Collects Superior Spider-Man issues #27-31, and Superior Spider-Man Annual #2
I bought the issues that made up this volume as they were originally being released so I could keep up on this final storyline for what has been a great era in Spider-Man’s history. With this volume, the Superior Spider-Man saga comes to a very satisfying close.
Issue-by-Issue Spoilers Below:
I had to buy all of the issues for this, because the trade wouldn’t be released fast enough, and I wanted to know how Otto transitioned back to Peter. Plus, Amazing Spider-Man #1 is coming out soon, and I want to be there at the new ground floor.
Issue #27.Now: Issue #26 ended with the Green Goblin crowning himself the Goblin King. He had acquired all of the Hobgoblin’s warriors, and it seemed like a battle between the Superior Spider-Man and his army was impending. This issue begins 31 days later. Marvel calls this storyline, Goblin Nation, an epic 727 issues in the making. First big “gasp” moment, foreshadowed in Volume 5, is that the Green Goblin knows that Spider-Man is now Otto. Otto admits that it is true, but doesn’t agree to join the Goblin. Mostly, because Goblin offered to make Otto his second. Internally, Otto’s pride wouldn’t allow that, but he says something heroic out loud about protecting his city. It turns out that the Otto that is meeting with Goblin is a hologram, and the real Spider-Man is back at Spider-Island. Just then, there is an assault on Spider-Island, led by Monster, Menace, and the Goblin Knight. Meanwhile, in the Mindscape, the essence of the true Peter enters Otto’s memories for the first time.
Issue #28: Anna Maria got kidnapped by Menace (posing as Lillie), but at least Carlie isn’t completely bad. She goes to Otto for help, but says that she might lose it again at any second. I bet that Anna Maria is killed by the end of this story, and Otto blames himself. I’m still not 100% convinced that this Goblin King is Norman Osborn. Mary Jane does a good job at fighting back against the Goblins and getting Peter’s friends and family to safety. Wraith makes another appearance. Slott has done a good job at continually using certain characters to make them a good extension of the main cast. Jonah unleashed his Goblin Slayers, but they are probably actually Spider Slayers.
Issue #29: Glory quit Jonah’s administration. I thought the conclusion of Lamaze’s story arc was good. First, it was funny that Spider-Man didn’t care about Goblin’s hostage, and Goblin’s reaction was great. Then, Lamaze saves Spider-Man because he was inspired to be a hero by Otto’s recent actions. If this really is Norman as the Goblin, I think it proves that he is scientifically smarter than Otto. He got control of the Spider-suit arms, he got control of the Spider Slayers, he has control of everything. When Peter gets back, he isn’t going to be happy with how Otto left things for him. Everyone hates Spider-Man, and even the police have turned against him. It looks like Carlie will be saved, so that’s nice. Spider-Man 2099 helps Otto out of a mess, but now the Goblin has set his sights on Miguel as well.
Superior Spider-Man Annual #2: This issue is made up of two separate stories, both happening at about the same time. These stories are happening in the midst of the city-wide attack of the Goblins, but surprisingly, Spider-Man only appears for a few pages of the total book. Ben Urich, the reporter, gets most of the page time, as he is trying to find (and cure) his nephew, Phil Urich, the Goblin Knight. It seems like Phil may still have some sanity left in him, so Ben sets out with an experimental cure to try on his nephew. The cure is being worked on by Sajani at Parker Industries, and it is actually supposed to be for Carlie. Robbie Robertson almost got killed in this story. The second story is shorter, and revolves around Wraith. She doesn’t know the true identity of Monster, so even though Carlie is valiantly trying to hold on to her sanity, Wraith’s attack sends her over the edge. Sajani's only option is to use the untested cure and hope for the best. Luckily, it works, and Carlie is saved. Wraith also found out that her eyepieces aren't able to detect Goblin masks or images.
Issue #30: This was such a great issue, and such a great way to wrap up Otto’s time as Spider-Man. Over the last few issues, Peter (in the Mindscape) has been living out Otto’s entire life. During the process, he has been losing himself, with so little of Peter’s original memories left. He gets all the way to the point where Otto took over Peter’s body, and experiences the memory pulse that Peter set off at that moment. All of Peter’s original memories come flooding back at the Mindscaped Peter and he is re-energized. He now plans to take his life back. Just like in the early issues of the Superior Spider-Man run, the Peter essence is co-existing in the real world with Otto. Otto can sense and speak to him. Otto has a wonderful, heroic moment when Anna Maria’s life is put in danger. Talking with Peter he admits that he has failed. He knows that he is not the best, saying, “I’m flawed so I overcompensate.” He acknowledges that when it comes to saving others, Peter is the superior hero, and the Superior Spider-Man. Otto willing, by his own power, hooks himself up to a brain scan machine, and voluntarily erases all trace of Otto’s memories from Peter’s body. This is good because Peter has his life back, but bad because Otto had to erase the memories from his time inside Peter’s body. Peter sheds a tear after Otto’s sacrifice, and dresses himself up in the classic Spider-Man costume. This issue was a 5-star read!
Other thoughts – I don’t know a lot about Liz Allan, but she has a goblin mask and a young son named Normie. Needless to say, she must be a bad guy. Jonah is in trouble because it came out that he unleashed the Goblin Slayers before they were ready. He tried to blame it on Alchemax, but they prove it was his fault. He may lose his job as mayor. In the end, it was Otto’s love for Anna Maria that led to him sacrificing himself. He truly believed that he wasn’t capable of saving her from the Green Goblin. Only the one, true Spider-Man could do that. Very touching.
Issue #31: The final issue! It says, “Series Finale,” on the cover. I knew this was going to be trouble for Peter. He is totally in the dark as to what happened while Otto took over his brain. Luckily, he is able to convince Carlie that he is back to himself again. The Avengers also immediately notice a difference. Spider-Man 2099 and Peter team up to stop the Alchemax Spider Slayers, while the Green Goblin holds Anna Maria hostage on top of a building. While facing off against Menace, Peter injects her with the cure for the Goblin serum. When Spidey and Goblin are fighting, the Goblin’s mask is pulled off. Underneath is the face of Mason Banks, Alchemax Executive, but he claims that he really is Norman Osborn. He had his face changed because he was too well known…supposedly. Even in Mason’s inner-dialogue, I can’t tell if he really is Norman, or if he just thinks he’s Norman. Either way, after he escapes he says he is going to change his face again. This all happens after Spidey beats him in battle and gives him the Goblin cure. He’s still a bad guy after the cure, just not a crazy bad guy. The artwork displays a great “Superior Spider-Man No More” image as Peter realizes how much Anna Maria loved Otto. If she saw the good in him, maybe he wasn’t so bad after all. This ends the main story, but there’s more. The next section has a story about the other cast members. MJ learns that Peter was actually Otto, but doesn’t care. She can’t be a part of Peter’s life anymore. They say their “goodbyes.” Carlie agrees with MJ's decision, and decides to move down south. At the end, Jonah resigns as mayor.