The middle installment of “Goblin Nation” brings Spider-Man and Green Goblin into a fateful confrontation with one of the wall-crawler’s supporting cast hanging in the balance, not unlike Gwen Stacy all those years ago. Dan Slott, with an assist from Christos Gage on scripts, writes the throwdown between Spider-Man and the Goblin’s army, which Giuseppe Camuncoli brings to the panels with an ink assist from John Dell and colors by Antonio Fabela.
With New York under siege from the Goblin Army, Mayor J. Jonah Jameson is under pressure to deploy the Goblin-Slayer drones, which are actually upgraded Spider-Slayer robots, to aid in the reclamation of the five boroughs. Needless to say, Jameson and Spider-Slayers don’t always end up well in stories by Dan Slott, even with the assist from Christos Gage. Slott and Gage pack plenty of action into this issue and give readers more than enough to soak between the fight between Spider-Man and Green Goblin, an appearance by the Spider-Man from 2099 and Jameson’s decision. The writers string Spider-Man along, with Green Goblin playing a cat and mouse game, revealing to Spider-Man that he knows everything. What he does with that knowledge is where “Superior Spider-Man” #29 really gets moving.
Although his Green Goblin isn’t terrifying, but rather more evocative of Joker, Giuseppe Camuncoli does a fine job with the story, including the unenviable challenge of making the Green Goblin’s glider function in a confined space. Camuncoli delivers a pair of masterful layouts as Goblin strikes killing blows across Spider-Man’s life and again in a two-page spread where readers climb into the Mindscape. Those two pages magnificently summarize Doc Ock and Spidey’s history, which is depicted in the segments of Doctor Octopus’ arms in the background. Other spots in the story lack sizzle and simply convey the story cleanly, like when the Miguel O’Hara/Mike O’Mara joins the fight. This appearance could have burst from the panels and across the page, but Camuncoli simply captures the debut as though it were a snapshot in a photo frame.
As swing issues of gripping story arcs go, “Goblin Nation” part three in “Superior Spider-Man” #29 makes a lot of progress raising stakes and advancing the story. It’s good to see Spider-Man and Green Goblin going at it again, even if the sides are mismatched and two more parts of this saga remain to be delivered. This isn’t the most amazing Spider-Man story ever told, but it is a solid adventure against a noteworthy foe with high stakes — just the type of Spider-Man story people call “classic.” Hopefully the last two chapters dial things up a bit more and deliver more surprises.