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If you haven’t been keeping up with the Spidey news, Peter Parker’s coming back after being “dead” for a year and a half which ISN’T a spoiler because a) superhero comics and b) duh (and if you’re reading this in the future, this isn’t news at all – in fact, they’ve probably killed him off again and put Pastepot Pete in Spidey’s body – The Pasty Spider-Man!).

What the news underlines is something I’ve noticed about this series which is the episodic nature of Superior Spider-Man where each book deals with a certain stage in Otto’s time as Spidey before moving on to the next. It might seem overly efficient but I quite like it. This time around it’s Venom’s turn as Flash Thompson/Venom shows up in NYC and Spidey takes him down, separating the symbiote from him, and absorbing it himself, believing he can control it – which of course he can’t.

I want to say that this is an amazing book like the first three but it’s not. It’s what you’d expect from a Superior Venom book and doesn’t really surprise the reader with any flourishes. Dan Slott’s usual brilliance is somewhat dimmed in this book by Christos Gage, the hack he’s co-written the series with, and Gage brings his slapdash style to the story where you find yourself caring less about the characters and find your attention drifting at times with the story.

Which isn’t to say it’s all bad as there are still some great moments like when Peter invites Anna Maria to meet May and Jay and May kinda patronises Anna Maria for being a small person - it’s awkward in a slightly funny “she’s from an older generation” way. Parker Industries is up and running which I’m sure will be cool to see grow and develop in future stories and it’s nice to see MJ make an appearance in the story. The Superior Venom fights are ok too, and Flash has some interesting character moments, separated from the super-powered side of his personality.

But the ending? That’s the big payoff. Peter comes back in a big way, characters die, old characters change, NYC changes, and the Goblin King takes centre stage for the final part of Superior Spider-Man. It’s a great ending that really props the book up.

Humberto Ramos continues to kill it with the art. His action scenes are dynamic and crazy looking, his layouts are amazing, and I love the emotion he gives all of the characters with their facial expressions and body language. His design for the Superior Venom is awesome too.

Like the last book, I wasn’t as in love with it as much as I was the first three volumes of the series, but it’s still a really enjoyable, inventive and fun book in a great series. Sad to see it winding down, but all good things etc., eh? Superior Spider-Man continues to be a must-read comic for all Marvel zombies and Spidey aficionados out there.
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The stories running through issues #22-25 of the Superior Spider-Man are collected, along with the Superior Spider-Man Annual #1, as Superior Spider-Man Vol. 5: The Superior Venom (Superior Spiderman 5).

The breakdown of Otto Octavius continues, as Jay and Aunt May's meeting with Anna ends badly, and the Superior Spider-Man's meeting with Venom ends even worse; and don't ask about Carlie's meeting with the Goblin family. In seeking to remove the Venom symbiote (unwillingly) from Flash Thompson, Spidey gets infected; MJ calls in the Avengers to sort it out, and things get so bad that the ghost of Peter Parker has to step in to save the day. And don't ask what Jonah Jameson is up to at the Alchemax Corporation with those Spider-Slayer blueprints.

This volume sees the last straw being reached for so many characters in their relationship with the Superior Spider-Man:

Captain America: "That does it. Time to bring Spider-Man in."

This is another excellently-illustrated and scripted volume of this series; this time Otto's breakdowns are being tied more and more to his character, and not just random events. There really is no escape for him now.


Superior Spider-Man Annual #1 - "Hostage Crisis" - 30pp: This sees the return of a villain called Blackout (of whom I know nothing, but that didn't spoil the story, as sufficient information was given about him to tell you all you needed to know) who has purchased some information from an ex-member of the late Kingpin's organisation. Blackout demonstrates his unpleasant character by cheating the informant of his information and his life. The information, which originally came from Tiberius Stone, is that Peter Parker is the technical support for Spider-Man. Blackout then proceeds to kidnap Aunt May to use as a hostage to force Parker to sabotage Spider-Man's equipment and make him vulnerable to Blackout. Needless to say, he didn't realise that he was dealing with a Superior Spider-Man, and, eventually, Blackout ends up being partly dissected by Otto as a warning to anyone who may be thinking of threatening the Parker/Jameson family. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to Otto, Aunt May has witnessed his intimidation, and it does not bode well for the future...

Issue #22 opens with Betty Brant and Agent Venom (Flash Thompson, Betty's ex.) observing the Crime Master's henchmen stealing weapons from a goods-train yard. They have a history with the Crime Master, who they thought was dead, and who knew who they are, secret identities included. Venom disguises himself as a henchman and goes home with the gang... Meanwhile the Superior Peter Parker is addressing his employees on the opening day of Parker Industries, where Jay and May are being shown around by secret super-villain Dr Elias Wirtham (cough giveaway cough), and Detective Yuri Watanabe finds that Carlie Cooper is missing. Spider-Central (Spider-Island's monitoring room) reports a fight between Venom and the Crime Master down at the docks, and soon the Superior Spider-Man and his anti-Venom arsenal are deployed. Unfortunately, this Spider-Man doesn't know Flash Thompson at all well...

Issue #23 opens with the Crime master running to the police cordon screaming his confession and begging to be allowed to surrender: "It's a war zone in there! Spider-Man and Venom are out of control!"

However, Flash Thompson is in control. And he surrenders to the Superior Spider-man, much to his annoyance. Spidey demands proof that Flash can control the symbiote, and so he sets off some of the Crime Master's arsenal and runs for it... "Bring me the head of this Flash Thompson!" And while you're at it "How hard can it possibly be to find someone dressed as a goblin?"

