Superior Spider-Man ends in a big way; unfortunately, it may have been the previous issue that was superior.
This is it. This is the big, crazy ending to this big, crazy series we’ve been reading for the last year and a half.
And what a year and a half it has been. In that time, Dan Slott and the super-talented line-up of artists working with him have delivered a Spider-Man epic that will live on in a way that no Spidey story has in decades.
It’s a story that has been defined by turning everything you know about this iconic hero upside down. A story with a surprising amount of character study. A story that has been a lot of fun. But with this chapter, the story comes to an end.
Only, that’s not entirely true. Last issue was the real culmination of this drama. Doc Ock finally become a better man. He put all his hubris aside and admitted that there is at least one individual superior to him. And he did it all for the noblest of reasons. The story of the Superior Spider-Man came to an end with #30, and that’s where this issue feels a little anticlimactic.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the way that Ock’s story came to an end last issue. It feels like the absolute right move. To gain victory, the ultimate egomaniac has to admit his own shortcomings. He’s able to put aside the superiority complex that has been one of the main themes of the series in order to save someone else’s life. It’s a great ending.
Unfortunately, there’s still a conclusion to be had.
Watching Peter Parker clean up Ock’s mess is something I would have preferred to see in Peter’s own series, or through Ock’s eyes. This was Ock’s story, and it doesn’t feel right not having the character around in some way. This feels like an overlong, unnecessary epilogue; Return of the King would be proud.
As for the actual issue itself, there’s a lot to like here, and just as much I wasn’t on board with.
The battle with Green Goblin is thrilling. Some of the character moments are great. Even the “damsel in distress” trope includes a decent payoff for the damsel.
But there’s also a problem with far too much exposition trying to be passed off as dialogue. And the issue feels overcrowded, like every major character gets one final bow before the curtain falls. I don’t need Spider-Man 2099 helping to save the day; this isn’t his story in any way.
The Green Goblin twist is also a conflicting one. It’s surprising for sure, but I don’t know if I like the idea behind it.
Overall, Slott’s Superior Spider-Man run has largely been a success. As a whole, it was a brilliant twist on the superhero genre, with some added touches from the TV antihero subgenre.
However, the execution has been a bit sloppy at points. Some story arcs worked terrifically, a few less so. The ending to Ock’s story was great – it’s just that the actual series ending feels less like an ending and more like a new beginning for a different character. In that way, it’s not wholly satisfying.
Dan Slott, Christos Gage (W), Giuseppe Camuncoli (A) • Marvel Comics, $5.99, April 16, 2014