Superior Spider-Man #30 – Comic Review

Superior Spider-man #30 reaches the summit of a long running story arc. Peter Parker’s character is depicted from a new point of view.

I’ve written before about Superior Spider-Man. First in a review of issue #18, and later again on issue #26. If you are not up to date on the current plot, the opening paragraph of the second review has a summary of the current problems facing Spider-man.

What Superior Spider-man #30 offers:

  • Artwork depicting milestones in Spider-man history.
  • Consistent use of broken bonds builds themes of breaking out, and escape.
  • A major turning point in the Superior Spider-man story arc.

A large splash page shows off a turning point – Parker reclaims all his lost memories – in addition to artwork milestones from decades past.

A great moment for the comic book art occurs at the halfway point. I mentioned previously that Peter Parker forced his way out of a trap set by Otto Octavius (The villain Doctor Octopus – think mechanical arms and goggles).

A two page splash page shows off Peter in his blue and red costume. He remembers who he is. All his lost and scattered memories back in order. Pencils, inks, and colours mesh together. A web patter fills the background. The web creates a grid. within each cell of the grid, is a reprint of past artwork. Artwork that has defined Spider-man comic books spanning past decades receives acknowledgement.

In a place called “The Mindscape” Parker overcomes the last fragments of a trap. Otto Octavius expresses some startling and new insights. The Avengers also appear briefly.

Despite his arrogance and bluster, Otto Octavius takes a huge step in an unexpected direction. What’s unusual, I thought, was an arch villain in popular culture admitting that they have failed to achieve their plans, without moving blame to a meddlesome hero.

The comic book investigates Peter Parker’s character. I mentioned that Peter Parker struggles to regain control of his body. These struggles of the mind take place inside “The Mindscape”.

A quiet, green coloured place that represents the mind currently shared by Peter Parker and Otto Octavius. Here, Parker relieves the brutal and violent memories of Doctor Octopus. A trap where the memories replay in loops, with Parker in the starring role.

When Parker finally frees himself from the last bonds of this trap, the deeper investigation into his character begins.

Otto makes more admissions. He is arrogant because he knows about his flaws. Low self esteem leads to over compensation.

Now two minds share one body. When faced with each other, Octavius implores Parker:

“You’re guilt-ridden because, deep down, you know you are smarter than than others. Better. But it comes at a painful  price. You sabotage yourself…you must accept that you are superior.”

Parker’s talents, his intelligence and skills, combined with his bravery, receives some attention. This is a step in a new direction: traditionally, Spider-man comics focus on what  Parker fails to achieve, rather than his potential, and his strengths.

Marvels’s Avengers return for a few pages. The harsh judgment on Captain America’s face speaks about the approaching consequences the Superior Spider-man will face when this fight is over. That is, if he can defeat the Green Goblin. And the army of Goblin soldiers and anarchists.

A theme supported by consistent references is the breaking of bonds and ties. Breaking out is a large, overarching theme for this comic

Breaking ties, or things unraveling appear repeatedly throughout this comic. Ropes and webs fray. Wires, machines, and even aggreements made between people are torn up and thrown out. This unraveling repeatedly lays down a larger theme: Breaking bonds and broken ties.

Unfortunately, New York itself slides toward chaos. Fires burn, and goblins storm the city.  Rules of law and order that kept the streets relatively free of violence and danger are broken and burned away.

Alongside the city breaking down, characters within the city express comments about breaking or destroying things consistently throughout the issue. The Spider-man of 2099 breaks down a fleet of robots by targeting their weak points. Liz Allen severs all ties with New York Mayor, J. Jonah Jameson. A young girl named Amy Chen is freed from ropes that bind her.

Breaking out of bonds consistently reappears. And for good reason.

Superior Spider-man #30 offers readers a big, Spider-man event. Without plot spoilers, themes building for several issues pay-off here.

A popular culture reference appears early in the comic when the Green Goblin imitates the scene from The Wizard of OZ where The Witch of the West taunts Dorothy with an image of Auntie Em in her crystal globe.

Superior Spider-man #30 is published by Marvel Comics ($3.99 USD). Dan Slott & Christos Gage(W.) Giuseppe Camuncoli (P.) john Dell & Terry Pallot (I.) Antonio Fabela (C.) Chris Eliopoulos (L.) Cover Artwork by Giuseppe Camuncoli.

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