On the civilian side of things, Anna Maria is cooking for the Parker/Jameson family, fugitive Flash is off to see an old friend for help, and Mary Jane gets a visit from Detective Yuri Watanabe, and Peter Parker (and Anna Maria) get a visit from Pete's old school-friend Flash Thompson... Meanwhile, Dr Wirtham is operating on Aunt May to fix her leg, and Jonah Jameson is at Alchemax to hire the to build yet another generation of Spider-Slayers, where Tiberius Stone (villain for hire) and Michael O'Hara (Spider-Man from 2099) are given the task. After the family lunch, Peter volunteers Flash to be a guinea pig in Parker Industry's artificial limb project, and soon he is strapped to Dr Wirtham's operating table, where Spider-Man pops in to help run a new ultra-sound device that whisks the Venom symbiote out of Flash into a containment chamber, where it will be perfectly secure... oh yes.

Issue #24 sees the Superior Venom symbiote running loose at Parker Industries, having traded Flash Thompson for the Superior Spider-Man as its host body. After fleeing the scene, the Superior Spider-Man believes he has gained control over the symbiote, and goes looking for some crime... while the Hobgoblin (the Roderick Kingsley version) is discovering that his villains-for-hire have been giving his cut of their lot to the wrong Goblin... and Menace decides that Carlie Cooper, being like a sister to her, needs a Goblin makeover to bring her in to the Goblin family. Then Peter has a showdown with Aunt May over he treatment of Anna Maria, Mary Jane comes to warn him that Detective Yuri Watanabe is on to him, and she discovers that he has the Venom symbiote when he slips away to fight crime, and then Yuri crashes the party and takes Mary Jane away. She makes her one phone call to the Avengers, to warn them hat Venom has taken possession of Spider-Man...

Issue #25 opens with Spider-Venom beating up the (other) Hobgoblin's super-criminal team, when the Avengers arrive. The Hobgoblin calls in all his super-criminals to take advantage of the distraction... Meanwhile at Green Goblin HQ, Carlie is revealed as the latest addition to the family - Monster. Back at the big fight, Captain America realises that there must be an Avenger missing in action- Flash Thompson - and sends Iron Man to look for him. He finds Flash and Doctor Wirtham in a serious condition at Parker Industries, while Monster and Menace take on the other Hobgoblin's super-crooks to test-drive Carlie's new body. Finally, as Spider-Venom seems to be beating the Avengers, Iron Man returns, but as the symbiote discovers, it isn't Tony Stark in the suit...

Finally, the Superior Spider-Man explains to the Avengers (and later to Mary Jane) that he has been behaving strangely of late due to the Symbiote...

However, Tony Stark doesn't buy it, and does some checking of his own:
Captain America: "That does it. Time to bring Spider-Man in."
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on 27 April 2014
The Superior Spiderman Volume 5 contains issues 22 - 26 and annual 1 of the ongoing series of the same name.

In this volume, Spiderman encounters Agent Venom, a US government asset in the form of Eugene `Flash' Thompson who controls the alien symbiote parasite.

In an attempt to fix the lower-limbless Flash with prosthetic limbs of his own design, the Venom symbiote separates from Flash and bonds with Spidey. Whilst this is not a new concept, it is certainly the first time that Venom has bonded with the Superior Spiderman since being occupied by the mind and intellect of Otto Octavius.

So we now have a Superior Venom loose on the streets of New York. Enter the Avengers.

Concurrently, the Green Goblin is clashing with the Hobgoblin, Detective Yuri Watanabe is on the trail of Peter Parker/Otto, Peter's family and friends are all concerned about his strange behaviour, and Mayor Jameson sanctions the Alchemax Corporation to enhance the Spider Slayer automatons.

This is one of my favourite arcs of the Superior Spiderman series. It was only a matter of time until we had a Venom story in this new Spidey era. It's well scripted by Dan Slott and Christos Gage and superbly drawn by Humberto Ramos. I gather that Ramos is not everyone's cup of tea, with his cartoony and mis-proportioned style, but I quite like it and is a nice change from the more photo-realistic styles that are out there.

After the Venom story, the final showdown with the Green Goblin, aka Goblin King, looms and it is all now set up for the grand finale. There's also a significant piece of the story that occurs about 3/4 through the book that will set the fanboys and girls off.

The Superior Spiderman has been one of my favourite titles in the revolutionised Marvel Now! era, and this story has been one of the stand-out arcs of the whole series.

I can't wait to see what's in store next.
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on 26 May 2014
Note: This review is for the American edition of Superior spiderman volume 5 which includes issue #26 which is not included in the British Panini reprint.

This story arc follows SSM's encounter with agent venom as well as the fallout in Otto's social life as his methods as Spiderman draw more ire from his Aunt May.

Ramos' art work is as good as ever and Slott keeps things entertaining as we close in on the climax of the series. The annual included here is good but not quite up to the same standard as the main issues. Issue #26 is a prelude to the final story arc Goblin nation which sees the Green goblin's rise to power come complete.

Overall if you've been following SSM and enjoying it then definately pick this up. If you've not started reading then this isn't a good place to start and you're better off picking up the first Volume and if you don't like this series then there's nothing here that will change your mind. 'Nuff said!
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on 20 May 2014
okay its book no 5 and its good exciting stuff with flash as venom and spideys beguiling true love for anna.but my favourite story here is hostage crisis.well worked, intelligent scripting and more simple but beautiful artwork.slott continues to impress but ramos art is getting over bombastic.
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on 7 August 2014
Excellent quality, arrived very promptly precisely as stated in description. Very pleased with product.
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on 1 July 2015
Great read
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