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Amazing Spider-Man #700 Review — December 26, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man #700 Review

WARNING! THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!

If you want to avoid Amazing Spider-Man #700 spoilers, then don’t read any further.

Alright, you’ve been warned.

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Peter Parker is, apparently, dead. Yes, you read that right. Peter Parker, as we know him, is no more. Due to a mind transference that took place in issue #698, Octavius’ mind is in Peter Parker’s body. Otto Octavius is, essentially, the new Spider-Man in Superior Spider-Man! Got that? Okay.

Now that we have that out of the way, how was the main story? It’s typically well-written by writer Dan Slott and is sure to leave many fans furious and will have everybody talking… but what makes this issue so fascinating is the kind of man Octavius turns out to be by the end of the issue. Instead of the typical megalomaniac we’re used to, it seems that Peter’s memories have had an effect on Otto, even if in very subtle ways. By the time Doc Ock’s old body fails Peter in the end, he resolves to leave Otto with some familiar words of wisdom. These words do not completely fall on deaf ears, it seems. It is this characterization that has always won me over as a fan of Slott’s writing. Even as he’s dying in Ock’s old body, we still get a sense of the hero Peter is and the inspiration he is on others, right up until the end. Each supporting character has their chance to shine, as well. Particularly noticeable is the change of heart a certain Mayor J. Jonah Jameson has about Spider-Man, after witnessing his, er, new personality… which also says a lot about JJJ’s character. Also of note is Otto’s rekindling of Peter’s romance with Mary Jane. Despite Otto’s misogynistic personality, it’s clear that MJ has never stopped loving Peter, which she all but admits to. It’s this kind of drama and change of the status quo that should make Superior Spider-Man a compelling title, as well as seeing how he interacts with the rest of Peter’s friends and enemies. But is that all? Surely this isn’t permanent, you may tell yourself. Listen… I’ve been reading comics for 30 odd years or so. I’m here to reassure you, True Believers, the Peter Parker we know WILL return. Slott even leaves an opening for it, if you pay attention. This change of status quo is only temporary, mark my words. For now, just relax and enjoy the twist in the road until then.

Humberto Ramos’ art has never been better than it is here. His subtle change of expression, particularly during “Peter’s” talk with MJ, clues the reader in on there being someone else inside Peter’s mind. Well done, Mr. Ramos. The art in this book is, well, amazing. Congratulations and well done to all artists involved.

The backup stories were not much more than filler for me. The cutesy story with Black Cat seemed a bit pointless and out-of-place and also left me scratching my head. The other one was well-written and may or may not contain clues as to the real Spider-Man’s future, but it was ultimately as pointless, as it really didn’t contribute much. Certainly not enough to justify the cost of this issue. Over all, however, these minor missteps didn’t really ruin my enjoyment of the “final” issue of The Amazing Spider-Man. In fact, I’m very excited to see what Dan Slott and Ryan Stegman have in store for us in Superior Spider-Man. Excelsior! 9/10

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Amazing Spider-Man #699.1 Review — December 15, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man #699.1 Review

ASM699p1-caselli-morbius

This .1 issue puts a spotlight on the character of Morbius the Living Vampire, as we see what happens with him after the Doctor Octopus debacle from last issue. This is another obvious attempt to kick off a new solo series, so it very much reads like a #0 issue in that way. Here, we get a glimpse of how writer Joe Keatinge’s upcoming ongoing series will be, as Keatinge and co-writer Dan Slott recap Michael Morbius’ origins for new readers.

By now, these .1 issues have become the norm for Marvel, serving as jumping on points for various characters and storylines. This story spins directly from the prison break sequence in issue #699. As Morbius escapes from his cell, his memories flash back to his days growing up in Greece and the unusual circumstances leading up to the experiment which turned him into the bloodsucking creature he is today. Keatinge and Slott deliver a pretty straightforward history for Morbius and expertly weaves his past with his life in the present. While all of this is probably old hat for longtime Marvelites, there are a few retcons that were a nice touch, such as how Morbius’ parents helped to mold him and adding his childhood friend, Emil, into the picture.

