Remember, Liz was shown to be a financially struggling, divorced single mom during Dan Slott’s own Brand New Day story,  “Mind on Fire.” So it’s possible that Liz’s unprecedented rise in the corporate world is due a devil’s bargain with Norman Osborn to secure her son’s future and financial well-being.

On the other hand, I believe there’s a different interpretation of this scene: this is really a red herring designed to hide the true identity of the Green Goblin: Lil’ Normie Osborn. Notice how Normie tells his mom “can I come backin” and explains he’s “misplaced” something in that very room. Given how Liz finds a Goblin mask, this could very well mean thisis what Normie was looking for. Liz may be simply hiding the mask from her son because she doesn’t want him to be reminded about his grandpa, Norman, not realizing that her son is the new Green Goblin. Or she does know that her son is the Green Goblin, and has been trying to protect him. Regardless of which ever theory is correct (or if neither one is), this scene does, at the very least, sets up both a connection between Alchemax and the Green Goblin, and that Liz is somehow involved.

Make no mistake, this is still a very enjoyable read, and I’m more than happy to see Peter (if it’s really him) back in webs again Peter, as my excitement to see him take the Green Goblin and his underground army down in the final issue builds. However, I believe we must look past whatever feelings we have about Peter’s return and ask ourselves this: how does Peter Parker’s return compare to other comic book resurrections? How does it stack up to the return of Bucky Barnes? Or Steve Rodgers? Or Colossus? Or Hal Jordan? Or Superman? Or Batman, for that matter? If you, in good conscience, believe that Peter’s resurrection is on par or even better than those, then that’s certainly your prerogative. I, however, cannot overlook how flawed his return actually is. And while there is plenty positive aspects which still give this part of “Goblin Nation” a decent grade, I can only imagine what this issue, and Peter’s return, might have been.

 

C+

 

NERDY NITPICKS

  • So as far as the Avengers are concerned, as long as SpOck was committing murder, assault, torture, hiring mercenaries, using unsanctioned military-grade weaponry, violated people’s Constitutional rights, turned New York into a police state, brainwashed the original Sinister Six, and hacked into their own computers and erased files, it only amounts to him being put on probation and let off with repeated warnings. But when it comes to SpOck funding Cardiac’s medical treatments that have not been approved by the FDA? Why it’s “Go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200” as far as the Avengers are concerned. As if the irony couldn’t get any more thick, let’s not forget that Tony Stark’s life was saved and is being kept alive through an experimental medical procedure; or that Steve Rodgers received his super-powers through an experimental medical procedure. And unlike what Iron Man claims, we have seen that Cardiac’s supposedly “unproven procedures” are actually proven to save lives. The Avengers might as well go ahead and rename themselves “The League of Extraordinary Hypocrites and Morons” from here on out.
  • First, Jonah demands Alchemax build “Spider-Slayers” even though he’s reminded of the fact Alistar Smythe killed Jonah’s wife. Then, when he insists a month later for them to be activated, he’s told by Liz there’s still some “safety checks” that need to be run, but otherwise, she gives him the green-light. Then, after holding a press conference announcing their creation and that will be used to stop the Green Goblin’s army, Jonah instead decides not to deploy the “Goblin Slayers” because he wants to wait until “Spider-Man” shows up so he can sic the Slayers on him. This gets Jonah all kinds of grief—including from Glory Grant who resigns in protest—for not protecting the city from the Goblin Army by activating the Slayers. So when Jonah does the very thing those around him demanded that he do, and the Slayers wind up getting hacked and reprogrammed by the Green Goblin, Jonah gets blamed for launching them before they were ready. Welcome to politics, in which everyone talks out of both sides of their mouth, and the phrase “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” is a way of life.
  • “When there’s time, you weigh options. When there’s not, you act. And you always do the right thing. Even if it means giving up the advantage…like I just did.” Yeah, Pete! You tell that cowardly, Otto Octavious! I mean, it’s not like you ever put your own needs above that same little girl’s, especially when Otto was trying to perform delicate neurosurgery to save her life during Superior Spider-Man #8. Oh, wait…you did, didn’t you? I suppose we we’re supposed to forget about all that little moment of hesitation you had back then, huh? Too bad the handy-handy editorial footnote told us which issue for us to look up.
  • Also, if Otto crying and admitting his love for Anna Maria wasn’t enough to show what a sentimental guy Otto really is, we learn he kept Peter’s old Spider-Man costume as a trophy. Either that or he anticipated the day Peter would return from beyond the grave to get it back and was holding it on for safe keeping.  Cause if Peter didn’t conveniently find his costume in that closet, he might have had to fight the Goblin Army as “the Amazing Bag-Man.”

