By now, pretty much every comics fan has learned of the twist revealed at the end of last issue, as we finally witness Doctor Octopus’ plan unfold. While writer Dan Slott’s idea of pulling the ol’ switcheroo with the minds of Peter Parker and Otto Octavius is nothing new, with Peter in Ock’s dying husk of a body and Ock in Peter’s, it is no less of a shock that left many fans outraged that Peter’s consciousness seemed to die as Octavius’ old body faded out. As anyone who has read comics for more than a couple of years will tell you, though, one should not be so hasty in jumping to conclusions when reading these stories.
This issue, basically, serves as an explanation as to how Octavius actually pulled off this trick, while it is revealed that his old body is still alive – although barely – along with Peter’s mind. For now, we can breathe a sigh of relief. I debated on adding a spoiler tag to this review, but does anyone actually think Peter Parker will be gone for good? If you do, you haven’t been reading comics for very long. Anyway, while it seems that Ock had prepared for every contingency, it looks as if Peter has a trick or two up his sleeve and may yet find a way to reverse Ock’s mind switch. It seems that Spidey’s longtime enemy probably expected his body to die very soon, before Peter could figure out that he could retrace Ottos’ memories and, hence, discover how he switched minds with him. This is actually shown in a few humorous panels, as Peter has a fleeting memory of the time his Aunt May and Otto had their brief fling a while back, which almost ended up with the two of them marrying. It’s pretty funny, if not a little disgusting. Peter also learns that his prison mate, The Lizard, has actually retained his alter ego’s persona of Dr. Curt Conners, who may play a key role in helping him turn things back to normal, along with many of Spidey’s old enemies he’s manipulating as Doc Ock.
Slott does a great job in putting all the pieces together for the reader, as well as projecting the personality of Peter, even though he is stuck in a dying form not his own. This issue also marks the welcome return of penciller Humberto Ramos, who has become one of the premier modern-day Spidey artists, right up there with both of the John Romitas and Ron Frenz. One thing I really loved about this issue was that it gave a little more insight into the type of hero that Peter is, as he’s concerned about the welfare of the prison guards around him, even has the body he’s in is giving out. That’s the Peter I know and love.
While there are actually two more issues left of Amazing Spider-Man (#699.1 and #700), things are looking to be quickly heading towards an epic conclusion, as a new era of Spider-Man begins with Superior Spider-Man. It’s still up in the air who is actually in the costume by then, but I’m willing to bet it’s going to be something that many people will not see coming, knowing Dan’s writing the way I do. I, for one, cannot wait to see how this turns out! 10/10