REVIEW: “Superior Spider-Man” #24

(Marvel Comics, 2013)

Review by Kenneth Kimbrough

Writers: Dan Slott & Christos Gage
Pencils: Humberto Ramos
Inks: Victor Olazaba
Colors: Edgar Delgado, Antonio Fabela, & Veronica Gandini
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos

Remember my last few reviews of The Superior Spider-Man? Did they seem tepid? Did I seem reluctant to give the book a positive review? Did I seem less than thrilled with the recent story?
Well, it’s time for me to eat crow because the entire team brings their A-game to The Superior Spider-Man #24, delivering one of the best issues of the series yet.

As I knew would happen, the current arc—Darkest Hours, for those not paying attention—has rapidly gained momentum after the somewhat slow setup in the two previous issues. All of the major players come to the table in this one, and there were so many notable developments that I wondered if I should be taking notes.

But enough gushing. Let’s get to the story itself. We pick up right where we left off, with the Venom symbiote bonding to Spider-Ock to become the Superior Venom. I’ll admit I had my reservations about this story when I originally began to suspect that this very thing would happen. I was worried that we’d just see Ock running around and continuing to be a more effective Spider-Man (and to be fair, that is what happens), but to describe this issue that way is a disservice. The real strength of this issue is in the way that plots that have been brewing for months are finally starting to ramp up. Almost every major player—Carlie, Watanabe, Mary Jane, the goblins, Aunt May—gets a moment, and every single development feels like it matters. When Slott delivers, he delivers big time. I’m a little hesitant to give too many details, but let’s just say Green Goblin finally makes a move against Kingsley, and it involves a Grizzly ripoff named the Bruin.

Moving on to Ramos’s art, as I said in the last review, his art works for Spider-Man because of his penchant for expressions. I did however, complain that his action scenes can be somewhat obfuscated at times. Not the case here. As I read this issue, there was never a question of what I was seeing. Ramos gets the opportunity to draw plenty of great action scenes here, and I’m beginning to think of him as something of a middle ground between Romita and McFarlane. There’s a weird sense of mood and proportion to his characters, but it never detracts from the scene at hand. One item of note is his design for the Superior Venom costume, which looks like a cross between the Mac Gargan costume and Agent Venom with the added touch of some web lines and the Iron Spider arms. It’s a creepy, unnatural look that works especially well here. And Olazaba’s inks complement the well… inky nature of the suit quite nicely.

As for the colors, Delgado is in top form here. All of the pages have a wonderful vibrancy and depth to them that makes each page something I’d love to hang on my wall. You can tell when another colorist steps in for a page, but only if you’re looking for it, and both Gandini and Fabela do a fine job. Delgado likes to use a lighter palette, but that’s quite all right. I sat and flipped through this book over and over because of how great it looks.

If you’re not reading Superior Spider-Man, you’re missing out on one of the most monumental Spidey stories of all time. Regardless of my feelings towards the actual developments in the book, I can’t fault Gage and Slott for not telling a good story. Goblin Nation can’t come soon enough.

(Also, “lethal protector”? Ha ha, Gage. Very cute.)

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Follow Kenneth Kimbrough on Twitter:  @KKimbrough44

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