If you’re the kind of person who pays attention to Internet comics outrages, then you’ll now that this comic is this week’s (and yes, there is pretty much one a week these days). Over the last 8 issues it seemed like most fans had kind of come round to liking Superior Spider-Man, or at least accepting it. Doc Ock was in Peter’s body, but Peter’s memories were still hanging around like Obi-Wan and it was only a matter of time until things were back to normal. But they were wrong, in this issue, Ock goes inside his and Peter’s shared brain and gets rid of those memories, effectively killing off Peter Parker all over again. It’s a genius, ballsy move, and one I think is really going to pay off. If anything, this second ‘death’ of Peter hits even harder than the first one, because we were not expecting it like we were in ASM #700.
I love that Slott is not going to rest on his laurels, he’s managing to make Spider-Man unpredictable for the first time in a long time, and I love that. We thought we knew that Peter would find his way back, but now… that shred of hope is gone, where do we go from here? We don’t know, and that’s exciting. But this issue is about more than just the end result of Otto winning out, how Slott and Stegman take us there is very compelling indeed. The battle inside the brain is very well done, and Ryan Stegman does an excellent job of getting across abstract things like memories in a visual way. It was great to see a lot of dead supporting characters and villains show up as memories, and I also really dug the little nod at Stan Lee’s poor memory when Peter can’t remember if his surname is Parker or Palmer (Stan accidentally called him Palmer in a very early issue of Amazing Spidey).
I also found it interesting how Slott made sure to demonstrate both the bad things and the good things that Octavius has accomplished as Spider-Man, how his harder edge actually has some positives. This is a complex story, about more than just a villain pretending to be a hero, it’s about different approaches to heroism, and challenging the old-fashioned moral code that Spider-Man has always had. A true Spider-Man for the 21st century! I have really enjoyed this book so far, and with the gutsy change at the end of this issue, I love it even more, weep all you want Internet, Slott is telling his story, not trying to please you, and it’s working incredibly well.