Amazing Spider-Man #699 review

As I said in my review of last issue, we never did see Dr Octopus’ body flatline, so it’s no shock that this issue opens with medics on The Raft super-villain prison fighting to save him. But remember, the ‘him’ is Peter Parker, his mind swapped with that of Otto Octavius. So even as the villain lies back, waiting for death, ‘Spider-Man’ is over in New York, armed with Peter’s powers and secrets, doing Lord knows what.

Down, but not out, Peter figures that if Otto could footle around in his mind, he should likewise be able to access the memories of the battered old body in which he’s trapped. And he does, learning that donning Otto’s octobot control helmet 100 issues ago unlocked the door into his brain that the villain has recently fully opened. Peter comes up with an escape and reclaim plan involving the octobot that made final contact with him, and a fairly random assemblage of super-villains – the Trapster, the Scorpion and Hydro-Man. The big concern, though, is that innocents may get hurt as Peter seeks to use bad guys for good.

Writer Dan Slott is on excellent form here, giving the reader back the hope that seemed lost at the end of last issue. Peter may have lost his body, but he’s alive and fighting back. Slott even finds room for humour, though it’s black as night, tapping into that time Aunt May was engaged to Dr Octopus. Poor Peter.

He’s not my favourite Spider-Man artist, but Humberto Ramos’s work is effective this issue, complementing Slott’s script with suitably creepy images (if you think the grotesque Otto body is disturbing, wait until you see Aunt May …). There’s only one panel to hate, and that’s an imagined scene of Spidey snapping Captain America’s neck – it’s carelessly ugly. I wonder if inker Victor Olazaba wanted to fix it, but isn’t allowed to change the work of a bigger name.

With one issue left of the current run, it looks as if Peter will get his win, though in the classic Spider-Man tradition, I suspect triumph will be followed by tragedy. If Amazing Spider-Man #700 is as accomplished as this issue, though, we’ll be going out on a high.

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