Superior Spider-man #25 wraps up the Darkest Hours arc. The issue opens with the self-styled Superior Venom raging through Manhattan when the Avengers show up to stop him, having been called in by Mary Jane in the previous issue. The bulk of the action is the Avengers battling Venom without being able to gain the upper hand. Elsewhere, Iron Man forms a plan with Flash Thompson to get Flash back in control of the symbiote. This issue also continues the long-running Goblin sub-plot we’ve been seeing all through the Superior Spider-man run. Following Carlie Cooper being dosed with the Goblin formula, we see her being groomed as a new member of the Goblin clan.
The Avengers prove unable to remove the symbiote from Spider-man and Otto begins to realize that he was not as clever as he thought when he took on the symbiote. This is where things get interesting. As Otto discovers that the symbiote has been asserting its control over him and he cannot rid himself of it, Peter’s ghost/spirit/presence shows up again for the first time since issue #9 to help rid Otto of the symbiote, after which Flash brings it back under control. Peter reveals that Otto never truly erased him and that he has been laying low, biding his time until he can find a way to regain control.
This could have been a huge reveal for fans, many of whom had begun to accept that Otto would be here for the long haul. Unfortunately, Marvel revealed earlier this week that Parker would be regaining control of his body in April, so it is much less surprising to see Peter crop back up with only a handful of issues left before his return. Still, it was a well handled moment and a triumphant way for Peter to return to the book, doing something that the “Superior” Otto could not accomplish on his own.
Octo-Spidey uses the symbiote to excuse his odd behavior over the last several months, an excuse which Mary Jane seems to buy, but the Avengers do not. Iron Man returns and gets filled in by the Avengers, and he discovers that Spider-man deleted all records and video of the day the Avengers tested him (Superior Spider-man #8).
This issue a terrific wrap up to the Darkest Hours arc, but its real strengths are the ways it highlights all of the subplots we’ve been seeing and sets the series up with some incredibly interesting pieces going forward. Specifically, it looks like the whole concept of Otto being the “Superior” Spider-man is about to be tested as his layers of lies and schemes are catching up to him. The Avengers have been suspicious of Spidey for nearly the entire duration of the series, but with the new evidence dug up by Iron Man, they are finally ready to make a move against him, just when Otto thinks he has them fooled all over again. Peter has reestablished himself as a player in the battle for his body and vows to find a way back in control, despite Otto remainig convinced of his superiority. Otto’s minion’s on Spider Island are seriously questioning their boss’s sanity.
Perhaps most exciting, the series-long subplot of the Goblin Underground is poised to explode to the forefront of the action, with the War of the Goblins set to begin. Hopefully we’ll be receiving answers to some important questions. Is it really Norman Osborn back under the Goblin mask? Is Carlie Cooper’s new Goblin persona, Monster, here to stay? It seems likely that Slott will spare her from a permanent Goblin transformation, but just ask both Harry and Norman how well Goblin cures work.
End of Spoilers
It’s unclear what will happen to the Superior Spider-man series when Amazing Spider-man returns to the shelves in April. There’s still the question of Miguel O’Hara and whether he could take over the staring role of this book, or if Otto will find some way to remain a Spider-man, even if it’s not in Peter Parker’s body. But if we are nearing the end for this series, it is clear that it intends to go out with a bang.
Interesting days lie ahead for the Superior Spider-man when the series returns with issue #26 on January 29th!
This article was first posted on January 16, 2014