The Superior Spider-Man #24 "Darkest Hours," Part 3 Review | Fanboys Anonymous

The Superior Spider-Man #24 "Darkest Hours," Part 3 Review

Posted by Orion Petitclerc Thursday, December 19, 2013
Wow, what an issue! Let's get right to it, shall we? The Superior Spider-Man #24 continues SpOck's (Spider-Ock, the amalgam of Doctor Octopus' mind in Peter Parker's body) self-destructive descent as all of his good work crumbles around him.

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If you haven't read issue #23 by now, then you should probably stop reading at this point. Like, right about SPIDER-MAN IS THE SUPERIOR VENOM! Whoops, got ahead of myself there; but yeah, the end of issue #23 made the big reveal as the Venom symbiote, after being forcefully separated from Flash Thompson, bonded with SpOck to become the Superior Venom. Issue #24 picks up from where we left off, and just as we suspect SpOck would maintain his negative attitude towards symbiotes, Dan Slott and Christos Gage throw us the obvious curve ball: SpOck likey the symbiote's power.

Read Agent Venom's adventures in Venom (Volume 2) by Rick Remender and Cullen Bunn
Flash does his darnedest to convince the symbiote to come back to him when it recognizes something different about its original host. SpOck one-ups Flash's history of suppressing the symbiote, though, and manages to bend the suit to his superior intellect. Talk about having the old news slap the new… erm, news in the face. The only other times Flash had ever been so easily outclassed by a veteran host was when he faced Eddie Brock as Anti-Venom and Toxin. (Okay, maybe the first time doesn't really count, considering the circumstances; but Eddie did manage to win back the Venom symbiote, if only briefly.) I like that Slott and Gage uphold the idea of Flash's relative greenness when it comes to controlling the symbiote. Just when he think he's figured the symbiote out, BAM! Blind-sided and humbled once more.

After the Superior Venom makes his getaway from Parker Industries all hopped up on symbiote machismo, he decides to make quick use of his new power by finding the nearest deserving jaw to punch. Meanwhile, we cut to a robbery in progress by some D-Lister called the Bruin. A classically-dressed Hobgoblin descends to pick up his agreed share of the loot, and so this turns out to be another part of the Goblin Nation side story. Yay. (Sorry, but you know me: I'm a Venom guy.) We cut back to Parker Industries just as quickly, where Slott and Gage reveal a pretty darn big and important secret about Flash's bond to the symbiote while Sajani, a Parker Industries lead scientist, patches him up. Let's just say the secret is a huge game-changer, and pretty much hints at why Agent Venom is seen surviving the end of "Darkest Hours" and joining the Guardians of the Galaxy next year.

Read Venom: Lethal Protector now on Comixology and the Marvel Comics App
Own Spider-Man 3 on Bluray in the Spider-Man Trilogy combo pack, available online at Amazon and DVD retailers
"Stop. I feel a dance number coming."
What comes after that earth-shattering secret is a series of nostalgic Eddie-Venom references and homages—enough to fill this Venomaniac with giddy convulsions of geekgasms. (Try burning that image out of your brain. You won't succeed.) SpOck rushes home on the drop of a dime when Anna Maria is crying and hating herself for being a little person and potentially ruining Peter's relationship with his Aunt May. Aw, how cute. Did I forget to mention somewhere that I love the SpOck/Anna Maria pairing? Also, if you've ever watched the train wreck that is Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3, you might vaguely recognize SpOck's street attire when he's with Anna Maria. Turns out that was intentional:
Read about Venom and Mary Jane's first meeting in Amazing Spider-Man #299 and #300
This must be MJ's 'Nam Flashback.
Eh, it's not that bad. At least SpOck didn't break out into dance or brood all angst-like. Slott and Gage did, however, show us how SpOck's attitude really changes from bad to worse with the symbiote bonded to him. Once more, we jump to the Goblin Nation plot as the Green Goblin continues to screw with SpOck's order of things. The Green Goblin raises the stakes as he takes interrogating Carlie Cooper into his own hands after Menace (Carlie's sister) fails to extract any information from her about SpOck. Paying close attention to Menace's characterization in this book, I have a feeling the Goblin Nation is going to suffer some in-fighting in the near future. Whether it will be in SpOck's favor or not remains to be seen.

We then turn to Mary Jane's end of the story, which ends up colliding head-long with Aunt May and her husband, Jay Jameson. Peter drops by for an unexpected visit that rapidly declines into a heated argument with his parental figures and another Eddie-Venom homage when MJ storms into the scene to finally confront Peter about his uncharacteristic behavior. SpOck reveals his newest look to MJ, which sends her reeling (appropriately), before he swings off to apprehend another crime in progress. Yuri Watanabe's story also crashes into MJ's at this point, and, realizing the gravity of the situation, MJ makes a very urgent phone call concerning Peter's possession of the symbiote. To whom the call was made is revealed in the final page, but why spoil the surprise for you? Let's just say SpOck had some unfinished business that is about to finish itself whether he wants it to or not.

Ah, what an issue! Thanks to SpOck being the Superior Venom, Slott and Gage delivered just that much more Venom goodness in this issue, especially with all of the juicy Eddie-Venom moments. The overall building tension of The Superior Spider-Man continues to rise ever higher, setting SpOck up for a big fall. And that fall may come sooner than you think, considering his behavior as the Superior Venom and the trouble that's about to come crashing down on him for it. Humberto Ramos continues to knock it out of the park with his stylistic artwork, too. SpOck's emotions are really accented by Ramos' unique take on the symbiote. There was one element, however, that really rang my bells and is possibly foreshadowing something in SpOck's future: MJ's clothes.

Will Gwen Stacy die in the Amazing Spider-Man 2? The clothes may tell the tale
C'mon, I can't be the only one who noticed this! Even the colors
are similar!
What could this mean? Was this design choice purely coincidental, or are Ramos, Slott, and Gage up to something? Perhaps SpOck won't be the only one taking a big fall. Metaphorically speaking, of course. Whatever may be the case, this issue really makes me excited for the final part of "Darkest Hours" in the next book—a double-sized issue, to boot! For everything the creative team did right in this issue, I give it 5 shiny stars out of 5.

Were you just as pleased with this issue as I was? Are you ready for the grand finale? How do you think it will end? Give us your comments below and see you in the new year for the end of my review series!

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