There is so much going on in the world of ‘Superior Spider-Man’ right now. With the ‘Goblin Nation’ storyline reaching it’s climax, the days of Otto Octavius as Spider-Man are coming to an end. But before the return of the proper Peter Parker in ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ next month, there are still so many stories to be told. That’s why the action has spilled out into another edition of ‘Superior Spider-Man Annual’. This time around, Christos Gage focuses on Ben Urich and Carlie Cooper, both of whom have some pretty strong connections to the Green Goblin and his war on Spider-Man.
In the first story, Daily Bugle star reporter Ben Urich attempts to do what he can to save his nephew Phil Urich AKA the Hobgoblin AKA the Goblin Knight from the grasps of Norman Osborn and the Goblin Serum. However, this Uncle Ben learns that the nephew he knew may be lost forever. In the second story, Wraith finally learns what happened to Carlie Cooper, who is currently seeking the aid of Peter’s Parker Industries colleague Sajani in purging her body of the Goblin Serum.
First of all, I’m really glad that Gage was brought in to write these stories. While I have been enjoying Dan Slott’s work on ‘Superior Spider-Man’, his concerns right now are totally focused on Spidey vs. Goblin, as they should be. This is the final story arc for this series and this match-up has been a long time coming, so it needs the writer’s utmost attention and deserves the page time. That being said, I have been wondering what would come of Carlie/Monster. That seemed like a very important part of the story that could have been left out of the main series in order to dedicate more time to the big things happening right now. Now, thanks to addressing these things in an annual, fans are treated to the whole story and Slott has more wiggle room in his series to get out everything he needs to get out before ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ comes back. After all, there are still a lot of loose ends that need to be tied up with Pete in the Mindscape, so we’ll need as much room for that as possible.
Another thing that I liked about this issue is the focus on Ben Urich. He’s always been an interesting character in the Marvel Universe to me because he’s supposed to be the man on the street. He’s your every man who happens to live in a world full of superheroes. And now that he’s somewhat connected to that side of life through familial ties, it’s great to see him step into a heroic role for once. Though he may not have succeeded in the way that he meant to, it was still a great moment in character development for him.
Finally, I really admire the old school feel of the first story in the book. Javier Rodriguez and Alvaro Lopez’s style is reminiscent of vintage Spider-Man comics. The blues, yellows, and greens were the main factor providing that vibe, but in the panels where Phil’s face is showing through his goblin mask, my mind was reminded of some classic shots of villains laughing. Since Ben Urich is an old school kind of character, this style was very appropriate for a story that centered on him.
While I’ve been greatly enjoying ‘Superior Spider-Man’ for some time now, I appreciated the break to focus on some of the ancillary characters. Plus, I’m sure that Slott appreciated the break as well since he has a lot going on with his new ‘Silver Surfer’ book coming out soon in addition to his work in the Spidey office. Next week, we get another issue of ‘Superior Spider-Man’ and after that there’s only one more issue of one of the most controversial comics in recent history. It’s an exciting time to be a Marvel fan, True Believers!
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #2
Written by Christos Gage
Art by Javier Rodriguez, Philippe Briones, Alvaro Lopez, & Veronica Gandini
Cover by Michael Del Mundo