THE END OF THE SUPERIOR ERA. WAS IT WORTH IT?
PLOT: Dan Slott
SCRIPT: Christos Gage
PENCILS: Giuseppe Camuncoli
INKS: John Dell and Terry Pallot
COLOR: Antonio Fabela
LETTERER: Chris Eliopoulos
ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Ellie Pyle
EDITOR: Nick Lowe
“ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES”
WRITER: Christos Gage
ARTIST: Will Sliney
COLORIST: Edgar Delgado
LETTERER: Chris Eliopoulos
MAIN PLOT: We open on the Goblin showing Ana Maria the remnants of New York while he sits atop a building loaded with explosives. From here we go to Parker Industries where a newly rejuvenated Peter Parker discovers that Carlie was turned into a goblin and that Otto had managed to synthesize a cure. He explains to Carlie that Otto is gone and then rushes off to tie up loose ends…I mean save the day. First stop Spider-Man 2099 who has just defeated all the spider slayers from a few issues back, he is understandably upset until Spider-Man says “MIND SWAAAAP” which will be his go to catch phrases for a year no doubt. Meanwhile J. Jonah Jameson has realized that he is in ruins with no hope, and Tiberius Stone is selling off the spider slayers to the highest bidders throughout the world. Next stop for the Spider-Men is the Avengers. Spidey 2014 kicks Phil Urich in the jaw which promptly sends him fleeing. Peter learns he quit the Avengers and they ponders a loud if it’s even possible to do so. Captain America and Black Widow comment on him sounding more akin to classic Spidey, and the Spider-Men rush off to Alchemax.
On the way there Peter gets the backstory on how the company was formed and then they are interrupted by the Goblin Queen who sends Spider-Man 2099 flying through a window. Spider-Man 2014 then bonks her on the back of the head and gives her the Goblin cure. Then they go off and finally reach Alchemax. When they arrive they see a crazed Normie Osborn proclaiming that it was all for him because he’s so special. Liz Allan and Tiberius Stone barge in shouting that they all need to get out of the building. Stone activates his Spider signal jammer but Spider-Man 2099 knocks him out before it can do any real harm. Liz Allan picks it up and scolds Tiberius. Spider-Man 2014 tells Spider-Man 2099 to help them out of the building and that he will deal with the Goblin King. Who just happens to be on the roof of Alchemax. The Goblin King menacingly mocks Spider-Man still assuming it’s Otto. Peter soon makes a quip about his man-purse leading The Goblin to realize that the true Spider has returned. The Goblin turns tail and flies away attempting to escape activating the bombs. Spider-Man chases after him, and they have a very short fight in which Spidey unmasks him. Only to discover his true identity is MASON BANKS, well actually NORMAN OSBORN disguised and Mason Banks. Regardless Spider-Man pumps him full of the Goblin cure saves Ana Maria, and then takes the Goblin in. Right before he is handed off to the authorities however Liz Allan “ACCIDENTALLY” activates the spider sense bomb allowing Norman “Mason Banks” Osborn to escape. Cut to Osborn in the sewers claiming he has now regained his sanity and will be back with a new face in order to destroy Spider-Man for good. The final page of Superior Spider-Man has Peter in a conversation with Ana Maria who explains her true love for Peter Parker…the Superior Peter Parker. Leading Spider-Man to realize that he had to let one person die in order for him to live, and that man was Otto Gunther Octavius.
B PLOT: The last little story involves Peter apologizing to those closest to him. Mary Jane tells him she can’t deal with his constantly changing lifestyle any longer, she believes that it was Otto who did those terrible things to her, but she doesn’t think it makes a difference. In the middle of the conversation Peter has to step out in order to deal with his Jameson sins. He swings away as a newly healed Carlie Cooper talks to Mary Jane. They both agree that leaving Peter is the best thing to do for their safety. As they walk away Peter ponders as to the content of the conversation as he swings into Jameson’s office. Whilst there he gives Jameson all the blackmail Otto had been holding him with and apologizes for his actions. Jameson however doesn’t care as he already resigned being the mayor a half hour ago. He stomps out of his office declaring that it will be he who kicks around others from now on instead of it being the other way around.
