Superior Spider-Man #15: Hobgoblin Hobbled


While to me, the Superior Spider-Man run is rocketing out of control, and my desire for Peter Parker’s return is massive, you just can’t deny how fucking good this is. Writer Dan Slott seems to be reveling in both what can be done with Doc Ock as Spider-Man, and how far Ock will screw up Peter’s life before he returns. Pieces of Ock’s master plan are falling through the cracks, old enemies are moving under his nose and, while he grips the city tighter in his fist of justice, he still hasn’t figured out what made Peter a true hero.

Issue #15 begins right after Spider-Man’s massive attack on Shadowland. The cops are pissed, something Spider-Man tries to control by dropping J. Jonah Jameson’s name. Hobgoblin, who barely escaped, is pissed and looking to take Spider-Man down. In fact, you could say that everybody is starting to level their gun-sights at Spider-Man. Peter Parker has missed enough class to jeopardize his doctorate, and he’s also missed enough meetings at work to jeopardize his job. Mary Jane hasn’t heard from him, Aunt May hasn’t heard from him, in fact, it seems Peter Parker is less accessible than ever.

This brings us to Dan Slott’s very cool subtext. There’s always been a battle with Peter Parker and Spider-Man, a battle where Parker (our Parker) has debated giving up Spider-Man for a normal life. Within the pages of Superior Spider-Man, Slott is looking at the flipside; what if Peter Parker ceased to exist and was only ever Spider-Man. That’s what Doc Ock is flirting with because, though he’s taken over his body, Ock isn’t Peter Parker. What makes Parker a hero is his connection to those he loves and humanity in general. Without that, Ock is merely a vigilante.

Proving my point, the only item in Parker’s life that Ock shows up to deal with is his doctorate, the only thing truly important to Otto Octavius. Everything else is dismissable. As issue #15 rolls on, Slott brings back a character we thought long gone, and does it with great nerd-comeuppance style. I’ll also tip my hat to the new Green Goblin. Not since the heyday of the eighties’ Hobgoblin have I been so intrigued as to who is behind a mask. Last but not least, Ock screws over Phil Urich, which is absolutely golden.

Humberto Ramos art is, as always, stellar. Great ideas flow from his pen with obvious ease. Whether the demonic look of the Hobgoblin, the menacing and physically more dominant Green Goblin, or even Spider-Man. Ramos has given Spider-Man a sterile, almost solider uniform look. The changes are subtle. Slightly larger eyes, a mostly black costume, the whole thing makes Spider-Man less the friendly neighborhood hero, and more the dictator Ock really is. Panel after panel, the work here is flawless.

Like the death of Gwen Stacy, the alien costume, or even the death of Uncle Ben, Superior Spider-Man will, for certain, go down as one of the key moments and greatest runs in Spider-Man history.


(4.5 Story, 4.5 Art)