SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #31
Written by Dan Slott, Christos Gage
Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: April 16, 2014
Dan Slott and Christos Gage leave it all on the table in issue #31 of Superior, throwing down all kinds of Otto feels for fans of this series. For all the outcry when this series was announced, just as many fans came to adore this Superior Spider-Man and while issue #31 is very much a return to glory for Peter Parker, it is also a send off for Otto Octavius. Parker is immediately thrown into the fray, with no real idea about the finer details of what have happened while he was gone. This situation alone makes this comic an interesting read, and sets up Amazing Spider-Man #1 very well. It’s obvious that Parker has a lot of pieces to put back together in his life, and Otto’s superior way of dealing with the world are going to have some serious consequences for the web slinger down the road. While planting those seeds, Slott & Gage keep the focus on the event at hand in the primary story, which is an excellent conclusion to the Goblin Nation arc. The writers skillfully give this issue a different tone, one more befitting the man back in the suit, and the issue feels like a celebration in many ways that Peter Parker has returned. The energy and optimism of Peter Parker leap from the page, and while we haven’t been separated from the character for very long, it does feel like we’ve finally met up with an old friend and good times are to be had. Issue #31 is just another example of how in command of Spider-Man Dan Slott is. This guy knows the character through and through, and he and Gage nail every line of dialogue throughout both stories in this issue. The epilogue is extremely well written, and a very nice nod to the two leading ladies in Peter’s life for the past few years, M.J. and Carlie Cooper. It sets the wheels in motion for some interesting storylines down the road, but gives readers some emotional closure for what these characters (as well as Aunt May and J. Jonah Jameson) have been through recently. It is obvious that the reign of Otto will not go away without consequences, and the threatening undertones in the final pages of the primary story and epilogue will have readers clamoring to get their hands on Amazing #1 as quickly as they can. Superior was great, but things could be amazing in the future (shameful puns 100% intended).
Giuseppe Camuncoli closes out the series with some solid art and represents the story well. His style, particularly with respect to facial work, has never been my personal favourite, but his work is, for the most part, consistent throughout the issue. He captures the energy of Peter Parker very well and he can pencil a mean Goblin, which comes in handy in this issue. He hits the emotional beats that happen throughout the comic, and his work when Spider-Man is in the suit is very strong. Some of the penciling of the ancillary characters, like the Avengers, isn’t the steadiest, but he hits his mark when the story really matters. The colour work by Antonio Fabela is very strong throughout the issue and Spider-Man, in his classic suit, leaps from the page. Fabela’s colours give the art a lot of energy and make panels featuring Spider-Man his 2099 comrade feel very dynamic.
Will Sliney’s artwork in the epilogue is excellent, driving home a lot of emotional storytelling in these pages. Many people Peter cares about were hurt during the Superior series, and that burden is evident in the expressions and mannerisms in Sliney’s work. His pencils in this epilogue will serve as a good intro for fans looking to pick up his 2099 series with Peter David, and they show he’s got the goods to pencil a Spidey story very well (regardless of who is in the threads).
Superior Spider-Man #31 closes out the series with a bang and will bring fans closure as the series transitions to Amazing Spider-Man. Peter Parker is back, and while many grew to be very fond of Otto, Slott writes Peter so well that you won’t be able to hold back from continuing on with the series. The future looks to be very bright for this series as Peter has to deal with the consequences of 30 issues of Otto being at the helm of his life, and the rebuilding has the potential to be very interesting. This issue is a very well done finale to what has been a fantastic chapter in the story of Spider-Man, and I can’t wait to get my hands on Amazing #1 to see where this all goes next.
The Verdict: 8.5/10