Superior Spider-Man #20 coverAt this year’s New York Comic Con, ‘Superior Spider-Man’ writer Dan Slott teased that issues number twenty and twenty-one would be the start of some pretty big things happening in Peter Parker’s world. Well, now we can finally see what all the hubbub is about as #20 of one of the most controversial titles of 2013 has in store for us.

In the last issue, a new status quo was established as Horizon Labs, for the lack of better words, blew up and is simply no more. With the actual building gone and Peter’s long and storied relationship with Max Modell now at an end, Spider-Man’s alter ego is left without a day job. Also, the Spider-Man of the future Miguel O’Hara is left stranded in 2013 after Tyler Stone destroyed the means that brought him to the Heroic Age.

Now, a new chapter begins as Spider-Man and the city of New York are still standing. Octo-Pete is preparing for his thesis presentation and a new business venture, Carlie Cooper is deep into her investigation of the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler, and Mary Jane Watson eyes a new beau. But first, Spidey comes across an old friend in the form of the Black Cat.

First of all, with the teaser from the last issue and the cover of the current issue, I was expecting a lot more of Felicia Hardy in this issue. Obviously, there’s now unfinished business between the Superior Spider-Man and his one-time favorite furry friend, but I wanted to see a bit of that classic dance between these two. Black Cat is one of my favorite Spidey allies, but I guess this is just Slott’s way of reminding his readers that we’re dealing with a brand new Spider-Man. So far I’ve been behind him and all the things that he’s been throwing at us, but this one hurt a little bit personally.

But by the end of the issue, we learned that Ms. Hardy wasn’t the only woman from the past making a return. I won’t come out and say it so as to avoid spoilers, but I gotta say, I wasn’t even sure who she was when the page turn showed the reveal. I had to go look her up online after I finished the book because there wasn’t a whole lot of explanation since that would’ve ruined the final page. But now that I know a bit more about her and her motivations, I’m very intrigued by what’s coming next and where this is leading.

Superior Spider-Man #20 Black Cat

Finally, Slott’s take on the classic Romita MJ line was great. That’s another thing that I don’t want to give away, but I find it very interesting that Slott has chosen to follow Peter’s former main squeeze as she looks for love elsewhere. I feel like he’s doing this to set up for something down the line because it doesn’t really have an impact on what’s happening now. As they say, if you show a shotgun on the wall, your characters better use it.

Overall, I liked this issue a lot. Even though we have Otto Octavius in Peter Parker’s body, some of the old Parker luck has stuck around. It’s a fresh take on Pete’s girl and school problems. Plus, the obscure villains and throwbacks should please long-time Spidey fans who are familiar with the years and years of mythology. At the very least, they should be a little interested in what’s going on here since I’m sensing that Spider-Man’s true secret identity is in danger again.

Final Score:

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SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #20
Written by Dan Slott
Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, John Dell, & Antonio Fabela