And this is the big one! Both in story and in price... Damn Marvel... Anyway, this post will deal with the main story and the insanity that should bring us to Superior Spider-Man #1. What will happen to Peter? Who will be Superior Spder-Man? Will Doc Ock get his ultimate revenge? That's what we'll be finding out today. On Saturday I'll review the back-up stories, but right now? It's Spidey time.
Amazing Spider-Man #700(Final Issue):
Summary: This issue gets underway with Peter Parker(actually Otto Octavius), getting frisky with a surprised Mary Jane. MJ seems fine with this, but is surprised that "Peter" was wearing the Spidey outfit underneath his clothes. That angers "Peter" who starts to act more Otto than Peter, which alarms MJ. Before things progress, "Peter" gets word that Doc Ock(actually the real Peter Parker, mind-switching is SO hard to write about!) had escaped from prison and realizes that he has to do something... That something? Catch a plane to Belgium, which would keep "Peter" away from "Ock" long enough for "Ock" to die... Good plan! Meanwhile, Trapster manages to get "Ock" up and running, but not before "Ock" nearly croaks. After a pep talk from(who else!) the spirit of Uncle Ben, "Ock" is ready to fight back and reclaim his body. His first step is to get that golden octo-bot that originally swapped his mind with Otto's, setting this chain of events into motion. Back at the airport, "Peter" catches a news report where Mayor Jameson tears Dr. Octopus apart, stating that he was a loser who never accomplished anything. That makes "Peter" pause and reconsider his initial plan to simply leave until "Ock" died. Next up we head to the police station, where "Ock" tells his goons(Scorpion, Hydro-Man and Trapster) to hold the cops off while he steals the octo-bot, but makes sure to warn the goons not to harm the cops. That makes Trapster leery of "Ock"... "Ock" manages to snag the gold octo-bot, but is confronted by his... um, Peter's... um, his former girlfriend, Carlie. "Ock" tries to reason with Carlie and tells her about the whole mind-switching thing and tries to explain that he was the real Peter Parker. Carlie disregards that and figures Doc Ock had figured out who Spidey was so she shoots at him(!), but ends up getting struck with her own bullet when "Ock" makes the bullet ricochet off of his metal arms. After seeing that Carlie would live, "Ock" collects his men and beats a hasty retreat. From there, "Spider-Man"(actually Doc Ock in case you were wondering...) collects all of Peter Parker's friends and relatives and stores them together... Dun dun dun!!! "Ock" and Trapster begin working on the golden octo-bot, with "Ock" planning on reversing it to return his mind to it's rightful body. Unfortunately, "Spidey" calls "Ock's" secret base and tells him that a) he had all of Peter Parker's friends and family in one place to keep them safe from him and b) that he had sent the cops to "Ock's" base, since he obviously knew where it was. Running out of time, "Ock" sends Scorpion and Hydro-Man to deal with the cops while him and Trapster put the finishing touches on the octo-bot. Before letting Hydro-Man and Scorpion go though, "Ock" once again warns them not to harm any of the police officers something Trapster notes. While working on the octo-bot, Trapster manages to figure out that it was a mind-swapping device(which fits SO well, because Trapster IS quite intelligent, something people tend to overlook), and figures that "Ock" was planning on swapping his dying mind with Trapster's body... Close, but not quite. With the octo-bot complete, "Ock" glues Trapster to the wall with his own gun and tells Scorpion and Hydro-Man that they were leaving. The trio head to Avengers Tower, with "Ock" figuring if Trapster could figure out what the golden octo-bot really was, the geniuses on the Avengers(Iron Man, Hank Pym, Beast, etc) would surely know what it was and realize that Doc Ock had stolen Spidey's body. However, "Spidey" is ahead of "Ock" again, as he's made sure he'd be the only one at Avengers Tower, having sent the Avengers after several octo-robots. "Spidey" reveals to "Ock" that all of Peter Parker's loved ones were at the Tower before setting off the Tower's defense systems. "Spidey" makes sure to announce that Mayor Jameson was there, stating exactly where he was, which leads to Hydro-Man and Scorpion rushing off to attack him, with "Spidey" telling "Ock" he'd make sure to save Peter's family and friends... The Horizon Lab guys manage to take care of Hydro-Man, but have no answer for the enraged Scorpion. Realizing that Scorpion wanted to kill him, Jameson tells the rest of the people in the room to