This is it, folks! The entire run of Superior Spider-Man has been building to this grand emotional climax, and writers Dan Slott and Christos Gage deliver on everything Slott has promised since the very beginning. This is a Spider-Man story for the ages, declaring with firm, authoritative voice exactly who is the one true Spider-Man and why he matters so damn much to all of us. To get to that moment, though, we first have to face the last temptation of Otto Octavius, and like the entirety of this series, Otto’s personal journey is golden.
I don’t want him to go.
Let me be straight about something with you readers right away: any fans who abandoned this series on principal are fools. Anyone who spent any parts of their lives whining about making Otto Octavius Spider-Man isn’t your friend. Don’t listen to them when it comes to comic books. They are wrong. Bold words, I know, but I’m trying to be bold. Because Superior Spider-Man has been bold. Dan Slott and Marvel Comics have been bold. And all of that boldness, that courage to tell a story that they knew would anger and alienate some fans, has paid off with one of the most triumphant Spider-Man stories in recent years. Do you love Peter Parker? Fine! So does Dan Slott. And so does Superior Spider-Man #30.
And Goblin Nation still has another whole issue to go! Fair warning, there will be SPOILERS in this review. It’s the only way.
I’ve been solidly behind Superior Spider-Man since the beginning, and Goblin Nation has been pretty entertaining so far. It hasn’t been the bombastic story I thought it would be, but Slott, Gage and artist Giuseppe Camuncoli bring everything together for this week’s issue, underlining all of the outstanding themes of Superior Spider-Man and preparing us for the final, fantastic chapter. Superior Spider-Man #30 is more emotional than probably any other comic you’ll read this season, with an underlying love of the entire Spider-Man mythos behind it. It may have taken awhile to get us here, and it may have turned off some shallow fans, but it has all been worth it.
Otto Octavius has been amazing in the lead role. And every thing he’s done as Spider-Man, every attempt he’s made to be more efficient or do a better job than Peter, comes back to haunt him. The Green Goblin’s forces have practically taken over the city. Everything that Otto thought was making him ‘superior’ – from his Octo-bots patrolling the city to turning away help from the Avengers – now leaves him at a disadvantage when the innocent people of New York need him the most – when Anna Maria, the love of his life, needs him the most. And it’s in this moment, in this issue, that Otto realizes how he’s failed, and how devastating that failure truly is.
But this issue isn’t about Otto getting his comeuppance for what he did to Peter. He’s beyond that, we’re beyond that. This issue is about accepting your limits, about knowing when it’s OK to ask for help. This is the issue where Otto admits that he was wrong, a moment the entire series has been building towards. There is only one man who can stand up to the Goblin and save Anna Maria, and as hard as it must be for him, Otto admits that man is not him. That is the very definition of character growth. And isn’t that what we want from fiction? Don’t we want our protagonists to grow and change as people over the course of the story? That’s what Superior Spider-Man delivered. That is why it has been such a great read.
And yes, when Otto admits that he was wrong, he also admits that Peter Parker is indeed the superior Spider-Man. Because of course he is.
The big, emotional pay-off in this issue is Otto talking to Peter’s ghost and admitting that he can’t do that job, that the only person he trusts to face the Goblin in his lair and save Anna Maria is Peter Parker. Like the true hero he’s learned to be, Otto sacrifices himself to save the woman he loves. He erases his persona from Peter’s body, leaving only Peter in charge. And like the big, damn hero he is, Peter Parker suits up in his classic costume and declares, “My turn”.
Happy now, foolish Spider-Man fans? Your hero is back. Fortunately, some of us got to enjoy the ride to get here. Now let’s go kick some Green Goblin butt!
Rating – 10/10.