Otto Octavius’ reign as Spider-Man nears its end with the onset of the Goblin War, which finds our dubious hero taken completely by surprise with the Goblin’s new tactics. Dan Slott, Giuseppe Camuncoli and John Dell’s “Superior Spider-Man” #27 ups the stakes for Otto as his secrets slowly get stripped away both inside and out. With a set up that’s been a year in the making, the beginning of the Goblin War and Otto’s reaction to it culminate for an unfortunately average if satisfying issue, with a predictable story that builds to a decently climactic conclusion and some nice, industry standard art.
With dramatic irony at his full employ, Slott has kept nothing from his readers in terms of Goblin’s seedy underworld, making most of the issue simply a rehash with Otto’s insight; Otto’s reaction to this turn of events is met with arrogance, frustration, and resolve typical to his characterization in the series so far. The issue reads like a reactionary piece from his point of view, with little action or shocking reveals or, thereby, excitement. The narrative also takes a dramatic leap forward in time to move some of the pieces in place, but the story — at this stage — doesn’t necessitate or explain why this is the case. The issue, as a whole, isn’t actively bad, per se — just expected and underwhelming.
That isn’t to say, of course, that the issue didn’t have its moments. Peter’s scenes in his and Otto’s shared mindscape are certainly intriguing and set up a compelling new dimension to the mindswap. Otto gets in a fantastic twist after an appropriately intense meeting with Goblin. In fact, Goblin really steals the show with his whimsical but calculated exchange with Otto. Likewise, the issue’s concluding scene really amps up the action for a great cliffhanger, finally getting to the climactic moment that readers have been waiting for since the “Superior” title began.
Giuseppe Camuncoli and John Dell provide the issue with some well executed if standard artwork for the issue. Drawing scenes in New York is no laughing matter, and — as such — the panel backgrounds are detailed and thought out. Camuncoli and Dell give the fabric of Otto’s costume and other character’s clothing some real texture in close up scenes, which adds a great dimension to the comic as a whole. He also lays out Goblin and Otto’s tense conversation in a fluid, dynamic way that really captures Goblin’s character. Antonio Fabela, likewise, gives the issue a great atmosphere with his solid color work.
However, Camuncoli and Dell’s figures have some room for improvement, in that they either register no expression or the wrong one; take, for instance, a scene where Otto is frustrated with his former coworker Uatu, but his face registers slight amusement rather than anger. What’s more, Peter looks ancient in some of his mindscape scenes, rather than reflecting the boyish youth he’s known for. In all, the characters — besides Goblin, of course — feel terribly static.
“Superior Spider-Man” #27 leaves a lot of promise for the arc to come, but this story is certainly off to a slow start.