Superior Spider-Man #25: The Jig Is Almost Up


It’s all coming to a head for the Superior Spider-Man, in part because the Venom symbiote went to his head.

Having claimed Flash Thompson’s gooey alien partner for himself, Otto Octavius has declared himself the Superior Venom, and in Superior Spider-Man #25, he goes off the reservation and picks a huge fight with the Avengers – and does a good job of knocking them around, too, in full view of the public… which finally turns the public against him, thanks to all the good will the Avengers earned from the Infinity event. So much so that the people of New York City decide to start destroying the Spider-Bots that Otto had been using to patrol the city so effectively, claiming he’s worse than the NSA.

While this madness is unfolding – in that hyper-kinetic Humberto Ramos madhouse style, no less – we also see that the Goblin Kingpin of Crime has transformed poor Carlie Cooper into “Monster,” a companion for her soul sister Menace, and it seems this Monster is happier this way. However, she’s still cagey enough not to divulge the secret Gobby really wants – the man behind Spider-man’s mask – before trying to find out who Gobby is behind the mask. He’s claiming to be Norman Osborn, but he doesn’t prove it. Instead, he uses M&M to escalate his antagonism against Roderick Kinsgley, the original Hobgoblin, who has made his bones franchising out supervillain identities. The War of the Goblins will be erupting tout suite.

After a lot of chaos and boasting, Otto eventually realizes that he is not as in control of Venom as he thought he was, and his iron will isn’t enough to fight off the beast’s influence – at least, not until he gets some help from an unexpected source: the not-so-wiped spectral presence of Peter Parker himself, who has been laying low looking for his opportunity to reclaim his body. Thankfully, Otto is distracted enough to believe he managed to shake off the symbiote himself, allowing Peter some more time to figure out his angle, and Otto plays off the Venom infestation as the reason for his erratic behavior of late, to bury the suspicions that Mary Jane and everyone around him have been having about him.This time, though, the Avengers have brought Iron Man into the mix, whose technological expertise they did not have the last time they scanned Spider-Man for strange influences, and now, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are hip to his scam. Well, not the exact scam, but that there is some kind of scam afoot.

Dan Slott does what he always does, keeping the action fast and furious while juggling many different angles at once. Superior Spider-Man #25 remains an entertaining rush, although I have to admit all the recent official announcements of Peter Parker’s return lessened the impact of his appearance in this issue, and deflated a bit of the tension about how long Otto can maintain the juggling act. We knew it was coming and we had a general idea of when, but there’s a sense that we’re now just watching Ock circling the drain. Then again, there’s still plenty of surprise left in guessing what Slott’s endgame will be. Has Otto earned an ultimate villain’s death, or has the Superior Spider-Man concept earned its keep in some other form? How will the Goblins play into this, and is Carlie stuck as a Monster forever? I love all these characters and I can’t wait to see what shape they’re in when they clock out of this massive event.

Superior Spider-Man may be telegraphing its end, but if you can read it without plugging into the comic book publicity machines, you’ll enjoy it even more as it speeds headlong towards its undoubtedly loud, crazy, and messy finale.