Dr. Octopus (Vol. 3)

Background

Number three out of four "Marvel Spider-Man: Comic Storybooks". First published by Parragon Book Service, Ltd. in the UK in 2014, these were later re-released for other markets with no significant changes.

The binding for all versions is a thick, plastic-covered card which is not quite paperback and not quite hardback. The cover is 5.1" x 7.7". Binding is square-bound approximately one quarter-inch thick.

The nominal page count is 80, however after removing front matter, blank pages, the character intros which are repeated across each book, and the chapter splash pages, there's really only 52 pages of actual original art and text material in each book.

The classic stories are re-told "better than the originals" by "that well known man of letters" Joe Caramagna.

Story Details

CHAPTER ONE: Aunt May is finally ready to begin her life again. She has made pancakes... Uncle Ben's favorite breakfast! [Actually, it was wheatcakes, and that was young Petey's favorite breakfast. But this is the "new improved" Spider-Man, so stop complaining.]

Peter comes down, notices that his Aunt May really needs his support right now, and does what he always does... heads out the door leaving her alone. [Really, this young Parker boy is a little shit-head. Not in three stories has he done anything decent for the relatives that raised him. He's just a hateful little piece of trash. There's nothing good in his home life at all.]

Peter heads off to Empire State University where a giant Spider-Bot is robbing materials from Dr. Octopus's laboratory. Ock himself is home in bed after the accident. We've kind of come in part-way on this story. The police see Spider-Man fighting the robot and immediately accuse him of having built it. Because the police are retarded.

CHAPTER TWO: Peter visits the Daily Bugle, and Jonah slams the door in his number one photographer's face because Peter left his camera at home and doesn't have any new pictures. Because that's exactly what you do in a competitive news photo marketplace, you treat your unique resources like shit so they go somewhere else. Peter meets reporter Ben Urich, but that's just to fill up the page count.

Spider-Man then goes to the "flat" of Doctor Octopus [Ooops, I think the British editor screwed up there, a flat means a flat tire. The place Ock lives is an "apartment".] Spider-Man finds a miniature portable nuclear power plant. "I know nothing about physics" thinks our "hero".

Ock (who already has his mechanical arms) then discovers Spider-Man in the act of breaking and entering. Accusing the web-slinger of "working for big oil", the two fight. Ock beats Spidey and shoves him in a metal trunk before racing off to try out his power plant. Spider-Man exerts his incredible strength and... manages to break open the clasp on the trunk? [Well, I guess all young super-heroes have to start somewhere. Soon he'll graduate to loosening the lids on jars, and smashing his fist through drywall.]

Having just minutes before claimed to know nothing about physics, Spider-Man now yells "But the casing on your portable power plant is too thin, it's going to explode if you turn it on!" Is anybody even proof-reading these stories?

CHAPTER THREE: Mr. "I know nothing about physics" says... "obviously, Ock will need a great source of water for his portable nuclear power plant". And so Spider-Man goes to a power station near the river. He sees Octopus connect his power plant by "a hose" to the river (would have worked just as well by a lake, or pond, or water tower).

Spidey then punches Doctor Octopus in the face, and that's the end of that.

Meanwhile in our other (I use the word advisedly) "plot", Aunt May has made a special dinner since Peter flipped her off and walked out on her special breakfast. But Peter isn't home. She rings up the restaurant where Peter told her he was working to make the money he was contributing, and discovers that her underage ward has lied to her. She gets angry at first, but then does the sensible thing, i.e. decides not to talk about it to Peter until he mentions it first.

Gratuitous Name-Dropping Cameos: Police Officer Romita tells his fellow officers that Spider-Man was on their side after all.

General Comments

What's the worse thing about this book?

Is it Caramagna's blatant lack of writing experience – evinced by his stodgy expository style which lays down relentless blocks of tedious background, instead of including it via naturally-flowing narrative? Or is it his arrogant disregard of Spider-Man's fundamental character?

Perhaps it's the lack of internal consistently? Or the dangling plot threads, and the introduction of irrelevant characters? It's too hard to choose – there are just too many awful aspects to these stories.

Overall Rating

Perhaps I can find a suitable quote to wrap this up. Let's see... "All's well that ends well?" Oh, definitely not. Perhaps "Some things are better left unsaid?" Hmmm, getting closer, but not quite there.

Oh, wait. I have it... "Look how they massacred my boy!"

I'm glad Stan and Steve aren't around to see this.