Monday, April 7, 2014

Superior Spider-Man: Goblin War

Time to look at one of the most consistent books on the stands. Great since issue one...

Dan Slott has been doing some amazing things on this title. Who would have thought that so many of us would be distressed at the thought of losing the Doc Ock-driven Spider-Man? With Peter’s return in Amazing just around the corner, I know I’m very torn about it. I love Otto’s Superior Spider-Man, and I haven’t been this invested in Spider-Man in years. Could there be room for both?

For now, this is still Otto’s show. Things are finally starting to turn for the guy, though. He spent 20 or so issues getting Peter Parker’s life in order; getting a girlfriend, graduating with a doctorate, starting a company, hiring an army, and putting J. Jonah Jameson in line. But all of that is crashing down in the current Goblin War storyline. While Otto may have been able to handle everything that has come his way so far, the Green Goblin might be beyond him.

I can’t remember exactly what Norman Osborn’s status is right now, but it sure sounds like him behind the old mask. Surrounding himself with his goblin family has set up a nice gauntlet of flunkies for Otto to work through before finishing the story too. Monster, Menace, the Goblin Knight, and the many, many flunkies on the scene provide plenty of scaling villains for Otto to deal with.

I’m happy that Spider-Man 2099 seems to be coming back into the spotlight too. I loved the character from his first appearance, and giving the reader a straight-up good guy to root for is a very wise move.

Slott clearly has affection for Spider-Man history too. His use of Roderick Kingsley has been inspired; Kingsley “franchises” out-of-use villain IDs to losers in exchange for a cut of their take. Kingsley also remains one of the smarter villains in the book, sending doubles and replacements to keep himself safe. One thing I really like about Slott’s villains is how he mixes in different eras of characters, with 90’s characters like Stunner and Cardiac playing important roles too.

One area where this book shines is in the use of a supporting cast. There aren’t a lot of comics that still utilize the supporting cast like in the old days; it seems most heroes just hang out with other spandex folks now. Not Slott’s Spider-Man. Mary Jane is doing fine on her own, with a new boyfriend and occasional links back to the main story. Aunt May is still around and still important. Otto’s girlfriend, coworkers, Jonah, and the rest round out a cast that makes this book feel like a lived-in world. The regular Avengers appearances are icing on the cake.

I’m amazed at the pace that this book comes out. I felt like I hadn’t read an issue for awhile, and when I opened up my Comixology account, I had 4 issues waiting! I swear it had only been a month or so since I’d read an issue. For a guy with an online reputation for lateness, Slott is pumping this book out very quickly.

He wouldn’t be able to hit this schedule without the assistance of his very able artistic bullpen. Humberto Ramos, Giuseppe Camuncoli, and more swap storylines to make sure each chapter has a consistent look while maintaining a decent through-style. I think I like Camuncoli the most right now, but there aren’t any real weak links on this title. I particularly like the Goblin Knight design; I don’t love Phil Urich as a villain, but if he has to do it, at least he looks awesome.

I never thought I’d say this, but I think I’d keep reading this book if it keeps going after Amazing returns. This comic is so GOOD, it will be holding its spot on my sublist and adding another for Amazing in a few months. 


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