With all of that time-travel nonsense over with, and Horizon Labs shut down, it’s time for the Superior Spider-Man to move on to the future, but try as he might, Doc Ock’s past keeps catching up with him. In this issue, Dan Slott brings several elements from SpOck’s life before he became SpOck back to bite him in the ass, and it’s great to see a lot of these chickens coming home to roost.
First up is Peter Parker’s doctoral thesis presentation, which initially wows the professors, until Doctor Lamaze blasts Peter for plagiarising from Doctor Otto Octavius! I really like this move, and it shows how, for all the thinking outside of the box he’s done, Ock is still the same arrogant fool. He’s being accused of plagiarising himself in essence, and it may scupper all of his plans for Parker Industries, and that could spell bad news for a lot of people, as not only has he put all of Peter Parker’s savings into it as collateral, but Sajani Jaffrey and Jay Jameson have also invested. At this point, I’m looking at all of Otto’s decisions with one eye on ‘how fucked is Peter Parker going to be when he comes back to this?’ and this whole situation is totally going to screw Peter in so many ways.
At least Ock still has his burgeoning relationship with Anna Maria. Of course, at the same time as developing his romance with her, he’s ruining all of Peter Parker’s other female entanglements. MJ has been alienated, and seems to be moving towards a relationship with that Fireman, Carlie Cooper is pretty much onto him and is warning everyone else to stay away, and more immediately, Black Cat is now a full-time enemy. I loved how Slott went against what the cover to this issue suggested, and had Spider-Man fight Black Cat rather than flirt. It’s a clever move to have Ock not be aware that Spider-Man and Black Cat have a personal history and to just see her as a villain, and who knows, this move could be his biggest mistake.
I’ve kind of wandered away from my whole ‘Doc Ock’s past comes back to haunt him’ through-line, but the issue does feature throughout, and end with, the return of Stunner. If you don’t remember Stunner, because hey, she’s from 90s Spider-Man, and those were dark days, she was Octavius’ lab assistant, who, whilst obese, was able to create a virtual reality version of herself that was super-buff and super strong. She was in love with Doc Ock, and in this issue, she wakes up from a coma at the exact same moment as Peter Parker in Doc Ock’s body dies, and swears vengeance on the man she thinks killed her one true love… Spider-Man. So, not only is SpOck being accused of plagiarising himself, he’s also being punished for the murder of… himself. This is so cool, and it’s so good seeing Spider-Man’s back against the wall, and imagining how he’ll think his way out of these messes.
Camuncoli’s art was great throughout, and the best bit was that amazing panel of SpOck freaking out at Lamaze’s accusations and the impressionistic Superior Spidey appearing in the background, so cool. This book is, as we all know, so good, and as we near the endgame and the upcoming Goblin War, it’s great seeing Slott fully explore all of the ramifications and possible stories this concept can bring. Whoever thought that Stunner would return? Nobody, but it’s happened, and it’s