Dan Slott and Christos Gage continue to tell a very exciting story here with ‘Darkest Hours’, and it’s interesting to see how getting possessed by the Venom symbiote could end up being a good thing for Doctor Octopus here.
Now that he’s ‘the Superior Venom’, Otto is acting even more, well, superior and irrational, shouting at Aunt May for how she treated Anna Maria last time, and also trying to intimidate Mary Jane. It’s during this rant that he reveals to MJ that he is once again bonded to the symbiote, and she tells the Avengers. I’m guessing that Otto is going to explain away all of his recent irrational behaviour on the symbiote, even the stuff that happened beforehand. This will provide an answer about why he’s been so strange, but put everyone, including MJ off the scent of the real reason. So once again, SpOck will have survived being unveiled by the skin of his teeth, just in time for the Goblins to attack. If that doesn’t happen, I’ll eat my hat.
The main story stuff here was pretty standard, Superior Venom is even more of a dick than regular Superior Spider-Man, he attacks Cardiac, and soon heads off across the city, trying to stop all crimes, from mugging down to just texting while driving. He’s gone off the deep end, and it was great to see, especially as he bust out the hilarious old ‘Lethal Protector’ line, I loved that. There is an added sense of danger here, as, due to the drugs he takes to keep the symbiote in line, Flash Thompson’s body has become dependent on the creature, and if he doesn’t get it back soon, he’ll die. That should add an exciting extra level to the next issue, making it a race against time.
In terms of subplots in this issue, it was actually relatively light, mainly focusing on the various Goblins. We see the start of a conflict between the Green Goblin and the Hobgoblin, as GG impersonates Hobby and takes his cut of the money the various villain ‘franchises’ make. I can’t wait to see the two Goblins collide, that arc is going to be amazing I’m sure. The other Goblin scene involved Green Goblin and Menace continuing to try and prise the real identity of Spidey out of Carlie. She’s still keeping schtum, so Green Goblin is forced to dose her with Goblin serum and make her one of them so she’ll talk. Oh dear, that does not look good.
Humberto Ramos’ art continues to contribute a lot to this story, he draws symbiotes better than pretty much anyone, and his cartoonish style really emphasises the evil look on Peter Parker’s face when he finally snaps at Aunt May.
This was a great issue of a great story, it was a lot of fun seeing what Superior Spidey bonded to Venom, and Slott and Gage used this idea to really further a couple of personal storylines to good effect, and pretty much explode them really. The extra-sized final chapter to ‘Darkest Hours’ should be amazing, you’ve got the Avengers involved, a ticking clock on Flash’s life, and oh yeah, a bunch of pissed-off Goblins in the background.