Posted April 20, 2014 by Mikael Angelo Francisco in Comics

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: An Amazing return in “Superior Spider-Man” #30-31

Writers: Dan Slott, Christos Gage
Artists: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Will Sliney
Inks: John Dell, Terry Pallot
Colors: Antonio Fabella, Edgar Delgado
Variant Cover:  J. Scott Campbell 

One year and three months after Otto Octavius forcefully kicked Peter Parker out of his own mind and body to cheat death, Superior Spider-Man has finally come to an end. Unfortunately, in typical Parker luck fashion, it ends with not so much a “bang” as it does a “thud.” A really loud “thud,” but a “thud” nonetheless.

Which is a shame, because it really could have been something more. Should have been.

Let’s start with Superior Spider-Man #30. The fourth part of the “Goblin Nation” story arc, the biggest development in the issue is something that most readers were probably expecting to see in #31 – the return of Peter Parker. Through a series of loopholes (read: a way to get past the whole “31 memories” thing), Peter not only manages to regain control of his body, but also recovers all of his pre-“death” memories as well. The writing tag team of Dan Slott (plot) and Christos Gage (script) succeeded in delivering an exciting (if rather hurried) return for Peter, though I’m not exactly sure whether it’s because the sequence was well-written or because we’ve all been waiting for Peter to return, anyway (which means that any explanation for his return would most likely leave a big impact on the reader). To their credit, the last few pages of the story (with Otto conceding, Peter changing from the tattered Superior outfit to the well-loved and timeless red-and-blues, and the last full-page image of the Amazing Spider-Man ready to put an end to the Goblin’s reign of madness) were some of the best moments in the entire run of the title. While I’ve been vocal in the past about my opinion on Giuseppe Camuncoli’s art (and how it really doesn’t fit a Spider-Man title), I think he did a fantastic job here, managing to convey drama, conflict, hope, and determination whenever necessary. His blocky pencils were certainly enhanced by the clean inks and expert coloring. All in all, Superior Spider-Man #30 was definitely a thrilling installment, effectively building up to the inevitable smackdown between the Spider (the real one) and the Goblin.

Sadly, as with most Slott stories, the conclusion didn’t seem to pack as much of a punch as it should have. Superior Spider-Man #31 felt rushed and crammed, like the creative team was desperately tying up loose ends in order to meet the deadline (which I assume is the opening day of the new movie, The Amazing Spider-Man 2). As a result, the last chapter of this five-part send-off for the villain-turned-“hero” ends up handling plot points and resolving problems with all the grace and finesse of an angry elephant in a furniture store. The revelation of the Goblin’s true identity was anticlimactic, and the supporting cast’s reaction to Peter’s return ranged from hilarious (see Spider-Man 2099) to downright disappointing and/or stupid (see the Avengers, among others). Meanwhile, on the art side of things, Camuncoli delivered the same level of quality we’ve all gotten used to seeing from him. Otto also gets an Amazing Spider-Man #50-style tribute on the last page, which was interesting. Sort of.

Particularly saddening is the second story in the issue (written by Christos Gage and illustrated by Will Sliney), where Peter began dealing with the messes Otto left behind in his civilian life, with mixed (and somewhat irritating) results. I’m still having a hard time understanding how certain people who meant so much to Peter could react the way they did, but oh well. After all, we can’t exactly return to the way things were; otherwise, Superior Spider-Man would be nothing more than a pointless exercise.

Overall, the Superior finale could have been a bit more… superior. Here’s hoping that the Amazing Spider-Man relaunch lives up to its moniker. Oh, and we’re getting a Spider-Man 2099 ongoing in July because of this whole Superior mess – I’m definitely on board for that.

VERDICT: 7.5/10


The review for Superior Spider-Man #30 was sponsored by Druid’s Keep (third floor, Fort Strip Mall, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig). Join the group on Facebook (here) and pay the shop a visit – it’s an awesome place to hang out and play games.

Mikael Angelo Francisco