SPOILER ALERT: The following article contains massive spoilers about the plot of "Superior Spider-Man" #30, on sale now.
This week's "Superior Spider-Man" #30 by Dan Slott, Christos Gage and Giuseppe Camuncoli will likely go down as one of the most significant of the entire series' run: after a lengthy journey walking in the shoes of Otto Octavius in his own mind, Peter Parker regained his identity and emerged as the one true Superior Spider-Man following a profound and momentous sacrifice from Doctor Octopus. Indeed, the issue was chock-full of big moments leading up to the series' finale in two weeks that helped demonstrate writer Dan Slott's master plan since Otto assumed the Spider-mantle in "Amazing Spider-Man" #700.
CBR News spoke with series editor Nick Lowe about the circumstances of the issue, maintaining the level of surprise at the reveal for comics fans and newer readers alike, as well as what to expect from Slott's big series conclusion in two weeks.
CBR News: Nick, this week's issue was pretty significant to the overall story -- and it was one of your first issues since taking over as editor on the series. First off, what was it like coming in and editing this particular moment?
Nick Lowe: Well, I came into the Spidey office when they were knee-deep in "Goblin Nation," so there was very little in terms of story editing needed. They were well under way -- Steve [Wacker] and Ellie [Pyle], they did such a great job working with Dan [Slott]. Coming into this crazy, amazing story has been fantastic. This issue is one of the best issues I've ever worked on. It's absolutely incredible; the last few beats of it are so dense with emotion and energy and huge character moments that -- this is one of the best comics I've ever worked on and I've been here for almost 12 years and worked on a lot of great books. It was an absolute pleasure, and it shows you why Dan Slott is so good and why Giuseppe Camuncoli is so good.
In terms of pacing, what made this issue -- the penultimate of the series -- the right time to bring Peter back?
At the end of the day, "Superior" has been Doc Ock's story, but even more so, this is still Peter's story. It illustrates and goes to show why Peter Parker is Spider-Man and the true Spider-Man. First and foremost, [the moment] illustrates why Dan is such an exciting, innovative writer -- placing this here, orchestrating it in such a way that not only gives a heroic moment [to Doc Ock] that in some ways is admitting defeat, but in some ways that's knowing what you need to get the job done. What he needed to do was give the reins back to Peter. Coming and reading the plot for this -- this is one of the first issues I read the plot for before any art was done -- I pretty much jumped out of my chair when I read the end of this issue. It was both exciting and heartbreaking what Doc was going through. This is a very special moment in comics, and I hope people realize what a special book "Superior Spider-Man" is. It's unlike anything else in the market right now.
Fans following the news sites know that Peter was coming back, but the circumstances of his return were shrouded in mystery. That said, it was still a surprise to see what happened in "Superior Spider-Man" #30. What was the importance of giving even the most ardent comic fans a little surprise in this issue? I know many probably expected him to come back in the final issue of the series.
Well, it all starts with Dan and Steve and Ellie. We knew -- speaking as the collective editorial group working on this -- that announcing Peter Parker was something we were going to do. We knew that was core to giving "Amazing Spider-Man" #1 the fanfare that it deserved and merited. We knew that would be a big piece of it, and that was something that Dan knew before he wrote the plot for this issue, that was something that they'd known for months and months at this point. I think [the surprise] was partially what he had in mind, but to be honest, this was all Dan and Steve and Ellie's plan from -- I don't know from day one -- but this is where they were heading with the story. It's so clever and it's so surprising.
One of the things we were trying to watch out for as carefully as we could was -- these issues come out every two weeks. We sent #31 to the printer on Monday of this week, and we were already starting to send out press for it. Pages were on the 'net earlier this week before #30 came out, and that was something we had to be super careful about. As you'll see in #31 in two weeks, Peter Parker Spider-Man is all over the issue! [Laughs] Even just as simple as making sure the pages we showed off didn't have Peter Parker Spider-Man in his classic suit was a huge thing to watch out for. It took a lot of really careful planning, but also innovation and clever storytelling that just is -- to me -- Dan Slott in a nutshell. He's so underestimated by everyone except the myriad of fans reading "Superior Spider-Man" and "Amazing Spider-Man" before it. He just totally nailed this.
Of course, I need to mention Christos Gage there, too, because he did the scripting for this issue and did a fantastic job. He and Dan went back and forth on that quite a bit. They work together so well.
It's because of Dan that this issue is as good as it is.
This issue does a great job of settling some of the mysteries and plots running throughout the series, but also setting up quite a few things. How much of the story is set-up for what happens in the final issue and how much is more about teeing things up for "Amazing?"
What happens in this issue is mainly to set up the series finale in "Superior Spider-Man" #31. If you thought that #30 was exciting, I can't wait until you read #31. It is jam-packed with story, with incredible moments. There are people who can't wait to have Peter back. Those people are going to be thrilled. But then, we've gotten so many letters from people who don't want "Superior Spider-Man" to go away. They've really embraced the book, and kind of love Ock as Spidey. Even if you didn't think you were hungry for Peter Parker to be back there, you're going to realize it as he moves through the story. It's terrific stuff and Dan just proves again why he's born to write Spider-Man.
Most of [the set-up from #30] is to set up the finale. There's stuff that happens in the next issue that sets up stuff in "Amazing," but for the most part, it's to blow "Superior" out. It's to give it the biggest crescendo and having just read #31, it completely nails it. "Superior Spider-Man" #30 is incredible. #31 is even better.
Doc Ock has had a big year in Peter's body -- what does this mean for some of the supporting cast that Dan and other talented creators have developed over the last year?
That is going to be the most fun part going into "Amazing Spider-Man." Peter, going out of this and being faced with a completely different status quo than he's ever had to deal with before. "Peter Parker" has a girlfriend who he's pretty serious with. He's got a company that he owns, or co-owns, he's got employees, he's got all this stuff and that's a huge part of what Peter has to deal with.
That is, assuming that the Green Goblin doesn't kill him next issue. All this publication of "Amazing Spider-Man" might just be a Rube Goldberg-ian smokescreen to disguise that Spider-Man's dead and we're not going to have a Spider-Man book anymore.
Well, Peter's also had a pretty long history with clones.
[Laughs] Exactly! That's always looming over it.
Anything you can tease about what fans should get pumped for as the final issue approaches?
It's not very often that creators get to have a final issue of a series on their own terms, that's something they've been building toward since the very beginning. "Superior," when it started, they didn't know how many issues it was headed for, and it was the kind of thing that exploded in success and popularity, so they expanded the story. The amount of amazing stories that Dan threw in there, working with Steve and Ellie, is a testament to that skill. But usually when a series ends, it's cancelled -- so you have to quickly wrap up and find an ending -- or you're stopping a volume and starting a new one. It's rare that you're seeing through the story you started, especially in superhero comics. This is that to a T. This is the Dan Slott Symphony that is coming to its grand finale. Getting to be on this side of things to see the frantic conducting has just been really fascinating as an editor, and I feel very lucky.
"Superior Spider-Man" #30 is on sale now.