Spider-Man: Doctor Octopus - Year One #5

Background

Dr. Octopus is loose in New York, a nuclear reactor core is overheating, and Spider-Man is nowhere to be found."Year One" is coming to a end, and if you're looking for an ASM#3 reprint, you've come to the wrong place.

Story 'Destiny'

The "green people" are still protesting outside the nuclear power plant. Otto's there handing out his Spider-Tracer buttons, and has a great conversation with one of the protesters about nuclear power plants as opposed to coal-powered ones.

Inside the plant, a technician has replaced the faulty valve that was causing the problems, and everything at the plant is back to normal. Everything, except of course those new pipes snaking up the wall. The ones giving off a hiss and small jets of steam. The technician looks up to see a dark figure hovering over him...

The control room has lost contact with the technician. The safety locks are also being shut down.

"Is the core vulnerable?"
"No! You have to disable those locks from the control room."
"You mean from here?"

The wall behind them shatters inwards, and some writhing metal tentacles, followed by the dark figure enter the room. Dr. Octopus has access to a nuclear reactor.

Every Marvel reader knows that Dr. Octopus + nuclear reactor = HUGE danger. So huge, in fact, that it sets off Peter Parker's spider-sense halfway across town. Spidey arrives at the power plant, and the military gives him permission to handle the situation once Ock is seen scaling the plant's towers. Here comes the fight scene!

Spidey tackles Ock, and the two land near the "green people" protesters. Ock grins at Spidey, telling him "You did not track me to this location, Spider- Man. I called you." With the press of a button, the Spider-Tracer buttons are all activated, overloading Spidey's spider-sense. Ock takes the opportunity to snare Spidey in his tentacles, taking a close look at one of Spidey's web- shooters and giving him the whole "I'm so superior to you" speech.

Despite his apparent helplessness, good ol' Spidey has a plan. He pulls Ock's tentacles together and opens up a backpack that he had slung across his chest. A chemical pours out of it, fusing the tentacles together. An electrical (at least I think it's electrical) feedback runs through the tentacles, jolting Ock back and making him release his hold on Spidey. Spidey mentions something about Ock's tentacles being able to feel radiation and closing the circuit; it doesn't make much sense to me, but it gets the job done.

Ock starts trying to get up, and whines for his glasses, which military guy promptly steps on. Military guy demands to know what Ock did to the reactor, and Mary Alice comes forward (where did she comes from?) and reveals that Ock didn't do anything to it. Ock lets the military take him into custody

In his cell, Ock is writing a letter to his dead mother. Apparently, since it's impossible to remove his metal arms, he was allowed to repair them (WHY????). And Ock tells his dead mom that he has "A new obsession. One which may indeed last a lifetime." The obsession in question? I think it might have something to do with that "Vitruvian Spider-Man" he's drawing on the wall of his cell.

The End. Or maybe the beginning?

General Comments

This issue was actually pretty good. Alot of the problems from the previous issue were fixed. Ock is once again clever, cunning and creepy, just like he was meant to be. He still does his "talking to radiation" schtick, but much less in this issue, and when it is done, it's handled better. The dark art suits the story really well.

But of course, the issue isn't without its problems. The scene where Spidey finally beats Ock seems rushed, and alot of the character's actions and motivations are confusing. As with previous issues, the dialogue falls short, although I guess it's still acceptable.

But what bothers me the most is that they let Otto repair his tentacles after he was captured. That doesn't make sense at all.

Overall Rating

I give this issue 3.5 webs. A definite improvement over the previous issue, although still quite a ways away from being perfect.