run while Scorpion took him out. Wanting to prolong Jameson's torment, Scorpion decides to go after Jameson's father and Aunt May first, which leads to "Spidey" attacking the villain, warning him away from her, much to his own surprise. Scorpion takes a swipe at "Spidey", which only serves to piss him off, leading to Spidey punching Scorpion so hard that he literally knocks Scorpion's jaw clean off his head(!), much to Jameson's delight... HA!! "Ock" is appalled to see his body used in such a brutal manner, and grabs "Spidey" with his metal arms. "Spidey" responds by shooting impact webbing at Glory Grant, Max Modell and Mary Jane. Realizing that there was no other way to stop Doc Ock from wreaking terrible havoc with his body, "Ock" flings himself and "Spidey" out the window of the Tower, leading to the two of them free-falling to the pavement below. "Spidey" manages to create a web-cushion underneath the two, saving them both. However, "Ock" sends the golden octo-bot free to put his mind back where it belonged. "Spidey" had planned for that eventuality and had coated his mask with Carbonadium plating! Huh. Game, set and match. I'd say... "Spidey" knocks "Ock" to the ground and prepares to drop a car on him, ending "Ock"s" threat to him once and for all. Before he can strike the killing blow though, the golden octo-bot begins to beam Peter Parker's memories to both "Spidey" and "Ock's" heads, forcing "Spidey" to live through every moment of Peter Parker's life. Every success, every failure, everything. Otto is surprised to see that even after everything he had done, Peter would still save his life because that's who he is, a hero. And having lived through it all(kind of), Otto doesn't feel he can bear the weight of being such a hero. A dying Peter tells him that he can, because with great power comes great responsibility, which resonates with Otto. Otto promises Peter that he would look after all of his friends and would strive to be a worthy Spider-Man. Upon hearing that, Doc Ock's body gives out and Peter Parker dies... This issue ends with Otto Octavius declaring that he would use his genius and ambition to be a greater Spider-Man than Peter ever was, a Superior Spider-Man.
Thoughts: Wow, that was a swerve I didn't see coming! I figured somebody was going to die here, and all of my instincts were telling me that somebody was going to be Jameson. Well, and Doc Ock, but that goes without saying. But yeah, I figured Jameson would be the guy to kick the bucket, NOT Peter Parker!! So what did I think? I thought this was a fantastic swerve and a strong comic book. I'm sure Marvel fanboys the world over are slamming their heads into walls and ranting and raving, but honestly, does ANYBODY REALLY think this is the end of Peter Parker? Come on. The only real question here is, how long before Peter ends up coming back? If anything, this is kind of like when Bruce Wayne broke his back and Jean Paul Valley took over as Batman. I can only imagine how incensed the DC fanboys were back in the day, but we eventually got Bruce Wayne back. Much like the Batman example, I figure Superior Spider-Man will end up being too brutal and will cross a line or two(as did Jean Paul), which will eventually lead to the Amazing Spider-Man returning to throw the pretender from his throne(as Bruce did). The only real question is this; how does Peter come back? There are a few ways if you really think about it... My way sees Jackal realizing that Superior Spider-Man wasn't HIS Spider-Man, leading to him cloning a new body for Peter and shoving his memories into his skull via the golden octo-bot. But there are tons of other ways Peter could return... His brainwaves end up overriding Otto's and he gets his body back, his mind went to a cloned Otto Octavius body as per some forgotten plan Otto had in place, hell, there are dozens of ways a talented writer like Dan Slott can write himself out of this corner. And anyway, I've seen comic characters come back from way worse than this! So basically what I'm saying is take a breath, calm down and enjoy the story. It was good! Peter actually lost here! Dr. Octopus got the huge victory! That's something we haven't seen in what, like 50 years of Spider-Man comic books? There was so much good here, Jameson's reaction to Otto destroying Scorpion, Otto seemingly reforming, Peter finally getting to rest, and other things I'm not even mentioning. Hell, I'm super curious to see where things go from here. What kind of a Spider-Man will Otto Octavius make? Basically, don't think of this comic as the end of Peter Parker. It's not. It's simply the beginning of something new.
Score: 9 out of 10.
Game over, Peter...