 

42 Responses to “Superior Spider-Man #30 Review: Stillanerd’s Take”

  1. #1 Gary says:

    Peter’s return doesn’t really compare to past returns because this is a story that never should have happened in the first place. The story expected us to root for a killer who 10 issues prior to taking Peter’s body was bragging about how he was bigger than Hitler, Pol Pot, and Stalin. Then he’s considered a better hero than Peter even though his first act of “Heroism” Is stealing a man’s life and letting him die in your body. Supporting characters were reduced to dumbed down plot holes to suit Slott’s story, and everything was way to easy for Ock.

    Frankly, the last few pages were the best of the entire Superior Spider-man run. Because I think Ock erasing himself so Peter would have no distractions or confusion while he took back the city from the Goblins was the most heroic thing Otto did the entire run. Especially having to give up the love of his girlfriend for the sake of other people.

    And Peter didn’t try to stop Otto from saving the little girl’s life. Why does everyone misunderstand that? I reread the entire run the other day waiting for this issue, and issue #8 has Peter trying to take control of his hand because he didn’t trust Otto to perform the procedure. Then Slott ignores his own story the very next issue by having Peter claim he tried to stop Otto to keep him from using the helmet on himself and discovering Peter. Which created another plot hole to pile on the others.

  2. #2 Gary says:

    And about Peter’s return being crammed and rushed?

    Reread the entire series. Slott has done that in every single issue. Every issue is a sped up mess where Slott is trying to make sure every issue is exciting. While it’s good to have interesting things happen in every issue, it can’t be at the expense of fleshing out characters and plot lines. Like the Lamaze stuff in #20 and #21. One issue ends with “I’m going to ruin your career Parker because PLAGIARISM!!” to the very next issue it’s resolved and immediately forgotten by issue #22.

    And Goblin Nation really suffered from this. Instead of 5 issues, I think Slott should have made it a 10 part story so it could have been fleshed out better. Maybe show exactly how the Goblins turned the city into a hell hole. Then they could have had stuff showing Carlie slowly coming out of the Goblin Formula’s control. Instead of the she shows up for a fight, then immediately says, “Oh yeah, I got control of myself again! Because I’m Carlie Cooper!!!”

    Seriously. Every single issue has this problem.

  3. #3 hornacek says:

    #1 – “10 issues prior to taking Peter’s body was bragging about how he was bigger than Hitler, Pol Pot, and Stalin.”

    Yeah, people seem to forget stuff like this when they say that we should feel bad for Otto’s downfall. If these stories had been written by different writers then we could say “oh, the character was written differently back then but the current writer has a better handle on them” but it’s all Slott.

    Remember how the little girl got sick? She was affected by Otto’s End of the Earth demonstration where he raised the temperature of the planet a few degrees (or whatever it was to prove that he could cure global warming). He felt guilty because his actions had caused this so he worked with Cardiac to save her. Um, what about all the other people that would have been similarly affected? Didn’t he say he was doing this to an entire hemisphere to prove his point? I know they said that the little girl was already sick before the demonstration, but still, that’s a lot of people who were probably in poor health before the demonstration that Otto similarly affected. When he realized how he was to blame for the little girl’s sickness, was there any mention in the issue about how he probably killed many more people with that demonstration?

    I already commented on Andrew’s review about my opinion of Peter taking back his life. He should have taken it back from Otto, not had it handed to him like Otto was giving him a gift, yadda-yadda-yadda.

