Comic Vine Review

8 Comments

Superior Spider-Man Annual #2 - Blood Ties; Chasing Ghosts Review

3

Can Ben Urich convince Phil to walk away from Green Goblin? Also, Wraith attempts to escape from Superior Spider-Man's custody.

The Good

As Goblin Nation moves forward in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN, Christos N. Gage is given the opportunity to focus on the characters that aren't necessarily front and center at the moment. The writer opts to chime in on how Ben Urich is handling the revelation that his nephew, Phil, is the latest incarnation of the Hobgoblin and naturally, he isn't a nice dude. The second half revolves around Goblin Nation's side plot with Carlie Cooper aka Monster attempting to cure herself, and Yuri Watanabe aka Wraith's desire for revenge.

The first half of the annual is of course a more character-driven one. Ben isn't exactly a character that tends to get too much attention, so it's a nice change of pace to delve into the reporter's mind and witness firsthand how he's handling everything. Much of the actual investigative work is done off panel, but there's more than enough here to easily connect the dots. In spite of the cover teasing an issue about Phil, it truly is about Ben and his attempt to see whether his nephew capable of being saved. His thoughts and actions are well-written and Gage successfully gives us a humanized approach to the character. Javier Rodriguez artwork and Alvaro Lopez's inks suit the tone of this story well. As stylized as the character work may be, the highlight is easily how the two handle all of the lighting effects. Be it someone standing behind shades or a flaming sword illuminating someone's back, the attention to filling the pages with an impressive degree of shadows and lighting is a nice touch.

While the first half of this book is a character study, the second half is focused purely on developing a very specific aspect of Goblin Nation. Gage is given the task of making sure progress is made on the front with Cooper and Wraith, and he absolutely does just that. If you're a completionist or find yourself especially curious about this side of the tale, then you'll most certainly want to see how it unfolds. Philippe Briones and Veronica Gandini's visuals feels more akin to what we're seeing over in the regular SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN issues, so it's a pretty easy transition into this half of the book. Additionally, this side of the issue has more action, and thankfully, there's a greater sense of motion as characters leap, punch and get knocked around. That said, credit should be given to both art teams for making Monster legitimately creepy.

The Bad

Despite being on the cover and playing a pretty big part in the issue itself, Phil's role feels somewhat familiar and predictable. Sure, it's more about Ben's investigation, but we're essentially waiting for him to have the same epiphany that we all had quite some time ago. And, as stated above, the dialogue is well-written, but the course of events has a lot of tropes. The hero jumping in at the last minute, the "you can get me or save him" act, so on and so on. It's a good study of Ben, but unfortunately, nothing around him is particularly exciting or gripping. It just feels safe.

In the first half of the book, the attempt to make the action feel more fluid by having it play out within single panels is fun, but it feels more like a missed opportunity because the character work comes off as stiff during fights. Instead of feeling like smooth and fast characters engaging in a fight, it seems somewhat static. This was also the case whenever Phil used his sword.

The Verdict

If you find yourself especially invested in Ben Urich or the Goblin Nation's plot with Monster and Wraith, then yes, this is a comic you'll likely want to check out and will probably enjoy a little more than I did. But for everyone else, $4.99 is asking a little too much for what occurs in this comic. Sure, there's a development with Monster and Wraith's plot, but odds are this will be swiftly detailed in the next issue of SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN's intro page or maybe even reduced to a line or two of exposition within the issue itself. It's an enjoyable annual and both halves certainly thrive for their own reasons, but nothing truly makes this feel like a mandatory read for fans of Goblin Nation, either.

9 Comments
Posted by Master_Thief

Is issue 30 next week?

Posted by Rainja

ThAnks, I will pass. Goblin nation seems to be a disappointment ill dodge this bullet.

Posted by Dark_Guyver
Posted by Jphu8414

Yeah I think I'll have to pass on this one as well, I bought the first annual and it was really disappointing and it seems this one is really no different

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

I don't know why people waste $5 on annuals.

Posted by zombietag

annuals are waaay too expensive for the cheap thrills they deliver. not necessary to story, hurts your wallet, writing is usually second rate. whos still buying these?

remember the over 100 pages of awesomeness that was ASM #600? THAT was $5, so what is this?

Edited by ArturoCalaKayVee

I really enjoyed this issue, the art was gorgeous. The story was decent, but hey, how exciting can Ben Ulrich be, ammi right? The back story was okay too, I'm personally not too interested in Wraith but it was still decent. I enjoyed this over all and think it was worth the money.

Edited by mickeymayhew

it was a bit rich considering SpOck was barely in it