Dan Slott (Writer), Ryan Stegman, Livesay (Artists), Edgar Delgado (Colorist)
The Story: Otto tries to reverse the current damage to the time stream with the people of Horizon Labs as Miguel O’Hara’s fate is revealed.
The Review: Dan Slott is kind of a tease, isn’t he? With the heavy marketing around this book, it seems that he simply has to make sure people try to guess whatever might happen, through whichever way possible. The ”nothing will ever be the same” is especially strong with this series and this writer, which may grate on the nerves of some people as promises are made. It’s enough for the skeptic in all of us lift an eyebrow when looking at all of this in an objective way.
However, it seems that not only is it working in gaining the interest of readers, but most of the time Slot actually do delivers on changing elements and introducing newer ones. This issue is a good example of this, as not only do the writer play with the various elements prior to this volume and the current one, but he also insert new elements into play that makes this series able to deliver on surprising twists.
Something he does in order to bring those changes in an effective manner is that he consolidate much of the plot threads together for the finale, which helps tremendously. With a focus on a particular scene and with all the players gathered together, it makes this issue less jumbled than the previous ones in this arc. With the issue mostly concentrated on Otto’s point-of-view, though not necessarily on all of his actions, the fallouts, the actions and the reactions ends up being much more satisfying to read and experience.
What makes a lot of it satisfying, though, is how Slott successfully picks up many of the threads from before. How Peter is perceived at Horizon Labs, the experiments that were made there, the rather shocking events from Superior Spider-Man #9, how J. Jonah Jameson wants to close the place down, Tiberius Stone and many other elements all gets to another stage of their development, making this issue rather eventful. Those that are annoyed by decompression shall be pleased to read this issue, to be sure.
There is also a good chunk of character development as well as some potent characterization to be found here as well. The entertaining arrogance of Otto Octavius is at full display here, as well as his inability to effectively juggle with Peter Parker’s life along with his role as Spider-Man. There are moments where shadows of a doubt plague the character, which is always a nice contrast to the always so confident character on display. However, Otto isn’t the only one receiving interesting development, as Miguel O’Hara, Carlie Cooper, Max Modell, Mary Jane Watson and others reveal some new side of their characters as well, moving on with their relation to the world and with Spider-Man. If as a reader you were invested in those characters and their situation, this is a very rewarding read indeed.
What’s also pretty rewarding is the art of Ryan Stegman and Livesay, which lives up to its energetic and rather cartoony reputation. Here, Stegman use the same technique that he used before with the time-dots in the previous issue, though with a much better result as they are contained in the pages only dealing with the time stream. They are still as chaotic as before, yet the abundant presence of these elements really do bring out the urgency of the situation, as the pacing and narrative flow makes their presence much better plot wise. There are also some beautiful page in terms of experimentation, like the double-page spread showcasing many facsimile of other artists in the background, with a rather minimalist approach at the bottom of the page to foreshadow forthcoming events. However, those are only a few pages in this issue, as the rest is highly competent super hero action, with the poses expected, a varied range of expressions for the characters that pass through the motions and the faces and a rather impressive display of details in the backgrounds. While the previous issues were a poor showing of this fact, this one does justice to the fact that it’s always nice to see Stegman on this title.
Edgar Delgado is also very much appreciated, thanks to his colorization. His bright and popping colors match the aesthetics of Ryan Stegman perfectly, with an abundance of lighting effects along with a minimal amount of darker tones. This results in the more somber moments to be much more effective, as they stand out from the lot not only in their tone but visually as well. Much of the contrast here is achieved through hyperbole, as a lot of the important colors in this issue are on the verge of overpowering the others, yet never do.
The Conclusion: Delivering a great conclusion and its promises, this issue of Superior Spider-Man is a good showcase of the series strength thanks to a playfulness with the lore, but also thanks to the work of Ryan Stegman and Edgar Delgado. A strong issue.
-Hugo Robberts Larivière