The penultimate issue of Superior Spider-Man is here, and it lives up to all of my expectations and then some. It’s not hyperbole to say that the last 3 or 4 pages of this comic are up there with the best Spider-Man moments of all time for me. To cut to the chase, Peter Parker is back, and it is epic.
Slott and Gage begin with both SpOck and Spider-Man 2099 in the grip of the now Goblin-controlled Spider-Slayers. Goblin and Menace reveal that they’ve got Anna Maria held hostage, and basically taunt Spider-Man with what they view as an impossible dilemma. He can go save Anna Maria, butt hat would mean just leaving Spidey 2099 behind to face the Slayers alone. But of course, SpOck doesn’t give a fuck about Miguel, so he just bails on out of there. It remains to be seen what impact this particular bout of selfishness will have, and I imagine it will end up rebounding onto Peter. Spider-Man races across the city, which is being ravaged by Spider-Slayers, and the assorted Avengers are having trouble holding them back. Another troubling plotline for the future comes up here, as Iron Man and Captain America discover the illegal clinic that SpOck has been running. I was also intrigued by the brief scene focusing on J. Jonah Jameson as it looks like his blunder with the Spider-Slayers will cost him his office as Mayor, especially as Liz Allan has burned him. It also seems like Liz has been working for the Goblins all along to help protect Normie, which does a good job at explaining just how the Goblin hacked the Slayers.
Once again, many of this issue’s best scenes take place inside the mindscape, as the journey through Otto Octavius’ memories gets right up to date, as he relives the events of Amazing Spider-Man #700. This is what opens the door for Peter Parker’s return, as the memory of having Peter Parker’s memories shoved into his mind is what reawakens all of those memories again. It’s all come full circle, the Ghost Peter is fully back, and ready to help out.
And he’s needed, as Menace has lured Spider-Man down into the Subway, where she and Green Goblin have what looks to be Anna Maria tied to the tracks. I loved the nod Slott gave to the death of Gwen Stacy here, he’s used bridges before, so now it’s tunnels. The hostage turns out not to be Anna Maria, but Amy Chen, the little girl who’s disease Otto helped cure. Just as the train is about to hit, Otto can’t decide what to do. He knows he should help the girl, but it’s so risky, if he misses, then he’ll be dead, and he won’t be able to save Anna Maria or anyone else later on. Crippled by self-doubt, it takes the Peter ghost to spur him on, forcing him to jump, and save the girl. Peter reveals himself to Otto and tells him that, if you’ve got no time to prepare, you just do the right thing, no matter the risk. This is the big moment, as Otto realises that his methods are not going to get the job done here, and that Peter’s willingness to sacrifice himself is what makes him the actual Superior Spider-Man. Throughout this run, Slott has done a brilliant job at comparing and contrasting Peter Parker with Otto Octavius, and the dialogue between them here just sums it up. Otto isn’t as smart as he thinks he is, so he overcompensates, whereas Peter is a lot smarter than he gives himself credit for, but he sacrifices that to help others.
Spider-Man returns to Parker Industries, where he once again enters the mindscape. Only this time, he doesn’t delete Peter Parker’s memories, but Otto Octavius. To save those he loves, he has to sacrifice himself. It’s really quite moving, and it’s great to see that the events of these last 30 issues have had a massive impact on Otto Octavius. This run didn’t turn Spider-Man evil (OK, maybe a bit), it turned Doctor Octopus good. Peter, now fully in control, wipes away a tear, and goes to his wardrobe, where he dons the classic, bright blue and red costume and prepares to take on Green Goblin himself. It’s spine-tingling stuff for sure, and just made me grin from ear to ear. Spider-Man is back! He’s fucking back! I hope all of the people who hated this idea and sent Slott death threats read this issue, because this return after a long absence is worth far more than if we had just had 30 issues of normal Peter Parker adventures.
Giuseppe Camuncoli’s artwork was excellent as ever, he continues to outdo himself with the mindscape layouts, and that penultimate page, where Peter puts on his old costume was told just through his art, and it was perfect. I can’t wait for the final chapter of this brilliant story. I’m surprised that Peter is back already, but now, I wouldn’t have it any other way. The only thing left to do now is to stop the Green Goblin, and hey, who the hell is he anyway?