Note: some SPOILERS for previous issues of Spectacular Spider-Man follow.
Superior Spider-Man is now over, and this finale issue had many readers coming in with high expectations. Otto Octavius has been making many changes to Peter Parker’s life while he was in control and now we see Peter start to deal with them. Of course, the impact of most changes is somewhat delayed, as the more urgent threat he faces takes center stage in this issue.
While this issue is a bit of a mess, it does pay off most of the storylines that readers have been experiencing throughout this series’ run. Miguel O’hara, the Goblins, Carlie Cooper, Anna-Maria, Mary-Jane Watson, J.Jonah Jameson – everybosy gets a moment here or there, and for that Dan Slott and Christos Gage deserve a lot of credit. There are even some nods to Spider-Man’s notable past, which do add impact to Peter Parker’s return. However, the conclusion to the Green Goblin story feels rushed and somewhat contrived. Anna-Maria and her involvement with Otto/Peter are also a bit short-changed here. Otto/Peter’s relationship with Anna-Maria was one readers could invest in, and one that made Otto a more compelling character. Their relationship is a big part of why Otto dying and Peter coming back has a very side side to it, and it feels that this tragedy isn’t really given closure in this finale.
This issue also has an additional story written by Gage alone, which shows us Peter trying to deal with some of the consequences of Otto Octavius’ actions during his time “away”. This section, unfortunately, feels mostly unnecessary (perhaps with the exception of the scenes featuring J. Jonah Jameson) and overly long. In addition, the flow of the book feels quite rough, with the end-section fragmented from the main block. This isn’t bad on its own, but it feel like this story could have been told in sequence with the main one. Will Sliney’s art, while good, does not mesh well with Giuseppe Camuncoli’s, which only ads to the feel of unnecessary fragmentation.
“Superior Spider-Man #31” gave us some good, satisfying moments. It set up some interesting story elements for the future, but seemed to only give closure to some storylines of the present while neglecting others. The main story had Spider-Man’s past with the Green Goblin giving the story more weight. While not totally satisfying, this finale gave a mostly proper conclusion to Superior Spider-Man, along with a look toward the future.
Asaph Bitner is a staff writer for Capeless Crusader. His other activities include studying for a college degree and dreaming of visiting the Song Of Ice And Fire universe as a future-tech wielding jedi secret agent. You can follow him on twitter at @AsaphBitner.