Note: in an effort to get to #700 ASAP, I'm going to keep the over descriptions short.
|Amazing Spider-Man #697|
Peter and Max are on the run from the Hobgoblins, who are having trouble deciding if they should give chase or fight each other. Peter leads Max to a Goblin bunker, which causes him to call Harry to figure out how to defuse the booby traps. Harry looks suspiciously like Walter White from Breaking Bad.
Petey uses his knowledge as Spidey's "sidekick" to fool Max while he builds some tech (including a Spider-Glider) to get them out of harms way. Fighting ensues until the Goblins use Norah Winters as bait -- even Phil, her boyfriend, is ready to sacrifice her to further his goals. Max gets the save, Spidey escapes, and Old Gobby takes out New Gobby in a surprise attack, taking the younger Goblin and giving him a business offer.
An interesting, but seemingly unrelated event, occurs when Norman Osborn, the Green Goblin, isn't in his hospital bed... Not that his comes to play in ASM at all...
I like the characters, and the Peter-fooling-someone-that-he's-not-Spidey was done well enough too. A solid 8/10.
|Amazing Spider-Man #698|
This issue starts with the near-death Doctor Octopus waking up and calling for Peter Parker. Meanwhile, Spidey is swinging around town, having a good ol' day. He beats on a fake supervillain, reflecting on his relationship with MJ, has a confidant review with Max Modell, reflects on his wasted scientific career, hits on MJ (and random girls at her club), and then gets an Avengers priority call to attend Doc Ock in his last moments.
Once alone, Peter confronts his long time enemy, who announces that HE is Peter Parker... and he's right. He doesn't say how, but Doctor Octopus has switched bodies with Peter Parker, and Peter is stuck in a dying body...
I don't remember if I ever wrote it down in my fear for the ASM finale... but this was it. Despite going in a direction I don't like, the issue looked crisp and was interesting -- more so in that re-reading it shows hints that Doc Ock is in Peter's body the entire issue. So it gets an 8/10 from me.
|Amazing Spider-Man #699|
The issue opens with Peter-Ock being barely brought back from the brink of death by a team of doctors, though his time is still running out. Peter fears what Otto may be doing in his body, before realizing that he has access to all of Otto's memories, just as Otto claimed to have access to his.
That's when the disturbing sex scene between Otto and Aunt May comes to light (well, it's only a reference, but still. I had enough of May's sex life when Peter walked in on her and Jay...).
Searching through the memories, Peter realizes that, every time he used Otto's tech, he was allowing the villain to map his brainwaves, which led to the switch via Golden Octobot during the Goblin fight. Peter is able to use the Octobot as well, he finds out, and uses it to hatch one of Otto's stock escape plan. This one includes recruiting Scorpion, Hydroman, and the Trapster to break him out of prison. Peter does his best to stop them from killing anyone or freeing anyone else, but even he realizes he's walking a precarious path, no matter the circumstances.
This issue keeps you on the edge of your seat and leaves some hope that Peter won't disappear at the end of ASM after all. An
|Amazing Spider-Man #699.1|
This issue is all about Morbius. His cell is damaged during Peter-Ock's escape, and he leaves the Raft. The rest of the issue is Morbius' back story. If you like the character, it's an interesting read that leads to Morbius' ongoing that's coming up.
If you don't care for the character, it's a completely skip-able Point One issue. I'm more of the latter, though I'll give the issue a 6/10 for being done well enough.
|Amazing Spider-Man #700|
This final issue is packed with three stories. The first is the tense and action packed story of Peter-Ock trying to get back in his body. Well, actually, it starts with Otto-Pete putting the moves on MJ before getting interuppted by an alert that Peter-Ock has escaped. Then Otto attempts to flee the country, while Pete starts working on his plan to get his body back. He goes to Heaven for a bit when he dies for three minutes, and it's an paradise place filled with all his loved ones who have gone before him and still support him. It's pretty touching stuff, but ol' Uncle Ben is there to tell Peter to get back in the fight.
