Two weeks ago, I was pretty hard on Superior Spider-man #26 for... doing basically nothing but postponing the action another two weeks. Thankfully, something actually happened this week. We're told that the action of today's issue takes place 31 days after the last issue. Which would be a nice meta touch if this were a monthly series. In this case it seems pretty arbitrary, but lets charge ahead. The issue opens with Otto's usually unassailable ego taking a beating. The city is under assault by the united Goblin forces and Otto realizing that the entire thing has happened completely under his nose but totally beyond his notice. Now he knows that there are Goblins on the loose. I've always enjoyed the moments of the series that deconstruct Otto's notions of a "Superior Spider-man." The moments when his supposedly superior methods fail him and he's forced to adapt. We've been building toward this particular ego-bruising moment and the pay-off is wonderful, especially when Otto realizes that just when he thinks he finally knows what's going on, he hasn't even properly figured it out. He believed the two Hobgoblins were to blame, but that notion is trashed when he receives a message from the Green Goblin. We're treated to another brief trip to the Mindscape where we see a little bit more of Peter's progress in regaining his body; he's taken stock of the memories that he has access to. Obviously, this story line is going to be on a slow boil while we wait for 1) the Goblin Nation story to finish with the center stage and 2) the Superior Spider-man to end. Still, there's enough progress to keep us interested. Peter makes a poorly thought out decision to hide in Otto's memories that will likely set back his comeback enough that it doesn't feel like Slott is purposely treading water for the rest of the series before bringing him back. It should prove an interesting obstacle. The real treat of the issue comes when Spider-man confronts the Green Goblin. We obviously know that there is something very different about this Spidey/Gobby showdown. We still haven't found out for sure that it is Norman behind the mask (though Otto is convinced and Green Goblin certainly talks that way) and, of course, Peter is on the sideline. Rather than try and deliver a by-the-books brawl, Slott beautifully acknowledges this change in dynamic. Greeny sits Otto down at a table and reveals that Carlie had him figured out, and since the Goblin has Carlie, he knows too. The typical fisticuffs of the moment are subverted with a gentlemen's discussion between two legendary Supervillains, which is another area where the series uses its unconventional set-up to full effect. We have a story here unlike any other in superhero comics: why should Slott handle this like a typical superhero book? In fact, the whole scenario builds up to the moment (which you have to imagine, Dan Slott has been salivating over since the book started) where Superior Spider-man flips the entire superhero/supervillain showdown on its head. The Green Goblin sends his Goblins to assault Spider-man's Island Fortress, right after chastising him for not keeping his lair a secret. It's a fantastic "bad guys attack the Batcave" moment. If Batman was secretly a reforming Supervillain who totally deserves to get slapped around a bit. Because of the behind-the-scenes build up we've had over the course of the series, this arc was able to dive right in. We avoid any slow introduction to what's about to happen and get right to the meat of it. There's still some lingering questions (like the fate of Carlie), but this issue charges ahead enough and gives you enough to think about that they aren't left staring you in the face at the end of the issue. A 4.5 Star issue. Eagerly awaiting issue #28. And I'm really going to be sad to see Otto's new costume go once this whole thing ends. The guy's a jerk but that's a sharp look. As a fun side note, while exploring his cataloged Parker Memories for info on the Green Goblin, we're treated to a Spider-man/Goblin Flashback. Since it's almost certain that Peter Parker's return owes a lot to the release of Amazing Spider-man 2, a movie which may very well feature the onscreen death of Gwen Stacy, it's worth noting the flashback that we're treated to is that moment from the comics. It certainly doesn't confirm anything for the film (since they're not officially related other than in character), but there it is.