The first of two parts dealing with the fallout of Spider-Man’s destruction of Shadowland, “Superior Spider-Man” #15 opens with the Hobgoblin scared and on the run in Dan Slott’s latest web-covered collaboration with artist Humberto Ramos. The Hobgoblin needs more gear and needs it in a hurry, so naturally Slott dials up the Tinkerer.
The Spider-Man scribe portrays the relationship between Tinkerer and Hobgoblin as businesslike, despite the latter’s significant demands. Slott then throws a little spin on things and draws out a subplot that has significant ramifications for both Spider-Man and Hobgoblin. Spider-Man, meanwhile, experiences his most inflated ego trip ever, having just toppled the Kingpin’s empire and (allegedly) buried Wilson Fisk himself. That amplifies everyone’s uneasiness with the wallcrawler, continuing to string along suspicions from characters like Mary Jane Watson and Carlie Cooper. Those suspicions could make for interesting subplots if they would advance at all, but for now, we’re simply reminded of their existence in “Superior Spider-Man” #15.
As has been the case throughout his tenure drawing Spider-Man to fit Dan Slott’s stories, Humberto Ramos’ cast of characters are exaggerated and demonstrative. Simple motions, such as loudly screaming at one’s foes are heavily contorted, making Spider-Man’s spectacular nimbleness seem almost commonplace among the rest of the characters in this issue. Without question, however, it is evident that Ramos has fun drawing these pages. The artist’s take on Hobgoblin is memorable, as the fiend appears to be equal parts powerful and slinky, much like a visual opposite number to Ramos’ Spider-Man. However, the artist’s exaggerated appearances across the board make everyone seem exceptional in this issue. Some of that results in characters looking like flat cartoon cutouts, such as when Nora Winters is eagerly checking out the memory card Phil Urich brings to “The Daily Bugle.”
Just as Otto Octavius met endless frustration from Spider-Man, so too is Octavius doling out heaping helpings of frustration to his enemies as Spider-Man, especially former Horizon Labs scientist, Ty Stone, and current Hobgoblin, Phil Urich. “Superior Spider-Man” #15 is a transitional issue where Spider-Man figures out the actions of his foes, takes appropriate measures and decides to start cashing in. That leads to some neat visual moments and a quick tussle between Spider-Man and Hobgoblin, but nothing in this issue strikes as exceptional. Quite simply, this is another issue of “Superior Spider-Man” that reminds readers this is not the same old Spider-Man. This one has a mission and intends to fulfill it with a significant amount of attitude.