Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #683

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This story is part of an Arc: "Ends of the Earth"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6

This review was first published on: Apr 2012.

Background...

Ever since Amazing Spider-Man #600, Doctor Octopus has been plotting his final villainous masterpiece. Succumbing to a lifetime of radiation and brain damage, he plans to go out with on both a great and terrible note. He has assembled Sandman, Mysterio, Chameleon, Rhino and Electro to create a new Sinister Six and hatched a true master plan! He wishes to give the world a “gift” before he dies and activates his Octavian Lens (a series of satellites) to increase the effects of global warning, thus letting them know what will happen in years to come. He offers them a solution: let him save the world!

Peter Parker has been busy too. Using his fulfilling and exciting position at Horizon, he’s been building a suit to combat the Sinister Six. Unlike Peter though, Mayor J. Jonah Jameson has had enough of the dangerous antics of Horizon and is determined to shut them down.

When Octavius makes his move, the world considers his proposal but Peter responds by suiting up. In a new red, black and grey armoured costume, he assembles The Avengers!

In Detail...

"Earth's Mightiest"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #683
May 2012 : SM Title
Summary: Sinister Six
Arc: Part 2 of "Ends of the Earth"
Writer:  Dan Slott
Artist:  Stefano Caselli
Cover Art:  Stefano Caselli
Lettering:  VC's Joe Caramagna
Colorist:  Frank Martin Jr
Executive Producer:  Alan Fine
Publisher:  Dan Buckley
Chief Creative Officer:  Joe Quesada
Editor In Chief:  Axel Alonso
Editor:  Stephen Wacker
Assistant Editor:  Ellie Pyle
Staff Only
Issue
Review
Articles: Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius), Electro, Rhino, Sandman

Two Weeks Ago: Doctor Octopus coordinates a three-pronged attack with Chameleon stealing future Iron Man armour from Sunset Bain’s warehouse in Taipei, Rhino and Sandman taking on a Hulkbuster Base in New Mexico guarded by The Leader’s minions and stealing one of his experiments and Electro breaking into The British Museum, London to steal The Fang Of Jörmungandr. The scavenger hunt is complete!

Now: The world’s leaders and scientific experts assemble in The Palazzo Senatorio in Rome to discuss Doctor Octopus’ offer to save the world from it’s future global warming. There is hot debate but the science is solid for Ock’s device, Professor Stephen Hawking says so! Al Gore takes the stage and argues that they should let Ock go ahead but Spider-Man, Captain America and Thor enter the chamber and Spidey argues against trusting someone who tried to destroy New York (Amazing #648)! Al Gore stands up to Spidey so Spidey punches him! In front of a shocked crowd, Spidey unmasks Gore as the Chameleon! He explains to Cap that he has his suit rigged to detect Chameleon’s specific heartbeat. Upon this new revelation, Doctor Octopus decides to show them the power of his Octahedral! Spidey contacts Iron Man, who is patched into his own subspace scanners in space, but Iron Man informs him that the Octavian Lens is doing something different this time!

Horizon Labs is monitoring the situation too. Max Modell contacts the conference but their power suddenly cuts out! Max and the other researchers exit the building to see if everyone else is affected but it turns out it is just them. JJJ arrives and explains that he has cut their power and order Chief Pratchett to clear the building! Max is determined to find another way to continue their work.

Iron Man and other sensors report that the Octavian Lens is in fact filtering out all harmful UV rays. Ock explains that this is another sign that he simply wishes to save the world. He gives them 24 hours and demands that Chameleon be freed. Spider-Man tells the other Avengers not to worry; he has every angle covered! The Symkarian Prime Minister, in attendance at the conference, tells his head of security, Silver Sable, that the conference is heading towards letting Ock proceed. Silver Sable plans to keep an eye on Spider-Man’s plan.

An hour later, Chameleon rendezvous with the rest of the Sinister Six in their giant Octo-bot along the Mediterranean coast. Mysterio points out the spider-tracer on Chameleon’s back and The Avengers arrive. Doctor Octopus instructs his fellow villains to stick to their targets as Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Red Hulk and Spider-Woman land on the beach to take them down! Red Hulk begins taking down the Octo-bot, piloted by Chameleon. Hawkeye fires at Mysterio but thinks he’s missed until Spidey’s new helmet navigates around Mysterio’s holo-technology and sees that he is captured. Electro bolts through the Avengers Quinjet and Black Widow loses control and the jet crashes to the ground nearby! Electro then bolts through Spider-Woman and Hawkeye, taking them out! He fails against Spidey, as his suit is Electro-proof! Thor summons Electro’s electric form into his hammer and sends him rocketing into the atmosphere! Suddenly, Rhino gores Thor from behind, piercing his armour! His horn has been upgraded with the Fang Of Jörmungandr and Thor is down! Iron Man tries to deal with Doctor Octopus but Ock shuts his entire system down with technology from the stolen Iron Man armour from 2020! Captain America tries to lure Sandman into the sea but Sandman doesn’t fall for it! He throws a cryo-pellet (designed by Ock) and freezes Cap in ice! Meanwhile, Chameleon deploys an Alpha/Gamma Disrupter, stolen from The Leader, and shoots Red Hulk down from the Octo-bot! Spider-Man is the only one standing! He faces up to Ock and tries to take him out using the cyber-control technology he used to save the day in Spider-Island. Ock is wise to this though and mentally shuts down Spidey’s suit completely! Doctor Octopus stands over Spider-Man, thanking him for the farewell gift… of his life!

In General...

This issue is Slott at his best, weaving a large cast of character through a pacy, intriguing and character-driven plot.

From the moment Spidey punches Al Gore/Chameleon, there is no let up and we’re left to enjoy a series of well-crafted twists. Ock’s filtering of UV rays, spider-tracer on Chameleon, Sinister Six being well-prepared for The Avengers (with the best scavenger hunt I’ve ever seen put to great use), Spidey being well-prepared for Sinister Six, Ock taking over mental control of Spidey’s suit, checkmate! The battle between these two minds, which is what Slott’s take on Spider-Man vs. Doctor Octopus has always been, is glorious as it unfolds.

And herein lays the other great thing about this issue that moves it beyond #682 – character. The whole plot is driven by character and, although there are a lot with The Avengers added in, their inclusion is a sensible one and does not distract greatly from Spider-Man as he’s the one leading them. Slott masterfully throws in Spidey’s confidence in taking The Sinister Six down and this stems beautifully from his successes at Horizon and his joy at saving New York in Spider-Island.

He also orchestrates an amazing throw down in the latter half of the issue! Everything happens for a reason and as Slott depicts Ock as this master planner (get it?) you truly get the sense that Ock is becoming the best villain Spidey has! That scavenger hunt at the start is very clever Mr Slott – unforced and thought through. Stefano Caselli comes alive in this final sequence, delivering a series of panels and pages that your eyes can’t possibly fully explore upon the first reading. The level of detail, energy and construction is stunning and the sometimes over-dramatic polished pencils are perfect here!

Where Ends Of The Earth is different greatly to Spider-Island is that Spider-Man is solely centre stage now. I wondered whether this event was big enough but, upon reflection, Spider-Island seemed very reliant on other characters. The Avengers have been dispatched which means that Slott and readers can enjoy more character and more twists as Spidey vs. Ock continues.

Overall Rating...

A rollercoaster of an issue, setting up a true showdown between Spider-Man and The Sinister Six! Bring it!