Thursday, April 17, 2014

Superior Spider-Man #31

   For 16 months (since January 2013) the Spider-Man comics have not featured the Amazing Spider-Man (which is why I haven't read an issue since the first in this "Superior" series).

   See, I'm a big fan of Peter Parker - the real Spider-Man. As a kid I bought issue #15 (Spidey's first meeting with Kraven the Hunter), and I was immediately hooked.

   Over the (ulp!) more than 50 years since, there have certainly been some ups and downs, with terrific stories balanced by lame stories.

   I stayed through decades of that sort of thing, staying loyal to the character who vowed to make up for his past mistakes by fighting crime and helping those in need.

   I finally started drifting away when Marvel started putting the character through ridiculous stories - such as allowing Mephisto to end the marriage between Peter and May Jane Watson.

   But even more insulting was the idea of having Doctor Octopus take over Peter's brain - co-opting his thoughts and memories along the way, and (apparently) killing off Peter's mind.

   That was actually resolved last issue, for vague reasons mentioned in the recap section on the first page of this issue. It's difficult to care, honestly.

   So this issue is given over to Peter ending the menace of the Goblin Nation (whatever that is), and confronting assorted Green Goblin-related villains (including GG himself), with the help of Spider-Man 2099, who has traveled through time somehow.

   So yeah, it's a mess, loaded with riffs on old stories, a few glimmers of the real Spider-Man, and a story that makes no sense to this reader who just landed at the tail end of this story.

   There's an aftermath that tries to clean up loose ends, covering prior events and doing everything possible to give Peter a clean slate in terms of supporting characters.

   The story is by Dan Slott and Christos Gage, and the art on the first chapter is by Giuseppe Camuncoli and the second chapter is by Will Sliney.  Perhaps the story is affecting my opinion, but I'm not crazy about the art, either. It's loaded with energy, but the layouts are jumbled - the panels don't flow together well, and the character hurl around the page without purpose.

   I'm not sure if I'm back with this series yet (of course, it's about to reboot with a new issue #1). I want to like it, if just for old times' sake, and a relief that the brain swap story is finally over.

   But I have to see more evidence that the real Spider-Man is back. Imposters have been running the show here for far too long.

 Grade: C+




Dan Gvozden said...

I wasn't a huge fan of this issue but how can you expect the final issue of a 31 issue series to make sense out of everything that came before it. That's like watching the last 5 minutes of "Inception" and saying... "I didn't get it.

Chuck said...

Dan, that's true - certainly there are storylines that will lead into future stories, and can't be resolved here.

But I'm a big believer in the old adage that "every comic is someone's first issue" - with just a little more effort (made even easier with the cover page Marvel uses), the reader can be quickly brought up to speed. Any gaps can be covered in the body of the story (which is how it was done in the good ol' days). There were too characters not identified at all in there - for example, I have no clue about the young lady the Goblin was threatening to throw off a high spot. Or the woman talking to MJ at the end. Were they the same person? Hard to tell.

If you're creating episodic entertainment, you need to make is accessible to someone dropping in for the first time (this is why many TV shows start with a recap, "Last time on Action Joe..."). Just my ten cents.