    I really should be looking forward to Amazing #1, I haven’t bought a Spider-Man comic since #700, but I’m just not feeling it.

  4. #4 SpiderHam says:

    #3 – You haven’t bought a Spidey comic since ‘#700? So you haven’t read Superior?

  5. #5 RDMacQ says:

    Wow. This has got to be one of the biggest cop-out’s in recent memory.

    Peter doesn’t triumphantly take back his body. He gets it handed back to him by Otto, the man who stole it. And we’re supposed to feel sorry for this guy?

    This just reeks of editorial influence. I doubt this was meant to be the “end” of Superior. This happened because editorial told Slott to bring Peter back, and he shoehorned the ending here rather than find an appropriate ending that was actually ABOUT bringing closure to the arc.

  6. #6 AndrewRoebuck says:

    Colossus was just found in a random alien base, and both Batman and Steve Rogers had nearly identical deaths both being sent back into time. I thought Otto gave his reasoning for handing over his body fairly well, as Peter could not risk having a distraction. Otto recognizes that he would hinder Otto’s actions. Otto is not trying to escape his consequences he is attempting to stop his failure. He predicts that he will be the failure that gets Ana Maria killed and that the only way to save her is to remove himself from the equation. Everything he did he did for love….at least in my opinion. Nonetheless great review as always!

  7. #7 hornacek says:

    @4 – I bought the 700.1 – 700.5 issues but even though I liked ASM #700 as a story, I hated it as a direction, if that makes any sense. The idea that they would have Doc Ock kill Peter and take over his body and his life, and Marvel expected us to buy this as Spider-Man, that’s not the Spider-Man comic I want to read. I know that some of the Superior issues have gotten good reviews, but I have zero interest in reading them. I decided to stage my own-person protest and not buy the book until Peter was back.

  8. #8 hornacek says:

    (split up because I had problems posting this all at once)

    @4 – I’ve been following along with the podcasts and reviews, just to keep up to date on what’s going on, but I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything in “the saga of Peter Parker, Spider-Man”. I predict that years from now, if I look through my longboxes and see the gap between ASM#700 and ASM#1 I’ll say “oh yeah, that was the time when Doc Ock stole Peter’s life but those stories weren’t about Peter.”

  9. #9 hornacek says:

    (split up because I had problems posting this all at once)

    @4 – Just my opinion, I harbor no ill will towards anyone buying Superior and liking it. Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks.

    And I’ve been buying (and collecting) Amazing since the 220s so this is the longest I’ve gone without buying a Spidey comic regularly.

  10. #10 Enigma_2099 says:

    Now aware of Peter’s presence and realizing he almost had another death on his hands, SpOck at last understands just how much a failure he has been, and decides it must be Peter who must stop the Green Goblin. So SpOck returns to Parker Industries and, using his neurolitic scanner, proceeds to erase himself and his memories from Peter’s mind, ensuring that Peter will not have any distractions or further confusion about his identity. This also includes Otto’s love for Anna Maria, and as he fades away, Otto’s last words to Peter are, “Only you can save her…for you are the Superior Spider-Man.”

    —————

    That was the thing he used to “erase” Peter’s ghost from this mind the first time, right? Well, I’m sure it will work completely this time around, especially with May fast approaching.

  11. #11 tickbite says:

    A great in-depth review, stillanerd. You forgot one moment of sheer brilliance, though: “My turn.” What a great comeback line! (Although I found the art on the page to be a real downer. Was the head to small, or the crotch to big?! Somehow Spidey looked wrong …)

    And a good point about how Otto’s “suicide” was set up. The story would have felt so much stronger if Otto realizing his failure had come from a longer interaction with Peter rather than a sudden grasp of the situation. It seems like Slott tried this with the tunnel scene, but it was still such a short time period to come to that conclusion. It did feel rushed. However, had he began to set up Peter’s comeback three issues ago, the ending of this issue would not have been the “surprise” it should have been. Welcome to serial comics, I suppose …

  12. #12 SpiderHam says:

    hornacek

    I understand where your coming from. I was so annoyed with #700′s conclusion that I refused to pick up Superior until the Spider-Man 2099 storyline. It’s been inconsistent with quality, but when the book is on form it’s been great.