STORY: Well this is it, the end of the Superior era of Spider-Man an era which I feel will as a whole be looked back upon fondly. It introduced use to a deeper view of Otto Octavius and everything he had in his life. Yet for all the praise I have for this run of Spider-Man it has a fairly lackluster ending. The bulk of the issue is just Peter Parker attempting to solve Otto’s mess which sounds exciting but it really just ends up being very rushed. Almost all of the big Goblin fights in this issue are finished within the span of a page or two with most of them being defeated fairly easily. They should have given Superior one last issue in order to truly delve into a historic Goblin fight. Peter doesn’t seem to have the rage that fuels him in most bouts with the Goblin. The city Spider-Man has sworn to protect is in ruins, and he was helpless to stop it until now. Sure the quips are enjoyable, and the light hearted nature of Peter is a joy to see but it would have been interesting to see him use the Goblin as a punching bag to let out some of his frustration. If you are a long time Spidey fan this Goblin fight leaves you with a sour taste, and wouldn’t even rank in the top twenty as far as villain hero fights go. The reveal that Mason Banks was behind Goblin Nation and the fact that he was really Norma in disguise is something fans have been speculating for a long time now, and I was let down with the reveal. I really thought that Liz Allan was the true Goblin King and was disappointed to see she was just another lackey. Although given what happens in this issue I am certain she is equally responsible for Goblin Nation and she was doing it of her own free will. Now don’t get me wrong this isn’t an awful issue, it’s a fine issue but I was expecting something on the quality of last issue which I didn’t get.
The best thing to come of this story arc is the decision not to kill Ana Maria. This is going to be a truly heartbreaking conclusion to their relationship that will no doubt be a dramatic goldmine when the Amazing Spider-Man comes back out in the next few weeks. I also enjoyed the “Actions Have Consequences” mini-story at the end. Sure it was just a way to write off Carlie and Mary Jane for a while but it was done in a well thought out and emotionally touching way. Had Quesada ended the Spider-Marriage in a scene like this I think readers would have been much more understanding. It lays the groundwork for future Amazing Spider-Man stories and I am truly interested in where Jonah goes from here. My only worry is that he will go back to the Bugle which will be truly disappointing. At long last Jonah has a very relatable and viable reason for his renewed hatred for Spider-Man. Although it seems like he gets a new reason to either “respect” or “despise” Spider-Man every hundred issues so I am unsure how long this hatred will last.
ART: No complaints whatsoever as Camuncoli continues to hit it out of the park. I really enjoyed Will Sliney’s artwork on the backup story as well. It will be sad to get Amazing Spider-Man #1 without Camuncoli’s great pencils.
ODDITIES: Virtually nothing was done with Hobgoblins villain army. Spider-Man 2099 essentially just watches Norman run away after Liz activates the spider sense jammer. Norman claims that he will be much more of a threat when he has his wits about him, which I think is ridiculous. The thing that makes Norman a credible threat, what makes him go that extra mile that no one else will is his partial insanity. If we wanted a devious cunning, non-insane Goblin we will go back and read Hobgoblin stories. The insanity of Norman is what makes him interesting. The super tiny Spider-bots that cure Norman…and we even seen those things before or did Peter literally just invent them on the fly? Spider-Man leaving Ana Maria to essentially save herself because he heard she can take care of herself. Sooo Peter who told you that? Could it have been the megalomaniac who just stole your life for the last year….yeah I’m sure he is reaaaaaalllly reliable.
BEST BACKGROUND CHARACTER: Normie Osborn, while Normie may not have been the Goblin King like I expected him to be he still was an entertaining background character. I love his speech when he is sitting on the chair at Alchemax, although we never did see what he forgot in his mother’s office. Also you can see him talking to Lily Hollister when Peter is bringing the Goblin to Spider-Man 2099; I wonder what they were talking about. (yup same as last issue I can’t get enough of Normie it seems).
ON THE NEXT SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN: Nothing…there is not more…its over it’s finally over. Cue sad Hulk music as I walk away from my keyboard dramatically.
Spider-Man will return in Amazing Spider-Man #1: (oh I will be returning to review it as well)