Friday, 8 May 2015

The Superior Spider-Man Vol. 6: Goblin Nation (Marvel NOW!) Review

The Superior Spider-Man Vol. 6: Goblin Nation (Marvel NOW!)

Somewhere, someone's arachnophobia is
going into overdrive.
Writers: Dan Slott and Christos Gage

Artists: Guiseppe Camuncoli                                          

Collecting: The Superior Spider-Man #27-31 and Annual #2

Background information:

There are plenty of people who hated Superior Spider-Man. From arguments that I never saw coming (apparently, Otto Octavius sexually abused Peter Parker and attempted rape of Mary Jane… maybe I’m just too young and innocent, but I never saw that), to ones that make a bit more sense (Otto never became a hero- which, technically, he didn’t). No matter what your take on Superior one thing is certain, nothing like this had happened in a Spider-Man book before. Otto has executed enemies, watched New York like a dictator, and deceived his friends and foes alike. Unbeknownst to him, the Green Goblin has been amassing an army of all of New York’s gangs.


What makes someone superior?

That question has been central to The Superior Spider-Man, and it’s one that has been investigated again and again. Sure, Otto Octavius has done amazing things in Peter Parker’s body- things Peter wouldn’t have dreamed of- and on the surface, he’s seemed effective, but does that make him the superior Spider-Man? In Goblin Nation this question comes to a head and we get a story that is not only a great tribute to Otto, but a reminder that in the end, only Peter can truly be Spider-Man.
Go ahead and ju-ump!
'might as well jump, JUMP!
Go ahead and ju-ump!

The Green Goblin now owns New York. And he’s taken it right from under Otto’s nose. To make things worse, the Goblin knows that it’s Otto under the mask and is set on destroying both him and New York. Otto needs to use both the few allies he still has, and his increasingly inadequate resources to take the Goblin nation down.

Volumes 1-3 of Superior Spider-Man dealt with making us think that Otto was Peter’s superior in every way. Volumes 4-6, however, are more about debunking that idea, and challenging Otto’s perceptions. Goblin Nation is Otto as his most broken. He’s realised just how futile his actions have been and is now suffering from a crisis of massive ego meeting massive failure. For those who have hated Otto the whole way through, this volume feel instantly vindicating; confirming their belief that only Peter can or even should be Spider-Man. For those who loved Otto as Spidey, this is a volume that will pull at heartstrings as Otto suffers more than we’ve ever seen him do. Either way you look at it, this volume will likely have something for you.

You have now seen the coolest part
of this volume!
But probably the greatest part of this volume is that it shows just how central Peter Parker is to the 616 version of Spider-Man. Goblin Nation shows Peter’s triumphant return to the webbed suit, and it is glorious. We get reminded of the kind of person that Peter is. More importantly, where Otto obtained Peter’s body through trickery, Peter gets it back by being the hero we all know he is. He is worthy of the role in every way and Dan Slott makes it very clear that even though Otto was a fun diversion, Peter is the true superior Spider-Man.

That said, for such an important moment in the Superior series, Goblin Nation reads like it should have been something more. Don’t ask me what more it could have been, I don’t actually know; but by the end, certain parts of the story feel like missed opportunities. In an odd way, I almost wanted this volume to milk emotions more than it did; that’s a big request for a series that both brings back Peter from the dead and says a permanent goodbye to Otto, but the return of Parker seems to matter to nobody but the reader. Mary Jane, Carlie Cooper, everyone who is in on Otto’s secret seem to react to Peter’s return with little more than a “oh, that’s nice, but we still don’t like you.” Yep, Superior Spider-Man ends with Dan Slott’s own version of “cool story, bro.”

It’s a fitting and very deserving end of the series, but Goblin Nation certainly could have been more and therefore gets four out of five cool stories… bro.


+ Great farewell to Otto.

+ True tribute to Peter.

- Story feels like it should have been more

Alternate Option: Scarlet Spider: Life After Death

Want more dark and gritty Spidey? Scarlet Spider is an appropriate source of this.

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