Pride gets the best of Otto, keeping him in the country. Peter uses his ragtag group of villains to procure the Golden Octobot without killing any civilians (though Carlie does get wounded by Peter in the process). Otto rounds up all of Peter's loved ones, in the pretense of keeping them safe. Some nice interactions between JJJ and his father/May, as well as some tit for tat between Peter and Otto -- they know each other more than ever before at this point, and have a hard time outsmarting each other... almost.
MJ professes her love for Peter (to Otto), right before we get to the final showdown between Otto-Spider, Peter-Ock, Scorpion, and Hydro-Man in an emptied Avenger's Tower. Otto starts showing he has the upper hand in every way, having planned for every contingency. The only flaw in his plan are the nagging memories of Peter Parker's life, the ones the make him who he is and feel the way he does. Otto actually punches Scorpion's jaw straight off his body, which is pretty awesome, and a turning point for Peter when he sees this.
In a suicide plot, Peter latches on to Otto and jumps out a window, explaining that he can no longer be Spider-Man after this -- he's ensuring that Otto dies while Peter will be back in his body, thanks to the Golden Octobot attacking Otto-Spider's skull -- BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE! Turns out Otto expected the Bot as well and shielded his head, meaning Peter-Ock is trapped for the duration of the fall. Otto mortally (even more mortally?) wounds Peter. Peter realizes his time is up but, in a last ditch effort to stop a monster from running around as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Peter-Ock uses the Bot's mental link to force Otto to see and feel the defining moments of Peter's life, forcing Otto too see the world through a new perspective and accept the responsibility of being Spider-Man, not a villain.
And then... Peter-Ock dies. Otto-Spider makes his declaration that he'll be an even better Spider-Man -- a Superior one. So, that being what it is, I find the story difficult to rate. It was decently told, intense, and has had a lot of build up. That being said, Marvel has killed another Peter Parker and this hand off is even worse for the fans than the 90's Clone Saga, which is where they tried to phase Peter out in favor of Ben Reilly (which caused an uproar). So I like the issue but absolutely hate the ending and honestly thing they've brought the quality of Amazing Spider-Man down in a single issue... So I rate it a 7/10, though I would also be comfortable going lower. I want to give it a point on the awesome cover alone... but the book is so unwieldy due to it's filler content that it balances out.
The second story is about a random geezer telling his great-grand kid that he used to be Spider-Man. Not really sure what the point was or why it was included. 1/10, some of the art is interesting.
The third story was about the Black Cat, but was drawn so bad I didn't even bother reading it. 0/10 -- I really dislike camp in my comic books to begin with, and including this awful art in the final issue of ASM was almost a slap in the face.
The future of Spider-Man looks... Well, pretty crappy. I assume that, due to fan backlash (or possibly something they've already planned), that this will, if not get reversed, at least get remedied; the Golden Octobot wasn't seen destroyed, so it is possible that Peter comes back, either in his own body down the line or in a cloned body (which might make the Jackal popping up recently make sense). Then I would be slightly more accepting of the Superior Spider-Man. Well, except for the fact that it's Doc-Ock, a character that I've only enjoyed mildly and can't imagine then perpetuating for too long -- he's a fan favorite villain, not someone we wanted to actually follow. He's just not that interesting. Marvel would have done better giving us something new, so that way they could at least work in an interesting back story.
Now we have a character that I really don't care about, at all. We already have a dark and troubled Spider in the form of Kaine, we didn't need another. And using a character we already know well enough doesn't make us want to see him succeed or grow as a person. It's just a touch revolting. I'd like to see them make it interesting, but I want to see it undone more.
Here's to Marvel getting their shit together and undoing the damage they've done. Hopefully Peter comes back sooner than Ben Reilly has...
Peter DID once see the future and apparently witness his final stand, and it WASN'T as Superior Spider-Man either, so I'm holding out that this will just be a short stint to rile up the fans. Because, you know, it's totally worth stopping a 700 issue series to do that.
Next up, I've got a good amount of Pull List issues to get through, probably two more posts worth. See you then!
P.S. If you want to commiserate about the grim future of Spider-Man (or, I guess, tell me I'm a stupid fan boy), leave a comment!