    What did you think about the #700.1-4 issues? I read them and was unimpressed.

  13. #13 hornacek says:

    @12 – Even if every issue of Superior was universally praised with A+’s and 10/10 grades, I still wouldn’t be buying it. It’s not a character I have any interest in, and the way they killed off Spider-Man to create this character just … well, it filled me with disgust frankly. I knew it wasn’t permanent, but still, I felt like Marvel had slapped me across the face and said “Haha, we don’t care!”

    The .1-.5 issues were mixed. .1 and .2 were ok, although Morrell has NO idea how the spider-sense works. .3 and .4 had a good idea but terrible execution (Spidey gets taken out by … some guy we’ve never heard of? And suddenly he has Wolverine’s healing factor?) .5 was the best of the bunch, I liked the Spidey/Human Torch interactions, they felt like what everyone says was so great about the Spidey/Human Torch mini-series (which I still have to read).

  14. #14 Dapperfex says:

    In regards to “who’s really in Peter’s body now?” you might be thinking about it just a little too hard. At the end of the day, albeit ignoring the idea that he shouldn’t have been able to get back ALL of his memories, an entire complete collection of Peter’s memories is back in Peter’s body. Tyring to argue that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s ACTUALLY Peter starts down the path philosophers have debated for some time. That being: what are you really? Is what makes up ‘you’ a collection of your memories and experience? Is that who you are? Is it purely down to your DNA and physical structure? Some combination of the two? The way I see it, and others can think this wrong, but a collection of all Peter’s memories and experiences are back inside Peter’s DNA and physical body. If that’s not really “Peter Parker”, I don’t know what is.

  15. #15 Jack Brooks says:

    So Peter will not be bumbling around NYC with amnesia?

  16. #16 Stillanerd says:

    @#1 and #2 Gary — Oh, I agree that all the things about Superior Spider-Man you mentioned in your first paragraph, Gary, are the very things I’ve had a problem with Superior Spider-Man since the beginning. And, I would also agree that, in those last five pages, are the most heroic thing Otto has done. My issue, however, isn’t so much what Slott and Gage intended for that scene but for the way the story built-up to that moment which, IMO, Slott and Gage didn’t do a good enough job in doing. And don’t forget, stopping the Goblin’s isn’t the only mess of Otto’s that Peter will have to clean up.

    As for what happened regarding Peter, Otto, and the little girl, I agree, how Slott defined Peter’s actions in Superior Spider-Man #8 and #9 were not only inconsistent but grossly out of character for Peter. The point I was making in my “Nerdy Nitpick” was that here’s Peter berating Otto for putting his needs over that little girl’s, when Slott himself characterized Peter of doing the way same thing with that little girl.

    Finally, I agree that one the problems Slott tends to have is when it comes to pacing and resolving his stories. And yes, he’s done this throughout his run on Superior Spider-Man, as you’ve cited. But him doing so in the past should not a justification for him doing so in this story. Although, to be fair, we haven’t yet got the ending of “Goblin Naiton” or Superior Spider-Man just yet.

  17. #17 SpiderHam says:

    #13

    Yeah I get that. I’m bored of Marvel’s current obsession with status quo changes, crossovers, and bombarding readers with overblown events. But they do seem to have a special focus on throwing their former flagship characters legacy down the toilet.
    They also seem to think that Spidey is unable to carry his own book anymore, because the number of guest stars that have been in the Spider-titles over the last decade has been ridiculous.

    I was bored by nearly all the stories in the 700. issues. Might have to check out .5 though, I didn’t get it when it came out. After the first 4 I felt like I was wasting my money on rejected ASM scripts.

