And so, a new era dawns for the Superior Spider-Man! Ghost-Peter is gone, and Otto Octavius is free to do what he wants, and so is Dan Slott. This issue mostly involved moving forward each of Slott’s myriad subplots, with Spider-Man doing little more than beating up both The Owl and White Dragon (which was bad-ass of course). There’s movement in Otto/Peter’s relationship with Anna-Maria, which is actually surprisingly sweet. I think it’s important that you see SpOck in a romantic situation (and not one that can be misconstrued by more hysterical fans as rape), as it helps to humanise him a hell of a lot, you don’t hate him nearly as much when he’s falling in love with and showing compassion for a marginalised member of society as a dwarf like Anna-Maria.
Speaking of Spider-Romances, two of the real Peter Parker’s exes storylines also continue here, as we see how MJ is coping now that Otto has decided to cut all ties, she almost dies because of her belief that no matter what, Spider-Man will save her. I wonder if Pedro the Fireman is a one-off character or if he’s going to become MJ’s new boyfriend? Carlie Cooper’s investigations into what’s going on with Spider-Man also continue, as she and Captain Watanabe (I was right on a prediction for once!) interview the Cops who saw Spider-Man kill Massacre and run into a lot of denials. I love how Slott has flipped things around and how now that Spider-Man is ‘evil’, the people who used to hate him like the NYPD and J. Jonah Jameson (I loved the dinner scene in this issue too, very funny) now love him. This storyline has freshened up almost every aspect of the Spider-Man mythos.
But the biggest subplot that developed in this issue is what’s going on with the Green Goblin. Not content with recruiting the Vulture’s kid-henchmen, Stormin’ Norman is also picking up henchmen from all of the various gang-leaders that SpOck defeats. He’s building an army and calling himself the Goblin King. It’s pretty epic stuff, and I’m very excited to see where it goes. I’ve said before that this story for me has elevated Doctor Octopus to No.1 in my ranking of Spider-Villains, but the Green Goblin is always in that conversation, and he could be clawing back that top spot. Throw in the Hobgoblin storyline (which also gets a little nod here) and Slott is using all of the best toys in new and exciting ways. Ryan Stegman’s art was once again very strong, I think he draws the new, harder-edged fighting style of Spider-Man better than anyone.
I just really like this book, it’s daring, it’s clever and it never does what you expect, if you’ve still got a problem with Superior Spider-Man, but I’m sorry, but the problem is with you, not the comic.