SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN # 25
Darkest Hours: Part 4
This issue begins right after Superior Spider-Man # 24, where Spider-Man, now the Superior Venom, has gone to fight crime. He is about to kill Kingsley's lackeys when he is stopped by the Avengers. The Avengers approach him calmly, telling him to stand down. Spider-Man however, is unknowingly losing his grip of control over the symbiote and is looking for a fight and very soon gets what he is looking for.
Injured after their encounter with the Superior Venom, Kingsley's men call in, requesting some help. Kingsley however, is still more concerned about his profits and turns to his other guys, telling them to perform a hit while Spider-Man and the Avengers are occupied fighting one another.
The fight goes on for a while before the Superior Venom begins to lose. He then calls for backup from Spider-Island. Over at Spider Island, some of the guys employed there are beginning to question their bosses' actions. Goblin Knight, aka Phil Urich, ( the temporary hobgoblin poser for a number of issues), manages to catch footage proving that Spider-Man's men are not sure if they want to work with him anymore.
Over at the Goblin underground, we see what has become of Carlie Cooper, and it isn't very pretty.
Carlie is given a new name - Monster. When asked about the identity of Spider-Man however, she still refuses to reveal it to the Goblin King. She states that she will only reveal his identity if the Goblin King reveals to her who he is behind that mask. The Goblin King tells her he is Norman Osborn, but she wants proof. ( She's still got a little detective in there )
Coming back to the fight between the Superior Venom and the Avengers, Captain America begins calling for backup. Iron Man, in his new armor offers his assistance, but Capt gives him different orders - to find Corporal Eugene Thompson aka Flash. The Avengers aren't having it so good and even Wolverine is having trouble, lacking his healing factor. ( read Wolverine # 6 I think)
Across New York, angry citizens begin attacking all the Spider-Bots as a display of their disapproval of Spider-Man's actions. In the Spider-Island command center, the spider crew are going blind with the spiders being crushed by the citizens.
They are also still experiencing the glitch with the spider bots that they are still unaware of - the glitch that blinds them from the goblins, planted by the Goblin King way back in some earlier issues.
Elsewhere, right under the dysfunctional spiderbots' eyes, Menace, the Goblin Knight, and Monster proceed to disrupt and kill the real Hobgoblin's men who were instructed earlier in the issue to bring in Kingsley's profits.
The Superior Venom is finally defeated when Tony Stark distracts Venom, allowing Flash Thompson, wearing Iron Man's armor to attack the Superior Venom. Since Flash has some symbiote in him, Spider-Man's spider-sense did not sense him coming. Flash tries to get the symbiote to come back to him. At first the symbiote wants to return to Flash, but later changes its mind. In those few moments, the Superior Octavious Spider-Man was able to come to him senses. He tries to get rid of the symbiote but is unable to until... Major Spoiler: Ghost Peter Parker comes to save the day.
Ghost Peter, who emerged from the rubble in Superior Spider-Man # 19, comes to save the day and helps Otto get rid of the symbiote. In the meanwhile, Flash rebonds with the symbiote, becoming Agent Venom once again.
Thinking very quickly, the Superior Spider-Man blames his past actions on the symbiote saying that some particles of the alien were in him after his encounter with Flash in Venom # 4. He thanks them for having removed the symbiote completely and assures them that everything is now back to normal.
In the Goblin Underground base, the Goblin King, Goblin Knight, Menace and Monster make a call to Kingsley, the Hobgoblin. They agree to settle this once and for all with a Goblin battle.
Mary Jane, who was previously in holding was later released by Captain Wantanabe. We see MJ going to Peter's apartment. Peter assures her that everything is back to normal. Mary Jane, forgives Peter and tells him that she can sense he is back.
Peter Octopus however is feeling very pleased with himself that he has managed to fool Mary Jane, and the Avengers.
Over at the Avengers tower, Stark expresses his disbelief in Spider-Man's excuse. Flash tries to tap into the symbiotes memories of bonding with Spider-Man earlier, but only gets a blur of two different frequencies.
The Avengers then tell Stark about the tests they ran on Spider-Man. When Stark tries to look for the test results to reexamine them himself, he finds they are all deleted along with the security feed for the day. Fortunately and unethically, he has hidden cameras all over the place that only he knows about. He sees that it was Spider-Man who stole the test results!
Captain America has had it with Spider-Man and once again decides to bring him in!
After reading this issue, I was pretty excited to see that Peter Parker is finally about to return. No doubt we all knew that he was coming back, especially after the announcement by Dan Slott, still seeing Iron Man's disbelief in Spider-Man's lies was great! The Avengers are finally catching up now that they have a 'brain' in the group again.
Seeing Mary Jane fall for fake Peter's tricks again is rather sad. It does send across a heartfelt message however that she can sense ghost Peter somehow, even if she doesn't know he is a ghost. This scene builds on the fact that Mary Jane truly knows Peter Parker. At the same time, it is also frustrating to know that she can sense the 1% Peter Parker but can't realize that the other 99% is not him.
Next on my list of things to discuss is the Goblin Wars, which will be taking place in the next issue. How will this turn out? Will Roderick Kingsley breathe his last breath? I think it is a no brainer that Kingsley will lose this fight, or at least appear to do so. If the Goblin King, Goblin Knight, Menace and Monster are going to face him, he does not really stand a chance, especially is the Goblin King is actually Norman Osborn.
This leads us to our next topic of interest - who is the Goblin King. In this issue, he reveals himself in words to Carlie as Norman Osborn. Just like Carlie however, we, the readers would like some proof that it really is him. He also responded to the name Osborn when he was speaking to Kingsley. For the Goblin King to be intelligent and powerful enough to build an empire of this size, it would probably have to be either Norman himself, or Harry, possibly. I for one would be disappointed if it was a completely new character with no previous history in the Marvel Universe.
Next we have Carlie Cooper, who most recently has becoming 'Monster..,' of all the creative names in the universe. I do hope that Carlie's face is not permanently disfigured like that. It is quite possible that she is only wearing a mask. Also, at this point, the possibility of her still being in control of her self is quite high. While the Goblin Knight had reported that Carlie was definitely turned after watching her beat Hobgoblin's men, I suspect she may not yet be fully turned as she was hesitant to reveal Spider-Man's secret identity.
Finally, I love the way that the comics are depicting more and more how the Superior Spider-Man is not actually superior. On several occasions now, Otto has proven himself to be less superior that Peter Parker as Spider-Man.In this issue, Otto had actually given up on removing the symbiote. It was ghost Peter who eventually helped him out. Only Peter is strong enough to free himself from the Venom symbiote without fully being controlled. Otto's legacy as Spider-Man is coming to an end, with the citizens and even his own henchmen questioning his judgments. All we have to do now is sit and watch how it happens.
I suspect that the Avengers will bring Spider-Man in to re-examine him. Spider-Man thinking that Peter is gone from his mind completely will willingly submit to the tests, resulting in Tony Stark spotting the slight anomaly in Peter's brain pattern!
Just a theory...Cheers!