Friday, April 18, 2014

Superior Spider-Man #31

It is a triumph of storytelling that Dan Slott can leave his readers with a twinge of regret at the end of this issue. Peter Parker is one of the most popular, enduring characters of all time, yet I know I felt a bit bummed out that I won’t get any more adventures of Otto Octavius as the Superior Spider-Man. This era of the comic got me back into Spidey, so I have to thank Slott for re-energizing my interest in the wall crawler.


Peter actually reclaimed control of his body last issue, so this is all about the final confrontation with the Goblins. Slott delivers on that score, and he even gives us a few hints about how much work Pete has ahead of him in trying to get his life back in order. But when acquaintances like Spider-Man 2099 can instantly tell when Spider-Man is back to normal, it isn’t shocking that former girlfriends like Mary Jane and Carlie Cooper can see things are straightened out. In fact, it will be interesting seeing how much drama Slott lays out for Peter to try and wade through. Other than a renewed antagonism with J. Jonah Jameson, it seems like Pete’s life isn’t out of control, even after months of Otto behind the wheel.

Anyway, back to the core conflict. While Peter Parker might be a bit confused on his personal status quo and what exactly is going on in the world, there is one area where he is very confident. He knows he can beat up the Green Goblin. After months of overconfidence from Otto, Peter exhibits some confidence of his own, never showing a shadow of doubt that he can handle the situation. It’s great seeing Pete take it to his old foes both verbally and physically. (Green Goblin is another character that can instantly recognize Peter’s return.)

I’m not sure how I feel about Norman Osborn going undercover and taking on new identities, but I really dig the use of Liz Allen and Normie Osborn as new foils for Spidey. Especially if the new Spider-Man 2099 series will be based out of Liz Allen’s Alchemax. It will be interesting seeing how much Osborn gets used with this new gimmick; the character was so overexposed during Dark Reign that his time away has been a nice break.

How long before we get the Molten Man involved? If Liz is going full-on villain, let’s get that guy involved!
Giuseppe Camuncoli delivers solid art, as always, but some of the panels look a bit rushed. I’m not sure if it is a printing error or what, but the pages with the Avengers taking on the Spider-Slayers looked blurry and unfinished. (Odd, since artists usually love the chance to draw big-name guest stars.)When it counts, Camuncoli nails it. The crux of the issue is in that last panel, the moment when Peter Parker realizes that Otto actually did do some good as Spider-Man. And Peter has to admit that people are going to grieve for his old foe. It’s a classic Spidey image, and Camuncoli expresses the emotion perfectly.

The story is clearly Good. I can’t say the same about the price.

Now listen, Marvel. I like Christos Gage a lot, but $5.99 is too pricey for a single comic. Especially one bound with a standard cover. I could feel the paper disintegrating as I read the issue. I’m not sure if Marvel is testing the waters for a $4.99 standard price, but I can promise that when that day comes, no digital copy is going to get me to stick around. Fair warning, I’m not going higher than $3.99 (and it better have the digital code, or I’ll drop it like I’m dropping Superior Foes.)

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