Dan Slott (Writer), Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba (Artists), Edgar Delgado (Colorist)

The Story: Phil Urich’s life seems a bit more difficult now that the Kingpin is gone. Who knew?

The Review: Long-term writing can be messy sometime. As a writer can plan ahead in order to provide many major moments and development for his title, there will always be some times when things will be a bit duller. With moments of transitions between the larger events in a title, there are seeds to be planted in order for the readers to have moments to enjoy, like an unending cycle of payoff and setup that make comics come to life. Putting some tease and hints of certain plot points, however, really isn’t on the same level of possible satisfaction as the eventual payoff that may come out of it.

Knowing that, it does not come as a shock that considering the latest issue of Superior Spider-Man, one filled with many surprises and twist, this issue comes as a bit less exciting. It is hard to top Spider-Ock leading an assault on a Japanese pagoda in Hell’s Kitchen, of course, but the follow-up is perhaps a tad disappointing considering how they continue such a massive act from the previous issue.

It is a smart decision in some manners to see how several people react to such a big event in New York City, yet Slott never really commit to this angle along the issue as we are treated to a continuation of several plot points, with not all of them being connected organically. We see how the cops react to Otto’s new army and his storming of the Kingpin fortress, how some of the people close to Peter see the fact that he is spending much more time as Spider-Man as we see how he might put aside his life in order to dedicate himself to the role of Spider-Man. It’s a nice touch to see Otto struggling with multiple tasks at the same time, seeing things in a different light as he compares himself to Peter Parker, yet it’s so lightly covered that it’s kind of a shame.

If there’s one plot that’s handled really well in the issue, though it would be the ongoing hardship of Phil Urich, the current Hobgoblin. The way he reacts and tries to move ahead in his life after Spider-Ock’s destruction of Kingpin stronghold is interesting, as desperation is being built up in an even manner as the issue advance, culminating in a neat climax at the end of the issue. Seeing the fallout of an event from one of the villainous subordinate really works as Slott use a lot of what had been established from his Amazing Spider-Man run to render Urich’s life miserable.

Still, as strong as that particular angle is, there’s an inevitable fact that comes crashing down on the issue: nothing much happen. At least, not in a conclusive or satisfying manner. Setup can be interesting, yet there’s so much of it that can be shown before it become a tad tedious. I am interested in what may happen with the Green Goblin, yet he has been teased quite a lot now with close to nothing being revealed or done with the character that relate to the life of Spider-Ock.

While the plot may have been on the light side this issue, we are still very well served when it comes to the art as Humberto Ramos continue from the last issue. He provides a lot of comical fun in his overly expressive and bombastic style, as he is most definitely the artist who really brought the best visual aspects when it comes to Hobgoblin. He looks monstrous, yet has some very human emotions that are conveyed through the motions and faces that he does, rendering him fun to look at. This energy is also rendered in a lot of other pages, like the big two-page spread showing what Hobgoblin and Spider-Ock do during their chase. He also possesses a very able pacing expressed through his panels, with them done in a way that always project and connect to the other in a way that feels natural.

Another aspect that feels natural is the coloring by Edgar Delgado, who really brings the better aspects of each scene, playing them off against each other as the somber aspects of the dialogue and the characters contrast to the lighter scenes as well. If there’s an area where Delgado excels, it’s lighting effect as he incorporate natural and artificial lighting as according to the scenes in an organic way, like when Phi Urich is outside or in the environment of his apartment and the Daily Bugle.

The Conclusion: The plot may be rather light as it does not take full advantage of what happened in the latest issue by creating more setup, but there are some angles covered in this issue that are very entertaining, which are helped by the always energetic art and colorization that has become the norm for this title.

Grade: B-

-Hugo Robberts Larivière