  18. #18 Stillanerd says:

    @#3 hornacek — Very good point you make about Otto being the one responsible for what happened to Amy Chen in the first place, hornacek, and all the other potential heat stroke victims from Doc Ock’s plan in Ends of the Earth. Thing is, if the implication that SpOck was only a copy of Otto’s mind that was created prior to Ends of the Earth, or least prior to Doc Ock’s capture, is correct, notice how Slott retroactively lets SpOck off the hook for all the actions Doc Ock did in Ends of the Earth? Because if SpOck is not the real Doc Ock, then he’s not actually guilty of anything Doc Ock did.

    @#6 AndrewRoebuck — Thanks Andrew. And as I said to Gary, I agree what you said was the intention Slott and Gage were trying to convey. The problem, for me, is one of execution and also stopping the Green Goblin and saving Ana Maria are the only messes of SpOck’s that Peter will have to clean up.

    @ #10 Enigma_2099 — Yeah, that does seem rather convenient now that you brought it up, Engima. Good point.

    @ #11 tickbite — Well, I did mention the “My turn” line in the recap, tickbite, but you’re right; that line of Peter’s after he’s suited up was indeed a moment of brilliance. And yes, had we had more scenes like what we got in the tunnel or interactions between SpOck and Ghost Peter during “Goblin Nation,” then what happened in the final pages of this issue would have felt earned because then they would’ve been properly built-up instead of feeling like SpOck did a complete 180.

    #14 Dapperfex — Oh, I admit I probably am. But considering how this is involving Peter returning “from the dead” after a prolonged absence, it should be more clear if this is indeed the real Peter, fascinating philosophical implications about identity and the nature of self notwithstanding.

    #15 Jack Brooks — Not counting the upcoming “Who am I? digital series, yep.

  19. #19 Jack Brooks says:

    #18 — Then I hope Peter can successfully persuade his superhero friends what happened, and they don’t drag out the “Spider-Man is our enemy now” thing. It’s going to be a lot harder with his family, minus MJ.

    Man, I’m really sick of them treating MJ (hence us) as a perpetual pest and/or tease. Either make him Peter’s girlfriend again, or stop it. I hope the new editor doesn’t have an angry, pouty ego driving everything he does with her.

  20. #20 Adam S. says:

    @13: That’s basically how I feel about the whole Superior thing too.

    The thing about this issue is it seemed to go by really fast. As I got to the part where Otto’s about to delete his memories, I was thinking, “Wait a minute… what page am I on? Is the issue almost over? It seems like something’s missing…”

    Maybe if Peter and Otto fought in the mindscape again the issue wouldn’t have seemed to go by so fast, and would have been more rewarding, I dunno. I’m just glad Peter’s back.

  21. #21 hornacek says:

    @17 – my liking of some of the .1-.5 issues may be clouded by the fact that I’m not reading Superior so I was eager for some Peter Parker stories when those issues were announced.

    @18 – So now SpOck may not be the real Otto and Ghost Peter may not be the real Peter? My head hurts.

    @20 – I only read the 2 reviews here and even I felt that the ending was rushed. I could tell I was reading the last paragraph of the plot summation and all of a sudden I’m saying “wait, did that just say that Otto realizes Peter’s there? And now Peter’s back? Wait, what?” It felt like Slott had a notebook to write this issue in and he thought he had 5-10 blank pages left and he turned the page and realized he only had 1 blank page left so he summarized a bunch of plot so it would all fit. Having Otto realize that Peter is still alive and their confrontation – that should be an issue to itself. Yes, I know we already had that type confrontation in SSM #8 (?) where SpOck did the Parkerectomy but it needed to happen again, because (as we all know from the upcoming movie release date) Peter is going to win this time. Or at least he should have won instead of having SpOck forfeit.

  22. #22 Jack Brooks says:

    And we don’t know what happened to SpOck during that 31 day jump. Wouldn’t it have been meaningful if they had shown SpOck failing, and failing, and failing over that time period, so as to emotionally set up his final capitulation?

    I rather doubt that Peter-Ock or Peter 2.0 are just brainwave shadows of the original real people. I doubt Marvel wants peter’s return in time for the movie to be a pale facsimile of himself. There would be comparisons to the clone saga.

