The end is near. A lot nearer than you think.
Marvel. Slott, Gage, Camuncoli, Dell, Fabela.
So things are moving a lot faster in this book than I was expecting. It’s understandable considering there’s only one issue left, but by the end of this book you’re left in a very different place than when you started.
The penultimate chapter in the Goblin Nation story sees Peter Parker make some developments that are sure to please fans, and sees Otto Parker (or Spider-Ock, or SpOck, or whatever you want to call him) come to some startling revelations about not only the mess he’s made of his world and his life, but about himself as well. In fact you could say he has his epiphany, a real moment of clarity that may be…actual growth? Either way decisions are made and the set up for next issue leaves you in no doubt that the one true Spider-Man is on his way back. You hear that, haters?! Parker’s coming back! Put down your pitchforks and ‘I Hate Dan Slott’ banners, the torment is nearly over! Ok, so I’m being silly now.
I actually loved this Superior run, and while Peter Parker’s Spider-Man is one of my favourite, if not my all-time favourite Marvel character, it was great to see the status quo being shaken up so thoroughly. I have to say though the Goblin Nation story hasn’t been my favourite part of the run, and this issue is no different.
I’m not sure if it was the ridiculous amount of hype that’s been placed on this being the ultimate final battle that’s been building up for the whole series or what but I can’t help but feel it’s all a little…flat. There’s decided resolution in this issue that was reached fairly quickly, and a status quo shift that I expected would take longer to develop. Maybe I just wasn’t expecting things to come to a head so soon, and leaving everything to the last issue would have been unrealistic, however when I got to the end of this issue I had to re-read it just so the importance and significance of what I just read would actually sink in.
Despite that I still find Christos Gage’s writing in this issue, especially when portraying the voices of both Otto and Peter, to be spot on. The legacy of this run will certainly be that Dan Slott and the team have taken a villain that some would say isn’t even Spider-Man’s main number 1 enemy, and lifted him from a two dimensional character, shaking his fist at the sky, into a sympathetic study of a flawed and damaged soul.
Otto’s true nature shines in this issue, as does Peter’s, and through Otto’s epiphany we get a real and succinct insight into the core of both men that could only come from someone who’s been inside both of their heads. Giuseppe Camuncoli’s pencils are nothing short of stunning. They’re intricate and detailed, but you never once have any doubt as to what’s going on. It’s hard to portray such a frenetic figure as Spider-Man without losing the choreography of movement between panels, but Camuncoli makes it look effortless, and should not be underestimated. He also manages to look completely fresh while simultaneously reminding me of all my favourite Spider-man stories from childhood.
And that I think is the real beauty of this book. While the Goblin Nation arc may have missed the mark slightly when it comes to pacing and impact, the spirit and tone of Superior Spider-Man has managed to capture everything that’s great about everyone’s favourite wall crawler.
One more issue to go, and while some story lines have seemingly been concluded, there’s still the big question: who is the Goblin King?!