Contains spoilers from Amazing Spider-Man #700.
Now that the finale of The Amazing Spider-Man has hit the stands and every fan has had the chance to absorb what has transpired, we now enter a new phase for everybody’s favorite (Not-So-)Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man… The Superior Spider-Man! Thanks to his keen intellect and months of careful planning, Otto Octavius now inhabits the body of Peter Parker, essentially stealing his life right out from under him. Meanwhile, Peter appears to have perished in Doc Ock’s old body, now withered and buried in the earth, forever… but not without leaving behind his memories in his old body for Octavius to ponder.
A while back, writer Dan Slott described this new series as “dark and weird.” While it, admittedly, doesn’t seem to be any darker than his writing on The Amazing Spider-Man, it definitely lives up to the “weird” aspect of the description. While this unexpected new status quo has been met with an abundance of controversy and vitriol from many rabid fans, I’m happy to say that what Dan Slott has done works exceedingly well, despite what’s happened to poor Peter. What really makes this work is the gimmick of Octavius trying to live up to his new role, with all of Peter’s memories influencing him to become a better man than he was… and a better Spider-Man than Peter Parker was, in Octavius’ mind. Instead of destroying Peter’s life, as one might expect him to, Octavius is instead reaping the rewards of Spider-Man’s unique life, while “improving” Spider-Man’s use of his technology and his methods of getting things done. Essentially, this concept of villain-turned-hero validates the old notion of “what if” a super-intellectual villain used his mind for good. This is what Otto is doing… and it’s paying off quite well.
This story deals with Otto fighting and, ultimately, defeating the new Sinister Six. There are two reasons he’s so adamant about taking them down. 1) Because it’s the kind of thing Spider-Man does and 2) he takes personal offense to a team he created now composed of six grade Z Spidey villains. He quickly disposes of them all in front of the media, simultaneously humiliating them and showing the world that he’s a winner, for once. A very Doc Ock thing to do. In fact, this new Peter is so drastically different from the old one that I can’t help but wonder why no one has taken notice. Especially Mary Jane, who knows the real Peter better than anyone. During their date, Otto is so preoccupied with his new role that he barely pays attention to MJ at all, only to make leering comments and expressions that really crawled under my skin. The real genius of what Dan Slott has done, however, is showing that, no matter what, it’s the fact that it’s still Peter getting the glory for all of his wonderful achievements. In a way, Peter has won in the end after all… and it’s killing Octavius to know that. There is also a surprise twist at the end that should calm down those rabid fans calling for Dan Slott’s head. While it’s anyone’s guess where Slott is going with this, it certainly left a big smile on my face after reading the last panel of this issue. I won’t spoil it, as I’ve probably already spoiled too much just giving away the identity of the new Spider-Man to begin with. All I’ll say is that it left me greatly anticipating the next issue. Dan Slott knows how to work an audience, that’s for sure.
As for the art, Ryan Stegman does a stellar job, with interesting character designs and clean pencilling. Spidey’s new outfit is really neat and his rendering of Otto as Peter is amusing. Two words: Doctor. Horrible. As I mentioned, the only thing I had a problem with was MJ not catching on that it’s someone else in Peter’s body. If anyone should know, it’s her. Other than that, I can’t find anything to complain about. As expected, I’m in… hook, line, and sinker. Well done, to all involved! 9.5/10