    Slott’s seemingly agnostic-ish worldview, or perhaps I should say materialistic worldview, allows for the brainwaves to = the person. I don’t agree, but I think that is how he thinks.

  23. #23 ericsmith says:

    welcome back peter parker aka spider-man

  24. #24 Barrel Jumper says:

    Bowling shoes.

  25. #25 orpheus_telos says:

    Just think of what happened to Jonah as glorious Laser Guided Karma/irony for all the years he persecuted Spider-Man. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  26. #26 gob says:

    I enjoyed your review even if I didn’t agree with it Especially enjoyed your side note about the Liz Allan scene possibly being a red herring.

    I think the great thing about peters death and resurrection is that the mechanics of how the mindscape works aren’t super clear. There are claims by peter and Otto but whether their narrations are accurate is uncertain. Its possible what Otto and Peter believe are the destruction of memory is simply an inability to access them immediately.

    I know that’s a copout but uncertain mechanics of a story element is far less of a copout to me than a villain deciding not to kill his multidecade nemesis with a normal bullet like normal villains but instead a phase shift inducing bullet so that the body can be brought back and taken over. It makes no sense from a character fidelity point of view or mechanistically.

    Generally deaths and resurrection stories just suck. I get why they do it because 60 year old fictional characters get stale. In this case, in retrospect, I thought mechanistically, it was far less problematic than the stories you compare it to. In terms of character fidelity, I thought it was actually good. Doc is indeed a survivalist. What has changed, and this is plausible to me, is his definition of survival has expanded to include one person he genuinely cares about. His eventual surrender is as much survivalist in this sense as it is a change of heart in that hes out of ideas to rescue her and believes peter to be the best hope. His pithy psychoanalysis at the end was spot on.

    My problem with it really then wasnt the overall idea, character fidelity, or even the single last issue. Its the pacing of that single issue with respect to the series. They could have cut some of the other stories to give more time to somehow illustrate the ineffectiveness of Otto against the goblin. Just felt it was too soon to believe Otto was all out to of come backs and needed an outside hand to step in. So, really, it was an issue of macropacing for me.

    My favorite superhero movie to date is the dark knight rises. There are better movies but I feel like I finally got to see the ending one of our longtime superheroes deserved. In comics, writers need to balance excitement with fans expectations of character. Its all about the illusion of change and death stories about characters that generate as much revenue for marvel as spiderman inevitably end one way. Its a shitty concept. To me, this one was a little less shitty because we got to see the pseudo redemption of a spiderman villain who got to dress up as the titular hero for a year. At least it was different

  27. #27 gob says:

    BTW, I also like the uncertainty of who spiderman is right now. Lota of good story potential. What is a soul in the marvel U and how does it relate to memory? With all the transferring around, what exactly is Peter right now and what was it that died when doc oc’s body passed.

    Took a philosophy class in college. There was a modern philosopher that likened a soul to a software program being executed. By a computer. His take was the soul is not the program but the execution of the program. You run the same program on a different machine or even stop the same computer and rerun the program again and those can be considered distinct souls.

    The headlines say peter parker has returned but objectively speaking its very easy to say this is not the same peter Parker, that he hasn’t REALLY come back but someone else instead who is very similar. Or maybe its like the original never died but has been brainwashed the whole time. I hope they explore this because that’s got a whole lot more potential than LES SEE HOW SPIDERMAN REACTS TO SOMETHING CRAZY IN THIS NEW NEW MARVEL CROSSOVER EPIC!!!

  28. #28 gob says:

    @#17

    I think DC and marvels responses are fascinating. Marvel relies heavily on the retcon to create drama. DC loves to reset their universe with a reality crisis. I love how right after final crisis, they can’t have another crossover with crisis in it so they call it flashpoint.

    I really dislike marvels approach because it is damaging to the integrity of the characters. Like Gwen Stacy sleeping with Osborn and having a pair of hidden kids. Ugh.

