The problem with a high quality series is your expectations get tempered into believing it’ll eventually get get old or boring. Or at the very least, there can’t be a mistaken turn for the worst. The day you realize that’s an impossibility is the day you take a step back and realize how good it’s all been and, at the same time, praying to yourself the ship will be righted. Sadly I think that issue has come to Superior Spider-Man this week, but let’s break it down. Is it good?
Superior Spider-Man #17 (Marvel Comics)
Not sure what’s going on? Read our review (with summary) of the last issue here!
When you review 5 to 10 comics a week for two years you start to pick up on the underlying things that make a single issue read a joy. Obviously art and story need to come together, but without killer pacing even the best of sequences can make the entire 20 page book a let down. When there are so few pages, only a couple can slow things down to the point where you wished you never read the book. Case in point, this comic, written by Dan Slott and drawn by Ryan Stegman.
“Shocking” in the future is the new way to say the F word. Neat.
And where does this go wrong? Partly it’s the usage of Spider-Man 2099, who gets a whopping eight pages that, in hindsight, read like decompression. You get the flavor of the futuristic language, a recap of Spidey’s deal and an explanation for how he’s going to meet up with Spider-Man 2013 (you see what I did there?). Hell, you even get a battle, even though it doesn’t make much sense. The problem though is it reads as if Slott loves the character to the point where he’d rather play with it than have him serve the story. This sequence jam packs a ton of information though, which is why it’s so weird that it feels boring and long winded. It’s as if these pages deserved a summary recap page moreso than what we get here.
Why is this the explanation for time travel so much? Seems lazy.
The rest cuts between Peter playing in a Horizon softball game, a quick check in with Green Goblin and finally the big setup for the next issue. Sadly, it all balances out to a Mama Cass read, complete with a ham sandwich being forcefed down our gullets. It’s all setup, to explain and justify Spider-Man 2099 showed up at all as quickly as possible. It’s probable if we went back to longer page counts this would work, but Slott really could have used more to tell this story. Instead, he’s quickly cutting to the chase so we can have a sweet Spidey 2099 Spidey 2013 team up.
Man. Peter is THAT guy.
The art by Stegman is good throughout, with an interesting job by Edgar Delgado on color. The future scenes pop and shine and the baseball scene in particular has a dawn lighting that makes things feel foreboding. Stegman doesn’t get a lot of help from the script, because of all the things being jam packed into the issue, but for the most part he’s serviceable in getting the story across.
In defense of Slott and Stegman, they get a lot of complicated things across clearly, which include not only Spider-Man 2099 being introduced for all levels of readers, but also a lawsuit that might bring Horizon to its knees. Sadly these elements read rather boring. On the bright side there are a couple nice touches of Peter being an idiot who thinks he doesn’t need help from anyone.
“Useless superpower.” That’s priceless.
- Nice character moments for Peter as always
- Spider-Man 2099 is pretty rad
- Unbalanced issue with bad pacing and forced exposition
To make matters worse, this issue can be skipped. If you know nothing about Spider-Man 2099 you might want to purchase this, but what do you really need to know beyond him being from the future? The check in with Green Goblin is more of a tease than anything, and the developments at Horizon, while most likely important to the complication of the plot in the future, is more or less a boring read.
Is It Good?
Nope. I can’t believe it, I didn’t like this book for once in 17 issues!