We’re nearly at the two year point for this series. Wait, didn’t this start only nine months ago? Time sure flies when you have double-shipping on your side, don’t it?
Dan Slott’s praiseworthy run on Superior Spider-Man has dipped below its average score the last few times out; can this issue bring it back to upper echelon glory? Is it good?
Superior Spider-Man #19 (Marvel Comics)
Check out our Review of issue #18 here.
Hoo boy, things really take a swing in new directions this issue and if you were thinking of taking a break you might want to check in here. Then again, the next issue’s summary page will cover things, so maybe not. Last issue Spider-Man 2099 showed up jabbering about the timeline itself being destroyed. Spider-Man, in all his Doc Ock arrogance, assumed he was a clone and wanted to take him out. Sadly he cold-cocks the guy and he was the only one who knew how to save reality. This issue opens with Spider-Man 2099 knocked out and Spider-Man with only a scant idea of what is going on.
Playing catch up.
I’ve voiced my concern with the heavy-handed exposition in the last issue and this issue is by far even worse. There’s just way too much talking going on with really not much action to speak of. The entire issue revolves around two major moments, one being Spider-Man’s inability to remember the memories he erased, and the result of Horizon Labs. Around these moments are copious amounts of dialogue. Dialogue about what is going on, dialogue about what someone should or shouldn’t know, dialogue about what people will do. It’s all very boring, because actions speak louder than words, at least that’s what I thought anyway. This is a visual medium, right? You wouldn’t know it from this issue.
That isn’t to say writer Dan Slott isn’t getting some progress out of this plot, but please, can we have the characters do something? Spider-Man 2099 spends the majority of this issue knocked out, fine, but to have Spider-Man spend so much time piecing things together is a bit of a bore. Slott does achieve an emotional moment for Spider-Man: the realization that maybe Peter was better, which should help change the flow of the character story moving forward. The problem is, especially in the final pages, too much of this feels like the cursory moving of pieces around the board to set up the next arc.
Who in their right mind imagines themselves wearing a mask they didn’t wear until later in their life?
I feel bad for artist Ryan Stegman, because much of his work is covered with word balloons. He does a great job with the spacetime continuum breaking apart — the energy balls look particularly dazzling — and Spider-Man’s memory moment is effectively powerful and clear. I did have a problem with how stuffed the layouts are. There’s a ton of tiny panels on pages that don’t convey much beyond the dialogue. This again stifles the work and makes it a slog to read through.
With holes over his eye…can he see?
There are a few plot points that get closed off too, which in hindsight probably could have used much more time to be effective beats. Instead they’re swept under the rug as if the buildup in previous issues was for naught.
So the building is zapped away but the pipes remain. Why?
- Two interesting developments to keep an eye on
- If you love dialogue give this a read, because there’s too much of it
- Art is stuffed into the pages
Is It Good?
Plot progression and a powerful emotional moment for Spider-Man aside, this issue was a pacing nightmare and a boring read. There’s not enough action and too much talking. On top of this, plot points are tied up as if they were clutter to be rid of. Here’s to hoping the future of this series can pace itself better. Spider-Man 2099 seems to be in this story only to get him into a future arc, rather than have it mean anything in the current pages.