As final issues go, “Superior Spider-Man Team-Up” #12 doesn’t have much finality to it. Kevin Shinick writes a Spider-Man with hope and the promise of brighter days, but doesn’t deliver any definitive conclusions for Otto Octavius. The writer is joined by artists Ron Frenz and Sal Buscema on flashback scenes with Marco Checchetto handling the modern day.
The division of artwork is a nice change-up from the current Marvel house style, serving as a nice callback to the 1980s in Frenz and Buscema’s pages. Working within that paradigm, colorist Rachelle Rosenberg refrains from applying blends or patterns, truly giving the flashback tale of Otto Octavius’ conflict with Norman Osborn a retroactive appearance. The colors in those scenes are even more vibrant than Checchetto’s modern-day pages, which are accented with washes and gradients. Frenz’s storytelling is strong, but has one shaky spot where the story could go one of two directions. Checchetto’s three pages are dynamic and iconic, but not very informative, per the story. The two styles come together beautifully on a spread that breaks down the loves of Octavius’ life.
The biggest failing of “Superior Spider-Man Team-Up” #12 is that Shinick’s story never gets into a true team-up between Doc Ock and Peter Parker. Instead, Shinick details the victory over Norman Osborn brought about by both characters. That’s all well and good, but it sits on the page as little more than a recap that could have been covered in an eight-page backup tale in some other collection years from now when fans are nostalgic for Otto Octavius-as-Spider-Man. At no point does Shinick truly offer closure for the character. Similarly, the writer doesn’t foreshadow what the future might hold for everyone’s favorite wall-crawler and his team-up activities. I may be in the minority, but with Peter Parker back in action, I’m hopeful that this might mean maybe it’s time for a return of “Marvel Team-Up.”
While not necessarily impactful to the review itself, I couldn’t help but notice that the cover to “Superior Spider-Man Team-Up” #12 is printed on stock is inferior to the interior pages of the issue. Barring financials, I’m not sure what motivated this choice, as it is one more signature of paper per copy, but I’d think the premium priced comic books would also have slightly more rugged packaging. All in all, “Superior Spider-Man Team-Up” #12 has some nice moments, some decent art, but an otherwise forgettable story. Just as Octavius fades off in this issue, so does the issue, taking the series with it.