by Dan Slott (Writer), Giuseppe Camuncoli, John Dell (Artists), Antonio Fabela (Colorist)

The Story: Spider-Ock confronts a rather stunning woman as he tries to find a way to make sure he gets his doctorate.

The Review: The more I read certain comics, the more I am starting to appreciate those that can get to the point. Decompressed storylines are dimes a dozen these days, with some comics that really elongate their plot to make sure the eventual trade is the right length. While it is a rather pessimistic view on how stories are written, it seems that there is a definite effort from publishers and editors to make this a thing of the past, with titles such as Hawkeye, Abe Sapien, Astro City and countless others simply telling their stories in smaller amounts of pages. It’s something that is rather refreshing in this industry.

It is also a category in which Superior Spider-Man falls in, with some of the larger storylines being only three chapters long. With this arc, Slott tells his story in simply two chapters, with the final one being this very issue. However, does he allow for all of the plot threads to conclude in a satisfactory manner while still providing potential for future stories?

To his credit, Slott does address pretty much everything in his story in a concise manner, be it Lamaze and his rebuttal at Otto’s wish to make Peter a doctor, Stunner’s vengeance along with other smaller points. What’s pretty good is also the fact that the general plot moves along without any unnecessary scenes or pandering, with the story getting to the point on pretty much everything introduced in the previous issue.

Of course, progression of story doesn’t necessarily equal entertainment, as one can get from point A to B and still manage to be boring. Thankfully, several factors are in play to make it more interesting, starting with Otto Octavius himself. The controversial character is still one of the better elements of this book, as this issue provides for more semi-heroics from him, showing both a more humane side to him without losing the arrogant and manipulative aspect that is his trademark. The way he deals with his problems is both ruthless and inventive, yet it shows that he might have been changed a bit by his stint as Spider-Man. It’s a subtle evolution, yet no one that feels forced or trite after more than twenty issues.

The character isn’t the only thing that evolves in this series, as slowly but surely the main threads are as well, with some of the finer plot points or longer running ones are there as well. Carlie Cooper’s research about the truth behind the demise of Peter Parker, the Goblin King and his slow buildup, the doctorate desired by Otto, even the fact that some of the citizens are a tad afraid of the spider-bots is mentioned here with enough space to make it worthwhile. A lot of things happen here to make the readers invested and a lot of it does work in providing twists and turns for the future of this title.

The action is also pretty on the point, with Slott never repeating itself or making it overly long, with new tricks on the page as the conflict progress. While it isn’t the most original of fights, there are nuances here that do provide some unseen ways as the fight is resolved. It’s just the right pacing in order to send its message and the capabilities of the fighters known without taking too much space in the issue.

Of course, most of the pacing is well handled visually by Giuseppe Camuncoli and John Dell, who provide once more with some pretty great art. Their mix between down-to-Earth moments along with the more extravagant action scenes makes for a great contrast, with plenty of scenes attributed to the Spider-Man side of the equation as it is attributed to Otto. Big actions scenes with bulging muscles, webs and buses being thrown in the air are put right next to those focusing on the Daily Bugle, Carlie Cooper and Otto at the university, creating a meshing of regular and extraordinary circumstances that Camuncoli seems to excel at. His slick depiction of Spider-Ock is also sound, especially when in conflict with the larger and much more muscular Stunner, with the artist depicting brawn and acrobatics versus brawn and heavy emotions on the page aptly. The emotions are also diverse enough, with him going to hyperbole and subtle without making it clash too much in a negative way. It’s a pretty good issue for Camuncoli and Dell, that’s for sure.

It isn’t exactly so for Antonio Fabela, though, who doesn’t seem to match the high intensity of some of the scenes. It’s not unequivocally average, of course, with some scenes like the Carlie Cooper scene in the graveyard being pretty well done, yet it doesn’t seem to go far enough in some scenes. It is not bad by any means, yet it is merely decent, with a lot of the colorization looking a bit dull and repetitive in some pages. There are a good number of pages where the degradation is wonderful and the palette is subtle enough to warrant closer inspection, yet it’s mostly an uneven issue for Fabela.

The Conclusion
: With a good pacing, some neat character moments and evolutions in the cast and the story, this issue provides a neat experience for those looking for a satisfying Spider-Ock read. A nice chapter overall, thanks to the work of Slott on the script along with Camuncoli and Dell on the art.

Grade: B+

-Hugo Robberts Larivière