Goblin Nation is underway over in the pages of SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN, but SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP is attempting to build the story's hype by showing additional bits and pieces of how it all began. In a sense, the story here is the same as the last issue: Spider-Man is still trying to figure out who can he trust. Except this time around, he's trying to put together the pieces during a very extended action sequence. Let's be honest, watching Spider-Man and Daredevil pummel goons is something that doesn't really get old and it remains a fun thing to watch throughout this issue. Observing a somewhat blinded version of Frank Castle fight enemies is certainly entertaining, but more importantly, it allows writer Kevin Shinick to further boost Spider-Man's suspicions. Is Castle really blinded or is he legitimately trying to kill the webhead? It makes sense seeing Otto feel uncertain, but it's just too bad that we already know the real answer to this whole conflict.
Marco Checchetto (artist) and Rachelle Rosenberg (colorist) create an issue that looks gritty yet still feels polished. There's a strong emphasis on sketchier line work with the characters, but it still comes across as feeling like a crisp and clean image. There's a great sense of depth to each individual and, personal gripe about Punisher looking a little too young aside, the ability to create a wide array of believable facial expressions is impressive. Witnessing a goon get smacked across the face is never a repetitive experience in this issue. The way each reacts is always highly amusing and there's a fantastic sense of speed and force behind the actual strike.
The timing doesn't help boost the overall story in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN. Being released after Goblin Nation has already kicked off makes this story lose quite a bit of its punch and ultimately doesn't add anything significant to the story. We know there's no possibility that Daredevil or Punisher are manipulating Spider-Man and we know who's behind all of it, so when Otto does finally find out, it doesn't feel like an impactful reveal.
I also couldn't help but feel like this trio was being downplayed in this issue. Yes, the cannon fodder are sporting some fancy weapons, but these three (even with a somewhat hindered Punisher) should absolutely be able to overcome in due time. Spider-Man needing to flood his base and destroy everything doesn't feel warranted when the threat they're facing is something I could absolutely see them eventually defeating.
Minor gripe: Frank shoots several people and there's no visible damage to them, so it seemed safe to assume he was using rubber bullets. However, there's one instance -- using the same firearm -- where we see blood spurt after an enemy is tagged. I understand if the book doesn't want to be graphic, but this came off as inconsistent.
This two-issue prelude story to Goblin Nation is definitely amusing, action-packed and looks good, but ultimately, being released after Goblin Nation's hit us with several reveals lessens the impact and this doesn't bring any seemingly mandatory developments to the table. If you find yourself really immersed in Superior's adventures or really love these three characters, then sure, it'll likely be a fun experience for you. However, for everyone else, you may be better off spending that $3.99 on another title.