Review: Superior Spider-Man #31
The book that made the Spider-books a hit again has ended. And I couldn’t have thought of a better ending than the way Dan Slott, Christos Gage, and Guiseppe Camuncoli ended #31.
Spoilers for the entire Superior Spider-Man series
#31’s A-story deals with Peter’s final battle with the Green Goblin and rescuing all the people in his life. Peter is running around and trying to save the day while making quip after quip. Slott and Gage have a quick pace in #31, and touch on most of the remaining plot threads that have been dangling in this series. I was surprised how much the writing team touched upon and thusly wrapped up without the book feeling cramped. That’s been a constant criticism of this book, and one that I’ve mostly agreed with. There are a few abstract questions about how is Peter’s life going to work, but the main issue of the Goblin destroying his life and his loved ones are tied up in a nice bow. I was a little taken back by the Green Goblin reveal at first, but the implications have me intrigued. Liz’s quick hit of the Spider-Man jammer was probably the weakest point in this issue. How does Norman Osborne get away so fast? Why didn’t Miguel see him run away? It feels all too convenient of not being able to figure out a different way for Norman to escape.
The second story by Gage is superbly written. It’s a weird to see MJ and Carlie agree that being around Peter is a bad thing for their lives. But at the same time, he’s the most unselfish person in the world and they are acting somewhat selfish. Understandably selfish, but still selfish. This section makes me yearn for a one-shot of significant others of superheroes talking about the merits of staying with their S.O. or leaving them with similar people. The J. Jonah Jameson section felt like a long time coming. He’ll probably go back to who he was before at the Daily Bugle and we’ll have the status quo as similar to the movies as possible. But it isn’t as forced as the inclusion as the Lizard arc when the first Amazing Spider-Man movie came out.
I can point to a single panel that sums up my feeling for this book. When Peter finds the Goblin and makes his first quip of the battle, the Green Goblin says, “…it’s you.” That line gave me chills, and the Goblin’s line made Peter’s return truly sink in. I’ve enjoyed Otto’s antics as Spider-Man for the past year and a half, but I didn’t realize how much I missed having Peter Parker behind the mask until now. Superior Spider-Man has been a great series in that time and has consistently been one of Marvel’s most entertaining series. Marvel must be happy with this series just on the sales figures alone. I’m especially glad it didn’t overstay its welcome and ended at the perfect point in the story. Otto had his chance and messed up instead of having multiple chances to “prove” he is the superior Spider-Man. While it would have been entertaining to see Ock continue as Spider-Man, I don’t feel like I’ve been cheated of stories.
Guiseppe Camuncoli’s artwork can look quite bad if it’s even remotely rushed. But he seems to have given this issue extra attention as it’s one of his best issues while on the title. The terrifying faces that plague Camuncoli’s work are gone; replaced by faces filled with personality and emotion. Anna’s face as she tells Spider-Man about how amazing SpOck was to her was a touching moment that helped cap the issue off. Norman Osborne’s new face seems like an odd choice. He’s more hick than menacing and it ended up making that scene funny when it shouldn’t have been a shocking moment. Will Sliney’s B-story hits the emotional tones it wants to well. Peter running towards the car on the first page looks incredibly awkward though. But when it counts Sliney comes through. MJ’s confession about leaving Peter behind looks great and readers can feel the pain she has saying this. The subtle reference to her original introduction into comics was a nice touch.
Superior Spider-Man entertained us for the past 18 months, but it’s great to see Amazing Spider-Man back on the solicits again
Superior Spider-Man #31 gets 4.5/5.
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