With Venom in his rear view mirror, the Superior Spider-Man has shifted his focus to the Avengers in the latest issue of one of the most controversial comic books of 2013. After Otto Octavius has been living in the body of Peter Parker after switching brains with his greatest foe for 25 issues, the former Doctor Octopus has dealt out his own version of justice in an attempt to protect New York City from any and all threats that were thrown at it. But after long believing that he had rid himself of every trace of his nemesis from his mind, Peter Parker returned in the last issue to aid in the fight against the Venom symbiote in an attempt to regain control of his body. While he’s stuck figuring that out, Otto doesn’t even know that the biggest fight of his life is heading his way as the Green Goblin has been quietly building an army to take on the not so friendly neighborhood web-slinger.
Now, in a prelude to the Goblin Nation storyline that will lead to the fall of the Superior Spider-Man and the return of the Amazing Spider-Man, it’s an all out winner take all goblin warfare as the Green Goblin goes one on one with the Hobgoblin to determine who lives on to face Spidey alongside a massive goblin army. Meanwhile, Spider-Man must deal with the Avengers, who uncovered that their teammate has gone behind their backs to delete his files from their system, and Peter Parker continues to ponder about how he’ll escape the state of purgatory that he’s living within his own mind.
For being a regular sized issue, it sure felt like a jam-packed double issue. There was so much going on in this book due to writer Dan Slott balancing three very intricate storylines all at once. But true to form, he didn’t miss a beat because he kept the action coming as we switched back and forth from one to another. This transition was aided by the help of three separate artists: Humberto Ramos, Javier Rodriguez, and Marcos Martin. Each one brought a unique experience to each aspect of the story that just work phenomenally.
While I normally love Ramos’ explosive style, my favorite artist of the issue might be Rodriguez because of the way that he handled the Avengers portion of the story. His pages were lighter and much more colorful, almost like the acclaimed work from Matt Fraction’s ‘Hawkeye’, but with more conventional panels. Something about how he worked with his colorist so harmoniously to create such a dark, bold representation of Spidey against the lighter team of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Even though Black Widow, Iron Man, and Wolverine all use elements of black in their attire, Spider-Man’s were the blackest blacks and that was something that I saw that set him apart as more of an aggressor in this situation. This might be one of those things that I could be thinking too much about, but I certainly appreciated it nonetheless.
Despite all the awesome things in this issue, I think the highlight was the goblin war. The Green Goblin asserted his dominance over all other goblins in a way that we haven’t seen before. He took out his biggest competition and prepares for an even bigger battle on the horizon. Sure, he may not have taken out the person he was expecting to, but it was still an excellent victory that puts him in a very strong place prior to Goblin Nation.
If there were anything to complain about, it would be the lack of explanation in the Peter Parker storyline. We haven’t gotten any closer to finding out how the real Peter survived in the depths of Octavius’ mind, but we know that he’s extremely motivated to come back. While that’s all well and good, I hope that Slott gives us a good reason when the true Spider-Man returns by issue #30.
Overall, as I’ve been saying about this series for some time, ‘Superior Spider-Man’ is one of the best books that I have on my pull list. More often than not, I’m very pleased by what I’m reading because it’s shaken up Spider-Man in a way that he’s needed to be shaken up for quite a while. It’ll be a bit of a bummer to see Superior go, but I hope that he goes out with a bang. Let’s see what you’ve got, Dan Slott! Now that the stag has been set for ‘Goblin Nation’, I’m ready for it. (Maybe not emotionally, but mentally, I’m ready.)
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #25
Written by Dan Slott
Art by Humberto Ramos, Javier Rodriguez, & Marcos Martin
Cover by Ryan Stegman & Jason Howard