Comics : Marvel Age: Spider-Man #2

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Still adhering to their "All Ages"/"Great for New Readers" sales pitch, Marvel follows the bad remakes of stories from Amazing Spider-Man #2 with a bad remake of the story from Amazing Spider-Man #3. At least I've figured out why they started this series with the Vulture story. It's so they can wedge in yet another Doc Ock story before the movie comes out.

In Detail...

"Spider-Man versus Doctor Octopus"
Marvel Age: Spider-Man #2
Jun 2004 : SM Title
Summary: Doctor Octopus (Re-telling of ASM #3)
Editor:  C.B. Cebulski
Plot:  Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
Writer:  Daniel Quantz
Pencils:  Mark Brooks
Inker:  Mark Brooks
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 Reprinted In: Marvel Age Spider-Man #2 (RIF Promo)
 Reprinted In: Marvel Age Spider-Man #2 (R.M. Palmer Giveaway)
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man Magazine (Vol. 3) #11
 Reprinted In: Marvel Age: Spider-Man #2 (Niagara Reprint)
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man: Marvel Age Digest #1
 Reprinted In: ToyBiz: Marvel Legends 8: Doctor Octopus

In this version, Doctor Octopus is a poor shlub who works at the Scientific Energy Alternative Department and who has to give a dopey presentation to the most obnoxious, insulting, learning-challenged collection of school kids it would ever be your misfortune to meet. Shown up by some little brat named Olivia, Ock pushes himself so hard to try to discover cold fusion that he blows himself up. (That's right. Five-year-old Olivia disses Otto Octavius and the evil Dr. Octopus is born.) This time around, Ock is nicely paranoid, believing that everyone around him is a "filthy government spy". As in the original, Spidey shows up and gets his head handed to him. He gets so distraught over the defeat that he calls J. Jonah Jameson at the Daily Bugle and tells him he won't be able to take any more photographs for him. But at school the Human Torch appears as a guest-speaker at an assembly. (In this current version, he is referred to as a "hottie".) He tells the students to "never give up" which inspires Peter to get out there as Spidey and to take down Dr. Octopus. In the original, there is some nifty stuff where Spidey creates a formula that fuses Ock's arms together. This is replaced with a ridiculous segment of Spidey feeding into Ock's paranoia and filching his computer backup disks. (The always sophisticated Otto actually says, "Spider-Man, I could beat you with three arms tied behind my back." What is this, Spidey Super-Stories all of a sudden?) Spidey defeats Ock and hangs him in a fresh fish booth with a "fresh octopus" sign around his neck. Afterwards, he tracks the Torch down to another High School and does the "never give up" shtick with him then goes back to the Bugle to try to sell photos because he has learned to... (all together now)... Never Give Up!

In General...

Well, I have to admit to liking Ock's government spy paranoia and the conclusion of the story where Pete "never quits" from the Bugle (as overdone as it is) but the other changes (Spidey running away with the disks, Ock hung up in the fish booth, Spidey joining the Torch on stage to proclaim "Never Give Up" in unison, and those hideous kids that cause Otto's accident) are just unnecessary and depressing. You know that writer Daniel Quantz has to make some changes just to justify his employment but, like John Byrne in Chapter One, you can almost sense the desperation in the air. Making changes just to make changes is never a good policy.

What it still all comes down to is that there is no excuse for replacing classic Lee-Ditko stories with this revisionist crud. Amazing Spider-Man #3, July 1963 is one of the best comic books that Marvel has ever put out. Why would you sully it? How could watering it down to the lowest common denominator be a good thing? Is it possible that Marvel thinks that all kids are lamebrain short attention span smartasses like the kids in this story? Or are they just going after the lamebrain short attention span smartass segment of the crowd?

Overall Rating...

It's no worse than the last issue except that whatever novelty it had has now worn off.

By the way, Marvel Age: Spider-Man Digest has already come out, collecting Marvel Age: Spider-Man #1-4 even though #3 and #4 haven't yet appeared. (Which begs the question: why bother to put them out now?) The cover, of course, is the Doc Ock/Spidey cover from this issue, just in time for the movie. Issues 3 and 4 revamp the Sandman and Doctor Doom stories from ASM #4-5, September-October 1963. So, how are these new versions? What? You think I'm going to read those stories before I have to review them? Not on your life! I've got better things to do with my time.