Okay, before I take a long nap to deal with the flu, let’s get through this review of Superior Spider-Man #23, a.k.a “The Net Closes In.”
The story picks up where it left off, with the fake Crime Master running away like a little girl and Otto about deep fry Flash. But Flash surrenders and Otto can’t just execute prisoners, not after that whole fiasco in issue #5. So while the man has surrendered and is arguing that, Otto tells him to show a sign he’s in control of the symbiote, planning on executing him as soon as he did. Honestly, Otto is freaking murder-happy in this issue.
But Flash refuses to go out like that and manages to rouse the symbiote into action to save themselves, leaving Otto to interrogate the police until Anna Maria calls. Turns out that because of his men calling him about Venom, he left in the middle of some private time with her. In that case, the murder-happiness can be explained for once and you can’t blame him.*Wink**Wink*
Back with Carlie in the Goblin Underground, the Goblin Kingpin has finished the journal and noted that, while it is Otto inside Spider-Man’s head, he doesn’t know who it is behind the mask. It troubles him since he feels like he should know this, which he should if he was the original Green Goblin. Carlie’s sister tells him that she’ll get the answer from her while he goes to run errands in town.
Otto takes Anna to his place the next day to prepare for their brunch with her parents while Flash, in the meantime, is having a better relationship with the symbiote than he did in his own series and leaves his disguise behind so that they can lay low. Right until he hears abut MJ’s place and figures out that he can see Peter Parker for help. Yeah, that can’t end well.
MJ is at her club, the Grand Opening after the fire, and Chief Watanabe shows up to inform her that Carlie went missing. The last message Carlie left to her was to stay away from Peter Parker, which gives Chief Watanabe a subject of interest, even though MJ didn’t tell her that he’s Spider-Man. So, unaware he has a bull’s-eye on his back as both identities, Otto’s luck once again takes an interesting turn when Flash turns up for brunch just as Aunt May’s surgery has finished and she’s pain-free again.
With Mayor JJ, he’s reached his breaking point when it comes to Spider-Man and goes to Alchemax to have them develop new Spider-Slayer suits for the city. No guesses who he’s going to have them turned on, but you can tell he’s desperate since the original Spider-Slayer murdered his wife and was put down a little while ago and now he has to turn to his research for help. They put Tiberus Stone on it, along with his assistant, Miguel O’Hara, a.k.a Spider-Man 2099.
At the brunch, things take a surprisingly dark turn as Aunt May is somewhat upset that Peter didn’t mention that Anna Maria was a “Little Person”, and she let’s it be known that she’s concerned that any children they had would share this trait. Flash thinks it’s time for him to leave, which I can’t blame him for, but Otto manages to coax him into agreeing to have full artificial limbs implanted since, as a veteran, it could be revolutionary for those who have lost so much in war.
One hour later he’s set up and Peter goes to have a consultant brought in, namely the Superior Spider-Man. He outfitted the machine with sonic device that separated the symbiote from Flash. I know you’re thinking that’s a good thing, not being attached to an alien that occasionally drives you into a murderous rampage. Now, here’s the reason why that’s a bad thing.
While the symbiote has a decent working relationship with Flash now, it acts like a jilted lover in the face of Brock and Spider-Man. So separating the pair of them and leaving it isolated and alone will cause it to react…poorly. Thus it tears down the container and latches onto Otto, forming the Superior Venom.
Now, I hadn’t expected Aunt May to react like she did but given her age it seems plausible that she would be concerned. This issue is mostly a tie-in to the last portion of the Darkest Hour arc, which is living up to its name as we see all the many ways things are closing in on Otto. It was relevant, had decent characterization, and I can’t wait for the next issue.
Superior Spider-Man #23 gets a 4 out of 5.