Writer Mike Costa is joined by artist Michael Dialynas, colorist Rachelle Rosenberg and letterer Cory Petit to close out “The Arms of the Octopus” saga in “Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Special” #1 that finishes the three-issue arc begun in “All-New X-Men Special” #1 and continued in “Indestructible Hulk Special” #1. As was the case with the previous installments, this final chapter is a fun, retro comic that celebrates team-ups and Annual-based events from yesteryear.
Michael Dialynas’ art is whimsical, yet detailed. I’ve enjoyed his work on “Amala’s Blade” and find his X-Men to be entertainingly simple, yet dynamic. Like Leonard Shortall’s work in “Encyclopedia Brown” books, Dialynas’ work is cheerful and detailed, prone to fits of humor and gestural character movements. The artist plays with the characters throughout the story, giving them small, white dots for eyes in some panels, but mere panels later delivers surprisingly defined, expressive eyes as the characters shift from reacting to their environments to interacting with one another and the reader. Dialynas does a great job telling the story through the characters while supporting and amplifying Costa’s tale. With so much focus on the characters, Dialynas adds some balance through subtraction by leaving out backgrounds in select scenes throughout the story.
Clearly Costa had a vision for this story all along. Weaving together the disparate characters of Hulk, Spider-Man and four-fifths of the original X-Men around a new foe that has connections to all three is certainly a great idea. Costa provides an adequate level of comic book science, filtered through the words of Hank McCoy, Bruce Banner and Otto Octavius. Around that, Costa recognizes opportunities for humor and delivers appropriately. One scene between young Scott Summers and Bruce Banner jumps out of context a bit, but Costa tames it before it gets too far out of hand.
Costa wraps up “The Arms of the Octopus” nicely and stops just short of putting an after school special stamp on this story. There is definitely a message to be gained from this story and some incremental character development even happens. Costa successfully borrows the characters to be used throughout the crossover and returns them to their rightful owners. Undoubtedly this story might have attracted readers across titles, and Costa and crew provide a very solid adventure with spot-on characterization to entice those readers to check out the source titles for these half-dozen of Marvel NOW!’s most prominent characters. “Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Special” delivers the goods in the form of a fun story and effervescent artwork. I’m not demanding that Marvel make this an annual tradition, but Costa and Dialynas provide fun stories fit to entertain readers of all ages and interests.