  29. #29 SpiderHam says:

    #29

    I hate the way they screw with past stories just to get a quick buck and a rise out of the fandom. They don’t seem to realize that if they put out better stories, more people would read them and they would have to rely less on shock tactics. As much as I hate it, I’ve also become desensitized to it. Whenever I read the Marvel solicits and see “THIS CANNOT BE UNDONE, THIS WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING FOREVER!” I know it’s just bull.
    I remember when I was a kid and I read the issue where Spidey comes back from Secret Wars with the black costume. I genuinely thought that costume change would stick forever and I was totally shocked when the suit turned out to be a symbiote. I miss being surprised like that.

    DC’s constant restarting is really annoying. But their events are the worst, Final Crisis, Forever Evil and the time travelling Bruce Wayne were all awful.
    That said, some of their status quo changes have been really good. I thought Grayson as Batman was awesome and have been loving new 52 Batman and Green Arrow.

  30. #30 Sbee says:

    @7 I am with you 110% this was never spider-man in my eyes heck everyone called him Spock. It was just Otto in a great cosplay getup and now the shows over.

  31. #31 Stillanerd says:

    #26 and #27 gob — Very articulate and well-thought out responses, Gob. And yes, just to underscore this point, I would have been fine with the way Otto sacrifices himself in order to give Peter his body back were it not for the way this issue, and Goblin Nation thus far, has been paced and executed. Like I said in the review, had we had more scenes of Peter and Otto forming an uneasy truce in order to stop the Green Goblin, interacting with each other throughout this story along the same lines of Otto offering his psychoanalysis of himself and Peter (which, I agree, was very spot on analysis by Otto), then those last pages would’ve felt far more genuine, IMO. And interesting angle on Otto being first and foremost a survivalist and how that now includes Anna Maria. And you with regards to the possible philosophical implications of memory and the soul and how that pertains to this story, and I agree that, under different circumstances, the true nature of Peter and Otto’s existence and the question of their identity would be fascinating to explore. However, because this particular story is being billed as “The return of Peter Parker,” after he’s been “dead” for more than a year, then I feel it needs to explicitly made clear as to whether or not the Peter who returns in this issue is, indeed, the real Peter. Even so, thanks for liking the review.

  32. #32 EdwardX1 says:

    Honestly, I think Peter’s return is better than most comic hero resurrections. Partially because of how unique it is. Most of the time we get “time/reality bending” or “magic healing pool”. This time we get… well this.
    What’s great about it is that he really had to struggle for it. There were moments where I actually was afraid he would not succeed. In addition there was a lot of build up to this moment so it didn’t feel like an ass pull.

    What’s better is that his return was absolutely necessary. First of all, the moral. Stealing someone’s life is just plain wrong, Otto. Second, it takes a true hero to stop a foe like Goblin. For real. And third, while this was a learning experience for Otto, it was also a learning experience for Peter. Now that he’s back, he’s not just refreshed but mentally stronger and more confident and aware of who he is. I’d say this entire series bettered both characters.
    Unlike the Batman comics (which I still love… well pre-N52 anyway) where Bruce Wayne had passed and had pretty much reached his peak potential. Peter is still young and deserves to go places. Bruce Wayne passed his Batman torch onto Dick Grayson, who could’ve been just as great if not greater a Batman as Bruce was. Of course, Bruce had to come back, despite years of development leading to the moment he’ll pass the torch, and Dick eventually had to be Nightwing again (which I guess is fine since he’s happier this way).
    Otto stole Peter’s life and then abused his new power. Sure, there is some good he did, but we need a true hero.

  33. #33 Geoff says:

    #32
    I agree with this. I felt that the build up to Otto giving up actually started when he failed to save Horizon Labs. It’s going to be interesting seeing if Peter thinks that the Goblin is Norman or if he realizes that it’s a impostor.

    Dick should have stayed as Batman, his personality was far more interesting than the over-serious parody of Bruce that’s being written now. The Black Mirror was a better storyline than anything Snyder’s written for New 52 Batman.

