Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #428

Background

Ock is back from the dead. And he's very grumpy.

Story 'Living Large!'

The reunion bout between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus spills out into the city streets, nearly killing a young girl on the splash page. Spidey saves her, of course, making avoiding the doctor a difficult task indeed. He passes the girl off to a nearby police officer just in time to avoid getting squished between two cars that Doc Ock slings at him, then turns the tables on Doc by driving one of the cars into two of his metal arms, slamming him to the street (best panel in the whole storyline, top of p. 7).

The Rose and Delilah manage to slip away during the pandemonium, the Rose saying something about another engagement. The Doctor, meanwhile, is a little out of fighting shape, and takes the opportunity to escape with Carolyn Trainer, ripping the top off a building as a "parting gift." Spider-Man barely manages to save everyone from the debris, sheltering them with what appears to be a dumpster. The battle over, he returns home to a hot bath and reluctantly agrees to go to the toga party (they still have these things somewhere?) that Mary Jane wishes to attend.

Doctor Octopus receives a much worse homecoming, discovering Stunner's comatose real body lying amidst the rubble of his lab, as a result of last issue's ceremony. The worst post-battle experience, however, belongs to Delilah, who is ambushed by the Black Tarantula while the Rose is off at his meeting. (Could this have something to do with Jacob Conover's sudden 1-page reappearance????) The Tarantula, striking in retaliation for the death of Master Zei in the resurrection ceremony, puts Delilah through the wringer, plowing a spider image into a wall with her head and breaking her neck, which he then heals somehow.

Peter, meanwhile, arrives at the toga party and surprises himself by having fun. (How did Jill Stacy and Shantal switch skin color, though?) The ending is not completely carefree, however, as the final panel shows that little Chesbro is still spying on someone....

General Comments

In general, this is all just good silly fun. My only major complaint, however, is how the relationship between Doc Ock and Spidey is presented. I really enjoyed the "Web of Death" storyline, except for Doc Ock's death at its end, because then-Amazing writer J.M. DeMatteis took the whole conflict between the two and turned it upside-down, with Ock saving Spidey from the Vulture's virus because he had become an indispensible part of his life. It was a surprising twist, yet it was carried off in a believable fashion.

That all seems to be ignored now, and what remains is your standard two-dimensional hero-villain relationship.

Overall Rating

Great idea, so-so application thereof. Welcome back, Doctor Octopus. Three webs.