I can’t believe this series has been around for almost a year already, and what better way to wrap up the first year’s worth of stories featuring the always Superior Spider-Man than with the, for me, highly anticipated meeting of Superior Spider-Man and Venom!
But before we jump into this issue, let’s give credit where credit is due:
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #23
Written by Dan Slott & Christos Gage
Pencils by Humberto Ramos
Inks by Victor Olazaba
So this issue starts with an interesting meeting of Superior Spider-Man and Venom. They are both after Crime Master and Venom ends up on the receiving end of Spider-Man’s genius. We begin this issue with Spider-Man trying to coax Venom into doing anything that can be construed as hostile so he can kill both symbiote and host. It doesn’t go according to plan and Venom escapes.
Meanwhile… Carlie Cooper is in deep trouble as she’s been kidnapped by the Goblin King who read through her journal and knows what she figured out about Peter, Otto, and Spider-Man. The Goblin King says something interesting though… he mentions that he doesn’t know who’s under the mask but that he feels he should. This is a subtle clue as to who this new Goblin King is but it doesn’t really help. Good one, Slott.
In other civilian news “Peter” and his girlfriend Anna are preparing for dinner with Aunt May and Jay when Flash Thompson shows up looking for a place to recover. This leads to all sorts of fun times including “Peter” planning to rid the world of Venom once and for all. Yeah, it’s an interesting dinner.
JJJ gets some screen time as he hires Alchemax to upgrade the Spider Slayer tech because, well, he’s tired of being Spider-Man’s ‘rubber stamp mayor.’ Which is just another layer on the ‘Fall Of Superior Spider-Man Cake’ and it’s getting to be a mighty tall cake!
So, we end this issue with Spider-Man tricking Flash into heading to Parker Industries under the guise of helping him regain his mobility, something he helped May do with nanotech. The plan, thought, was to get rid of Venom once and for all. It works… sort of.
He was able to ‘destroy’ Venom but in its place he created the Superior Venom!
Yeah, I know it’s all kinds of cryptic but what would be the fun in giving away everything, right? Bottom line here is this series has not shown many signs of getting stale. While it’s nice to have Spider-Man moving away from declaring why he’s the ‘Superior Spider-Man’ we have moved into other parts of his life. We’ve seen him move from his Superior crime fighting, seeing him interact with other heroes has been a hoot, to seeing the impact of Otto’s plan on the more personal parts of Peter’s life. But even this is just adding more layers to the Cake because with Cooper being kidnapped there are other people who are looking closer at Peter.
But the biggest issue here is what is going to happen now that Venom and the Superior Spider-Man are closer than ever? I mean, we know Carnage knows his secret and it isn’t going to make things better if Venom knows. But I think Venom is going to know the specifics of what Otto has done rather than have a strong hunch like Carnage has. On top of that there is the question of how being so close to Otto will affect the Venom symbiote. Anger and rejection is what gave us the classic Venom while control gave us the Flash Thompson version. What will ego and anger do to it? I guess we learn why they call this story Darkest Hours!
Once again I have to tip my hat to Slott and also to Gage for continuing to give us some of the most entertaining and exciting Spider-Man stories in recent memory. For all the anger of this era from some members of the comics community you really can’t deny it’s been a load of fun. Once again I must say that, yes, I know it will end and Peter will eventually return but until then I’m going to have the most fun with this that I can.
Superior Spider-Man #23 is yet another recommended issue in one of Marvel’s best ongoing series!
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