  34. #34 RDMacQ says:

    I don’t think that the mechanics of the bodyswap were meant to be anything more than simple technobable, meant to make the swap more “unique” than it was, and to give it some sort of sound explanation for what was essentially magic.

    I also doubt that Slott intended to end the story here. I think he probably wanted to drag this out another year, if not indefinitely. There are a lot of dropped plot points (The Gold Octobot for instance) that never paid off, and the resurrection of Peter seems to violate the rules Slott himself laid down. This was Slott being TOLD to bring Pete back, not him intending to do it from day one. And given that editorial is now trying to spin the “twist” as Peter’s resurrection (When we were told that for months) I’d say that there have probably been some rewrites along the way.

  35. #35 Spider-Dad says:

    FINALLY. 30+ issues and for many folks, $150 later…the end of Freaky Friday!
    Now if only they would bring the marriage back, I would start getting it again…

  36. #36 CRUTCH says:

    the nightmare of doc ock is finally over………???

  37. #37 hornacek says:

    @34 – Even if Marvel hadn’t specifically told him, Slott is a smart man, he *must* have known that he would have to have Peter return before ASM2 was released in theaters. I can’t imagine him seriously thinking that he would be able to have Otto still in Peter’s body while the movie was out.

    @36 – “Our long national nightmare is finally over.”

  38. #38 Matt Robert McKenzie says:

    While I am not sold on HOW he came back, nor am I too thrilled about SSM (in fact I’ve been one of its harshest critics even though I only bought at the most 2 books out of it and read the rest while in the comic store), and I am REALLY not thrilled that Slott is still writing the book (that man is easily the most un-professional man in the industry today, more so than Dan DiDio, Alan Moore, and Jim Lee combined,) Peter is back. To me, I can live with that. Give it another 6 months and then another writer will FINALLY take over. If we’re lucky we’ll get Mark Waid back!

  39. #39 QuilSniv says:

    My biggest problem with this run as a whole (besides the series itself) is probably the fact that the Avengers do practically nothing to stop SpOck, and only put him on Avengers Probation for breaking a good deal of the US laws. And the final button for me was that Cap and Iron Man are such hypocrites in that they decide to arrest him for participating in… underground medical activities? Really, Slott? These are two of the most popular Marvel characters in the franchise’s history, and you just made them sound so hypocritical that they make CLU from Tron: Legacy seem like a pretty honest guy. Again, thanks for nitpicking on this, Stillanerd. Even though it tends to be a regular nitpick of yours, you tend to make each nitpick seem original.

    And I don’t remember who said it, or what page it was, but I have to agree that once this streak of status-quo breaking is over, Peter will probably make an Avengers division of heroes who have been let down by the Avengers. I can’t remember where it was, but I remember Avengers quitting over the fact that their teammates ignored problems within their own ranks. Maybe I’ll write a fanfic on this later, but for now, let’s see if Marvel does it this month since Goblin Nation is ending.

    Also, are you going to be reviewing Amazing Spider-Man once this is over? Great review as always!

    -QuilSniv

  40. #40 FT95 says:

    The point about “mind clones” is disturbing as f*ck, because it could indeed imply the real Peter never came back. I hope this is already solved by the creative staff in some way, otherwise not dealing with the logical fallout of such a thing would be unsatisfying. On the other hand, if they had Peter realizing he was simply brainwashed, not replaced, by Ock, that would be a compelling, emotional story, because it would mean (to himself) that he is very much responsible for SpOck’s actions.

  41. #41 Stillanerd says:

    @#39 QuilSniv — Thanks very much, QuilSniv! And to answer to your question, yes, both Andrew Roebuck and I will continue to review Amazing Spider-Man, along with “Learning to Crawl” (Amazing Spider-Man #1.1 to #1.5).

  42. #42 Al says:

    I really didn’t buy the BS with Otto at all. He hasn’t changed enough to give up, I don’t buy his hesitation or his admittence that he sucks and Peter rocks. Nope, out of character even with the ‘development’ he’s allegedly gone through here. On the plus side yeah Norman would be sadistic enough to pull this kind of stunt with the kid

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