Review: Superior Spider-Man #31

SSMCOV31“I was wrong. For me to even be here–someone had to die.
– Peter Parker (the real one)

Superior Spider-Man has finally come to an end. The thirty-one issue superhero story is one of the best of I have ever read and will definitely be remembered as a very important moment in the timeline of our favorite web-slinger. I was surprised to learn that quite a few people I spoke to about the series were a little confused by what transpired in issue #30 and how Peter took back his body from Doc Ock. Before I summarize and review #31 let’s go back and I’ll explain what exactly happened in the last issue real quick. Dan Slott did a fantastic job with this thirty-one issue Spider-Man story and it would be a shame to not understand the little nuances that made it so…well…superior.

Issue #30 confused a lot of folks and left people wondering if it was Doc Ock who did the valiant thing and gave up his seat of power as the Superior Spider-Man or if it was Peter Parker’s doing and he duped the brilliant scientist Dr. Octopus? Well, in my opinion, it was a harmony of both of those. If you remember back in Amazing Spider-Man #700, Peter/Ock died and Peter’s fans and followers let out a unanimous “gasp” that one of their favorite Avengers finally succumbed to Doc’s evil plan. However, We learn later on that a part of Peter still lived on the brain of Doc/Spidey. Then in the infamous issue #9, it appeared as though the tiny remnant of Peter that we desperately wanted to cling to for hope vanished as Doc went into his brain and defeated Peter for good. I know, this is going to get a little confusing, but it will be worth it.

We all thought Peter was gone for good (most of us, anyway) until he showed up back in Doc/Spidey’s brain, during The Darkest Hours arc, to help take care of Venom because things were getting a little too crazy for Doc as Superior. And the world rejoiced. Which brings us to issue #30 and the part that confused a lot of people. If you look closely Peter’s plan all along was to hold onto the key moments in his life as Spider-Man, the parts that really defined him. Their are actually 31 of those moments, which, is why Slott made Superior 31 issues long. So, what Peter planned to do was go through Doc’s timeline, but, not lose himself by remembering the key moments he held onto as ASM; he’s fighting all the memories that are not his – we can clearly see that. Note that Doc is fighting this from happening, also. When Peter gets to the point on Doc’s timeline where we reach ASM #700 Peter doesn’t fight anymore and lets it all in realizing that those are his memories. This is why I say the FINAL switch was a harmonious result of both Doc and Peter. Doc finally decides that he is not the hero Peter is and Peter does what he planned to get his memories back. It was a perfect resolution by Slott. If this is still a little confusing, please comment below and I would love to clarify any questions you might have

This brings us to the heroic tale of Issue #31 and Peter back in his original body. The final issue of Superior Spider-Man is basically a cleaning up and restart for the much anticipated ASM #1 that will be released in a few weeks. Peter’s first task is to find out how the Goblin became so powerful so quickly. Carlie tells him that he hacked Doc Ock’s Spider-bots to not recognize anything with a Goblin mask or logo on. Peter immediately gets to work to get his city back and save the people he loves and the people that love him. In brilliant fashion, Peter goes to save Miguel O’Hara from the Spider Slayers, so he can have someone like himself fighting with him to take down the Goblin. They take down Menace and Peter injects her with the serum that Doc created to reverse the effects of what makes her a Goblin. Peter attempts the same with the Goblin, who is in fact Norman Osborn, but he admits to changing his face to become unrecognizable. The spider-bots were reprogrammed and fitted with Goblin-serum and attacked Osborn. Just like that there is no more Goblin.

The issue does a great job at setting up the next arc in the franchise and resetting things for Peter to take the reigns once again. It will be nice to have him back, but I will admit that Doc Ock as Spidey will be missed. We will definitely keep an eye out for him in the future as well as Stone, Liz Allan and Norman. I really enjoyed Doc’s time as Spider-Man and I had hoped that there would room enough in this city for both of them. That would have been really neat to see and, who know, maybe Doc Ock will make another superior outfit and challenge Peter once again. One thing is for sure, however, the next time these two meet will be one superior…amazing…awesome issue.

It goes without saying that fine lines and perfect colors are a perfect match for Slott’s unique writing skills. Giuseppe Camuncoli draws the most incredible Spider-Man issues and every issue is a treat to look at. John Dell and Terry Pallot are amazing on ink and, well, everything about this team is awesome. When I find myself staring at each page in awe I tell myself that this has to be one of the best teams in comics today. All of that would be nothing colors by Antonio Fabela and letters by Chir Eliopolous.

And lastly, Anna Maria Marconi does get saved by Peter and her confession of love for Doc/Spider really touches him. He realizes that Doc did a good job even if he couldn’t complete it. Maybe people can change? He understands the sacrifice Doc had to make to save the people he loved and Peter contemplate that someone had to die in order for him to become the Amazing Spider-Man again. That someone was the Superior Spider-Man, but in the end, it’s Peter who was Superior all along. Welcome back Peter. Welcome home.

Thoughts and Discussion

– Where is Doc Ock? Will he be a villain fighting Peter again? Will he be a good guy for now?

– What will happen with the Goblin now? Will he turn back the effects of the serum that Parker injected him with?

– What are J. Jonah Jameson’s plans? Will he hold a grudge against Spidey and be a new antagonist?

– Will Peter put a fail-safe in place so the brain-swap won’t happen again?

Thanks for checking out my Review! Please comment below so we can discuss the issue further!

Story: Dan Slott – Script: Christos Gage – Art/Cover: Giuseppe Camuncoli – Ink: John Dell & Terry Pallot – Color: Antonio Fabela – Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy