Comics : Marvel Age: Spider-Man #11

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

"Because you demanded it... he's back!" No, no, just kidding. It's the next story in the original Amazing Spider-Man sequence, is all.

In Detail...

"Unmasked by Doctor Octopus!"
Marvel Age: Spider-Man #11
Nov 2004 : SM Title
Summary: Doctor Octopus (Re-telling of ASM #12)
Editor:  C.B. Cebulski
Plot:  Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
Script:  Todd DeZago
Pencils:  Valentine DeLandro
Inker:  Norman Lee
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 Reprinted In: Spider-Man: Marvel Age Digest #3

Doctor Octopus is looking for a way to get revenge on Spider-Man. Remembering that Spidey seemed familiar with Betty Brant, he kidnaps her and demands Spider- Man come to Coney Island to rescue her. But Spider-Man is nursing a bad cold. When he shows up, he is so weak that Ock defeats him with ease; so easily that he believes he has fought an imposter. He unmasks the web-spinner and sees Peter Parker, who he also saw in the Bugle offices when he put the snatch on Betty. Now, he knows he fought an imposter. Jonah Jameson takes the beaten Peter home and tells him he did a brave thing.

The next morning Peter wakes up completely cured of his cold, courtesy of his spider-strength. He goes out after Doc Ock again and, in a fairly dull sequence, defeats him. (Well, actually, Doc defeats himself but at this point, who really cares?)

In General...

This one starts with a symbolic splash page which is similar to Ditko's in ASM #12, May 1964 which is a good sign. The rest of the issue stays pretty close to the original. When it does drop something out, like Doc Ock busting various animals out of the zoo, the scene isn't missed. When it adds something, like JJJ telling Peter he did a brave thing in "impersonating" Spider-Man, it deepens the characters a bit. Unfortunately, things are still far too rushed in these modernizations and the fight sequences always feel so obligatory and banal. Compare Lee and Ditko's final fight scene of their issue with this remake. It is not only rich in detail; it's also rife with humor, ingenuity, sensations of speed and power, acrobatics, mood, and style. Until the new versions can convey even a fraction of such moments, they will always be weak imitations at best. This is certainly one of the better efforts so far, though.

I'm not especially fond of these artists that make Peter look like he's twelve but overall, I think Valentine De Landro does an admirable job particularly with the character's faces, which are wonderfully expressive. (And I've got to say that I love the drawing of Ock on page 15, panel 1, trying to conceal his arms wrapped around his waist under his overcoat and looking like the half- brother of the Michelin Man.) However, as mentioned above, the climactic battle lets the reader down. I'm not so sure this is De Landro's fault since he is certainly capable of powerful fight images (such as the three panel sequence of Spidey dodging Ock's arms on page 17) but it's a problem nonetheless.

Overall Rating...

An improvement on most of the previous issues but still a long way to go. I've mostly accepted the fact that these remakes will never come close to matching the originals (and maybe it's unfair to keep comparing them) but even judged as entirely new work, the results are not there. Three webs.