Just as the book is shockingly labeled NOW, Superior Spider-Man #27.NOW starts off with an attention grabbing moment that sets the stage for the end of the Superior Spider-Man series. Spider-Man, suit presumably torn from fighting Goblin minions, stands over the Brooklyn Bridge realizing, for the first time, the price of his hubris. The Green Goblin has declared war and Spider-Man has already lost.
As the first part of the “Goblin Nation” storyline, Superior Spider-Man #27.NOW does a great job of throwing readers right into the middle of a story, while still laying out all the players set to throw down in this story. Dan Slott’s storytelling is at its strongest here, as he successfully enters scenes late enough to make them exciting and mysterious while still leaving them early enough to make the future developments enticing. With so many fun and exciting moments already delivered in this first issue of the story, the stage has been set for even more twists, turns, and reveals in the future issues.
A large number of cast members get brief check-ins in this issue, but they are never short enough to feel like a cheat or to make the issue feel overstuffed. All of these asides feel substantial in some way; whether it be an announcement from a vengeful J.J. J., a dinner with the love-struck Anna Maria, a tech session with Uatu Jackson, or with Peter Parker as he wander’s Doctor Octopus’s mindscape.
These scenes range in effectiveness, with the Peter Parker sequence taking a rather bizarre twist that could get interesting in future issues, but the highlight of the issue is the meeting between the Green Goblin and Dr. Octopus. The scene, depicting the two heavyweight Spider-Man villains discussing the terms of their new relationship, demonstrates Slott’s understanding of these characters and his ability to construct a sequence that carries great weight and tension. It is a refreshing moment, particularly at the beginning of a story like this, which puts everything on the table for the reader. More quiet moments like this could do well to sell this story and the consequences of these two major players’ actions.
How this meeting resolves itself also showcases Slott’s ability to make every story that he has introduced in Superior Spider-Man count towards the overall narrative. This smart reveal demonstrates that even though Doctor Octopus is clearly outnumbered, he still has a few cards up his sleeve. The reveal does, unfortunately, bring up a problem similar to how the Winkler device has been used in last issues; particularly that it lets a character readers care about get caught in a tough predicament only to have them be revealed to not actually be there. An overuse of this storytelling technique could eventually rob the story of tension and expose plotholes in the characters’ actions. (For a spoilery example highlight here: How did Spider-Man’s spider-sense react to the Goblin in the sewer if he wasn’t actually there?)
Superior Spider-Man 27.NOW’s art is as strong as ever, with Camuncoli finally perfecting his Green Goblin and with his work with Antonio Fabela, on colors, proving to be a fruitful as ever. His costumed heroes are gorgeous, particularly Green Goblin’s thugs, but his human faces remain a bit blocky and overly lantern-jawed. His story is visually well-paced and the action panels are appropriately huge. It sets up an exciting future for the art on the remainder of the book as readers head towards some large-scale action.
Superior Spider-Man #27.NOW is a fantastic start to the final storyline of Superior Spider-Man. It does everything an introductory story should do and more, which is to light the match and ignite the wick. It is fitting that the story ends with a “KRAKOOM!” as that bomb explodes.