Artist Valentine De Landro, who is probably most known for his work on X-Factor, adapts a noticeably different style here. While his noirish renderings are still intact, they take on a more retro, Silver Age appearance, which is perfect for the setting. Artist Marco Checchetto also provides the opening pages, which were dark and foreboding, meshing well with De Landro’s style.

All in all, this issue doesn’t really serve the current “Dying Wish” storyline in Amazing Spider-Man, but it is a good start point for readers looking forward to the new Morbius series and should satisfy fans of the character, even if they don’t plan on picking up his new book. We all win. 8/10

Marvel Comics Preview: Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #18 — December 14, 2012
Amazing Spider-Man #699 Review — December 6, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man #699 Review

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

Marvel Comics Preview: Amazing Spider-Man #699 — December 1, 2012
Marvel Comics Preview: Avenging Spider-Man #15 —
Amazing Spider-Man #698 Review — November 22, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man #698 Review


This issue is the prelude to the “Dying Wish” story arc, which has been greatly anticipated by Spidey fans for, what seems like, forever. At least, in my case. 90% of this issue is, basically, a “day in the life” of Spider-Man. In fact, it’s one of his best days ever. He has a dream job at Horizon Labs, he’s a card-carrying member of New York’s premier superhero team, The Avengers, and he’s beginning to feel serious about Mary Jane Watson again. Things couldn’t be better and the ol’ Parker luck is finally taking a positive turn. What could possibly happen to ruin it all, you ask? Two words: Doctor. Octopus. A dying Doc Ock, to be precise. When Spider-Man bears witness to Ock’s final moments, something quite unexpected and shocking happens. Something so unexpected and shocking that plenty of fans will surely be in an absolute seizure-inducing foaming fury of rage. Which is exactly what I’d imagine writer Dan Slott is going for here. With this title ending with issue #700 and a new era for Spidey beginning with Superior Spider-Man #1 as part of the Marvel NOW! initiative, it seems Slott means business, with a gut-punch of an ending to prove it. However, anyone who has been reading comics for a long period of time should think twice before calling their mother in tears and begin making death threats towards poor Mr. Slott.

This issue starts with Peter Parker going on about his day, ruminating on how much his life has changed since his painfully awkward high school days, when he was a nerdy loner. We are shown the events leading up to his life today, as his superhero adventures begin after being bitten by that radioactive spider and his teenage genius brain concocting his trademark web fluid in his home. Jump to his present-day career at Horizon Labs, where he works on innovative inventions to benefit mankind, as well as his crimefighting lifestyle. Not to mention his already busy schedule fitting in time to be a member of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.” Slott does a great job depicting this part of the book. As retrospective issues go, this is a nice one. That is, until all hell breaks loose after meeting with Doc Ock on his deathbed. I refuse to spoil what happens, but I guarantee you that you just might not have seen it coming. I didn’t. In hindsight, I probably should have, though. All I will say is… brace yourself. This has all been building up since #600, with Slott setting Doc Ock up to be one of Spidey’s most dangerous and persistent enemies. This is obviously something Ock has been devising for quite some time… and it’s all finally coming together for him. Very unfortunate for Peter.

The art on this book was a welcome change of pace. While I absolutely love the works of Humberto Ramos, Stefano Caselli, and Giuseppe Camuncoli, Richard Elson seemed more fitting for this job, drawing the characters in a more traditional way for this one last story arc. His art is very clean and simple, very befitting of what this story needs. Colorist Antonio Fabela also really does some really nice work here, using two different styles to depict two separate eras in Peter Parker’s life. So what did I think of this issue? I honestly don’t know, at this point. It’s well-written and well-rendered, to be sure. No doubt about that. However, it’s too soon to really tell where Slott is going with this. These turn of events could very well be a red herring to throw fans off of the REAL surprise of Superior Spider-Man. I certainly wouldn’t put it past Slott, as he’s been known to throw a curve ball or two throughout his run on this book. As always, I have faith in the guy. He hasn’t let me down yet. For now, I have sort of a “wait and see” attitude. All I know is that I haven’t been this far to the edge of my seat in a good long while. Well played, Dan. Well played. 9.5/10