Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #687

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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: Aug 2012.

Background...

Succumbing to a lifetime of radiation and brain damage, Doctor Octopus plans to go out with on both a great and terrible note. He had assembled Sandman, Mysterio, Chameleon, Rhino and Electro to create a new Sinister Six and hatched a plan to hold the world to ransom, threatening to increase the effects of global warming via a series of satellites he calls the Octavian Lens! The Sinister Six successfully defeated The Avengers but our web-swinging hero escaped!

Spider-Man, kitted out in a new gadget-filled suit and accompanied by Black Widow and Silver Sable, has now defeated Electro, Sandman and Chameleon during their quest to stop Ock from launching the missiles to complete his plan. They have now convinced Mysterio to join them in their fight to stop Doctor Octopus.

Meanwhile, Horizon works with Spider-Man to find a way to bring down the Octavian Lens. Spider-Man, Black Widow, Silver Sable and Mysterio travel to Guatemala, the location of Doctor Octopus’s hidden base and are met by The Avengers, all controlled by Doctor Octopus and his octo-bots! As a furious fight begins, Spidey realises that the technology Doctor Octopus has been using is based on all of his designs from Horizon!

In Detail...

"Everyone Dies"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #687
Aug 2012 : SM Title
Arc: Part 6 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
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Articles: Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius), Rhino, Silver Sable

Spider-Man, Black Widow, Silver Sable and Mysterio vs. octo-bot-controlled Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Red Hulk, Hawkeye and Spider-Woman kicks off! Doctor Octopus remote controls The Avengers to swing the fight in his favour! He uses Iron Man to blast Black Widow, sets Spider-Woman on Spider-Man, but he easily defeats her using his spider-fu! Ock directs Red Hulk to squish Mysterio, but Mysterio sets one of his animatronics to deal with him! Next he tries using Thor to take down Spidey but, being unworthy, cannot control the full power of the thunder god! Meanwhile, Silver Sable successfully knocks out a sluggish Captain America and asks Mysterio if he has anything to disrupt the octo-bots signal. He sets off an electromagnetic pulse and frees The Avengers! In response, Ock launches a secret stash of missiles that will complete the Octavian Lens! Iron Man, Thor and Red Hulk launch after them with an aim to destroy them before they reach orbit! Spidey and Silver Sable demand to know where Doctor Octopus is so Mysterio directs them out to sea before disappearing!

Horizon’s Zenith arrives at the location of Ock’s base and is promptly fired upon! Spider-Man and Silver Sable intercept the missiles with Mysterio’s sea craft and dock with the Octohedral! Doctor Octopus triggers his base to secure the hatches in his command room and flood everywhere else! Spidey and Silver Sable race to find Doctor Octopus but run into Rhino!

Iron Man, Thor and Red Hulk smash as many missiles as they can but Iron Man knows that the Octavian Lens will be ready in nine and a half minutes!

Rhino, with his marriage and his wife taken from him, is ready for death! Spidey and Silver Sable rush him and he slams Silver Sable down, pinning her to the ground! Rhino knows that this is how he is finally going to beat Spider-Man: he will not move and Silver Sable will die, along with him, as the water rises. Silver Sable demands that Spider-Man go or everyone dies! As he leaves, the water claims them both…

He bursts into the command centre and attacks Doctor Octopus! As Doctor Octopus smashes Spidey’s webshooters with his mechanical claws, he explains that Spider-Man will not die here today but will be among the .008% that will survive the Octavian Lens and remember the name of Doctor Octopus! He pins Spider-Man with four arms and anchors himself with the remaining four! Spider-Man, with water pouring in and desperate for a way out, realises that Ock will have a doomsday button that he now can’t push without releasing him! Doctor Octopus knows this as well and crawls out of his suit! Dragging himself across the floor, dying as he goes, he gives Spidey a little more time to think of a way out! He suddenly realises that Ock has miscalculated and tells him that those surviving the Octavian Lens will never be able to remember him for what he has done as their brains will be fried! This stalls Ock long enough for Spidey, with a herculean effort, to smash and shatter the arms pinning him! He smashes the controls next to Doctor Octopus! In defeat, Ock sinks under the water to die but Spidey grabs him and carries him out!

Seconds later, Doctor Octopus is launched onto the deck of the Zenith! Spider-Man follows and directs the Horizon scientists to rig up a life support for him. Max Modell explains that they have cracked the cloaking technology so can bring the Octavian Lens down. He tries to celebrate Spidey’s victory with him but Spidey knows that he has failed… Someone died…

In General...

With Spider-Man coming face-to-face with Doctor Octopus for the first time in 87 issues, you’d expect it to not live up to the build-up that Dan Slott has dedicated to it. The confrontation itself does, with its mix of powerful physical action and intelligent outsmarting, its other elements of the issue that bring the rating down. The tension ratchets up with a flooding base, a doomsday button and a crawling Doctor Octopus and Slott writes a superb thought process as Spidey rushes through options and emotions as the battle and standoff reaches its climax. The opposition between these two has been excellent and that this boils down to a show of physical strength from Spidey against Ock’s physical weakness develops another side of their relationship.

As ever, Slott’s best writing comes with the details. He’s thought through how the characters would plan and react to one another, what motivation they have and filled in all holes in the plot itself. This is obvious with the chess game between Spidey and Ock but is also apparent in the opening few pages where The Avengers play a solid part, bringing out the best of Spidey. Even noting how Red Hulk is able to survive smashing missiles in space adds detail and depth to the plot.

Though the details make this a thoroughly explained story, there are some omissions. Whilst these are purposeful and will lead into future stories they distract from the quality of what is actually included. With a shockingly poor conclusion, rushed and cheap, we have to read Avenging Spider-Man #8 to find out more. To me, this is unforgiveable and there is absolutely no reason that this couldn’t have been included within the main title as it was during Spider-Island. Then you have got this massive plot from last issue (that Ock has used Peter’s Horizon inventions) unmentioned and seemingly forgotten. I’m sure it hasn’t but a lack of reference is distracting.

Silver Sable isn’t dead and neither is Rhino. Their “deaths” come too cheaply, with the scene failing to hit the emotional resonance and sacrifice it should have. Plus you don’t actually see them die. Slott tries to give Sable the spotlight, the romance and the character moments needed for us to care about her but it’s all too obvious once this scene arrives. I think there is a timing and delivery problem with Stefano Caselli’s art as it all seems squished and rushed, again not capturing this horrific decision Spidey has to make. A poor part of the issue that annoys me.

Asides from this blip, Caselli’s art is stunning. He accompanies Slott’s level of detail superbly with his own, smashing the fight sequences at the start and capturing the scale of the story.

Overall Rating...

This has been a strong, detailed arc that Dan Slott should be proud of. World encompassing, character building and very well-choreographed, planned and executed... until this final chapter which seems to rush and underexplain important aspects of the overall story. How these will be followed up is something to look forward to but the sense of closure this issue should bring is slightly unsatisfying.