We have finally reached the penultimate issue of ‘Superior Spider-Man’. There’s only one issue left and it’s for all the marbles, but before the final battle, we have quite the game changer this week. After a highly emotional chapter in the Otto Octavius story in the last issue, the action was so plentiful that our story spilled out into ‘Superior Spider-Man Annual’ #2. And now, with the Doc’s beloved Anna Maria in danger, the former villain must make the ultimate sacrifice to save her.

Previously, Carlie Cooper AKA Monster was able to overpower the Goblin Serum temporarily and head to Parker Industries in an attempt to expunge the toxin from her body. Meanwhile at Empire State University, Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099 have their hands full with Mayor Jameson’s “Goblin Killers”, which were actually programmed to target our web-slinging hero. Finally, in the subway tunnels of New York City, the Green Goblin prepared for another maniacal plot involving another one of Spider-Man’s loved ones.

Like I said in my review of last week’s annual, there is just so much going on that I was relieved to have gotten that extra book to tell us what happened in the background while the battle raged on between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. If they had tried to squeeze the story about Carlie into issue thirty, the pacing would have been way off and it probably wouldn’t have been as powerful as it was. This issue just hit all the right beats emotionally and technically. This whole arc has been an emotional rollercoaster and this latest installment was no different. I was not ready for those final moments, but they were just so good. Dan Slott and Christos Gage tugged at all the right heartstrings.

Amidst all the serious drama going on everywhere, there were still vintage moments of comedy scattered throughout this issue, just as there usually tends to be when it comes to Spider-Man. I thought it was hilarious that Superior just left 2099 to fend for himself midsentence while Miguel tried to hatch a plan. I was also a big fan of all the puns from the various goblins. There was tons of classic villain banter in this issue that may or may not have been borderline offensive to some people. I mean, when the Goblin said that he’s “done bridges” and is trying tunnels is super harsh. I don’t care if that Gwen Stacy stuff happened before I was born. It still hurts, ya know?

But my favorite bit of writing had to be the moments between Otto and Pete in the Mindscape. For the past few issues, it seemed like Parker had been lost forever within the memories of his greatest foe, but his will being what it is (and the announcement of ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ coming next month), we knew that we hadn’t seen the last of the original Spider-Man. But what wasn’t a given was the tender final moments of this issue that likely brought out some tears amongst readers this week. Without going into too much detail, I’ll just say that it’s a great moment to propel this story into it’s climax. In fact, this might be one of the best issues of ‘Superior Spider-Man’ period.

I have said this from the beginning and I’ll say it again before I no longer have the opportunity: ‘Superior Spider-Man’ is one of the best things to happen to Spider-Man in the past few decades. It just brought a whole new approach to the classic character and while many, many people may not have been on board at first, I hope they had a change of heart and allowed themselves to enjoy this excellent series. While I’m a fan of Peter Parker and I look forward to ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ next month, I just don’t want ‘Superior Spider-Man’ to end. But since it has to, I can’t think of a better way to send it off. Hopefully the final issue is as legendary as it has been built up over the past year.

Final Score:

Written by Dan Slott & Christos Gage
Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, John Dell, & Antonio Fabela