Just a week on from Part 1, Dan Slott and Christos Gage, along with Humberto Ramos, deliver another excellent chapter of ‘Darkest Hours’ that, whilst surprisingly light on action, moves the plot on very well indeed, continues many of the book’s exciting ongoing subplots, and ends very excitingly to set up part 3, which unfortunately, isn’t out next week. You tease me with this weekly schedule, and then you take it away! Damn you Marvel!
The issue begins with Venom at Spider-Man’s mercy, because Otto has no idea who Flash Thompson is, and doesn’t particularly care. Flash is able to escape, but he and the symbiote are left weakened by the barrage of fire and sonics that Spider-Man used against him. Luckily for Otto, and unluckily for Flash, the only friend Flash has left in New York (he sent Betty and his family away when he thought the new Crime Master was a credible threat) is Peter Parker, so he rolls right up to Peter’s door whilst Peter and Anna Maria are preparing lunch for Aunt May and Jay Jameson. It’s actually pretty fortuitous that Otto ran into Flash as Venom, as otherwise ‘Peter Parker’ would have failed to recognize one of his childhood friends, which would have definitely threatened his cover.
Speaking of Otto’s cover-story, it’s continuing to fall down around him without him knowing, as Slott and Gage slowly move forwards towards the endgame. Captain Watanabe is trying to find Carlie, and so she heads to Mary Jane’s club, which has been reopened following the fire, and is now has free entry to all firemen, cops and other emergency service people, which is a cool idea I think, even if it’s only there to further MJ’s relationship with this Pedro guy. Captain Watanabe knows that Carlie’s last phonecall was to MJ, and so they listen to the voicemail, wherein Carlie tells MJ to stay away from Peter. So now it looks like SpOck is the main suspect in the disappearance of Carlie Cooper, and on top of that, Mary Jane may also be close to knowing the truth. Carlie’s true whereabouts are of course, as a prisoner of the Goblins, and the scene between her and the Green Goblin was very interesting. He has read her notes, and now knows that Doc Ock is Spider-Man, but Carlie has omitted who Spider-Man is actually supposed to be. Green Goblin has a feeling he should know who Spider-Man was, but he doesn’t, and he’s desperate to pry that knowledge out of Carlie. I still, at this point have no idea who this current Green Goblin is, some of the things he says point to it definitely being Norman Osborn, but then why keep it a secret? And who is this Black Sheep of the Goblin family he’s talking about? Harry? With Amazing Spider-Man 2 coming up, it would make sense to have him back in the mix in the comics.
Prior to their lunch, we see Aunt May undergo the robotic surgery to fix her leg at Parker Industries, and it’s a huge success, Aunt May can walk again! Once again, I love it when Superior Spider-Man actually succeeds, when Peter returns, he’ll have his arch-nemesis to thank for healing his Aunt, which is just so deliciously complicated and twisted.
Surprisingly, Peter is not present at the operation, and neither is J. Jonah, as he starts his new plan to take out Spider-Man alongside Alchemax, by giving them the rights to build new Spider-Slayers. You can tell how unhinged Jonah is getting, after all, as Liz Allan points out, the Spider-Slayers killed his wife, but he’s willing to rebuild them to stop Spider-Man. And the interesting thing here is, this time… we’re actually on Jonah’s side. Slott once again masterfully brings two subplots together here, as, being that Jonah has hired Alchemax, both Tiberius Stone and Spider-Man 2099 show up. He really is weaving a web of stories here, and I mean that pun, I do.
The issue climaxes in an awkward Lunch, where, as was hinted last issue, Aunt May is a little bit uncomfortable with her nephew dating a Little Person, which, as I said last week, is a cool wrinkle to her character, she’s not just a perfect saint all the time. Before this argument can get out of hand, and before Flash can leave, Otto snaps, and , changing the subject, reveals that he wants to use the same tech that fixed Aunt May’s leg to fix Flash’s. Flash, since he already has a solution to that problem in the Venom suit, is wary, but goes along. It is of course a double-cross, as SpOck uses the machine to not only give Flash some robot legs, but also to remove the Symbiote from him and trap it in the same containment device Reed Richards used back in the day. Only, the Symbiote has grown stronger since then and it breaks free, bonding with Spider-Man to become, you guessed it, the Superior Venom, which I saw coming, but is still awesome.
This was another typically excellent issue of Superior Spidey, and I can’t wait for the next chapter, the art from Ramos was excellent, nobody does better Symbiote goop than him, and all the plots, whether major or minor continue to build. If you’re still not reading this title, you really need to rethink that, every issue is just Spidey perfection, with that dark twist to make things fresh.