As we near the end of Goblin Nation (and the entire Superior Saga), things aren’t looking good for Otto Octavius or Peter Parker. Otto’s life as the Superior Spider-Man started off about as promising as he could have hoped for. With the help of his complex Spider-Bot system, he stopped crime with an efficiency that was unparalleled amongst heroes. Underneath his watch though, something was bubbling. The Green Goblin had returned and was building an army underground. Once the Goblin decided to strike, Ock was ill prepared to deal with the unforeseen threat and his entire world began to crumble around him. On the other hand, Peter Parker finally reemerged within Ock’s mind with a scant 31 memories left to work with. After being forced to relive life though the eyes of Otto though, he has seemingly lost himself again within the mind of his enemy. As Green Goblin’s men continue to wreak havoc on all of New York, can Otto finally prove that he is in fact the “superior” Spider-Man?
|Executive Producer:||Alan Fine|
|Chief Creative Officer:||Joe Quesada|
|Editor In Chief:||Axel Alonso|
|Associate Editor:||Ellie Pyle|
|Inker:||John Dell, Terry Pallot|
We start off right in the middle of an epic battle between the Spider Slayers (who were hacked by the Goblin last issue) and both the Superior Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099. That’s when the Goblin flashes an image of Otto’s girlfriend Anna Maria on one of the Slayer’s monitors. In a panic, Ock abandons Spider-Man 2099 (who in response calls Spidey a “bithead” and a “poser”) and rushes off to try and save the one person he truly cares for.
With Spider-Man 2099 unable to corral the Slayers himself, the Green Goblin sets them loose throughout New York. As chaos continues to grip the city, Cardiac, Wraith and even the Avengers all jump into action to try and stop the mechanical beasts. As one might expect, the entire city is wondering why their mayor had these dangerous machines built in the first place. In a damning press conference, Jameson puts the blame on Alchemax but Liz Allan has signed documents in her possession that states that Jonah ordered the Slayers into action before they were ready. Back at Alchemax headquarters, Allan’s innocence is quickly brought into question as she is shown hiding a goblin mask behind her back when her son Normie enters the room.
Within Otto’s mind, Peter has relived Octavius’ life up to the point where he swaps bodies with himself. Now Peter Parker and Otto Octavius are one. As this new amalgamation of Pete and Otto relive the moment that Doctor Octopus dies (with Peter in his body), a strange thing happens. In Amazing Spider-Man #700, Otto was forced to experience a number of Peter’s memories before Pete passed away in Ock’s body. While experiencing these memories again, Peter realizes that he isn’t Otto Octavius but that he’s actually Peter Parker. As he walks away from Otto, Peter emerges as himself again with apparently all of his original memories intact (or at least, it seems, more than 31).
Otto is still in control of Peter Parker’s body in the real world though and his search for Anna Maria has led him into the subway. In what turns out to be yet another trap, the Goblin has tied up the young girl whom Ock performed surgery on in Superior Spider-Man #8 and is about to run her over with a subway train. Unlike the Spider-Man we’ve all known and loved for so many years, the Superior Spider-Man hesitates to save the girl. “If I’m hit,” he thinks to himself “There’ll be no one to save Anna Maria.”
This is when ghost Peter makes his triumphant return and shouts for Otto to jump and save the girl. He obeys and swoops in to save the life of young Amy Chen before the Goblin is able to claim yet another victim. This is when, it seems, that a broke and beaten Otto Octavius realizes something. He realizes that he may not be the right man for the job.
Now aware that Peter has returned within his mind, Ock and ghost Pete swing across town to Parker Industries. As soon as they enter the lab, Otto hooks himself up to the brain scanner and begins to erase each and every memory of himself within Peter Parker’s mind. Nothing apparently means more to Otto than the life of Anna Maria and he believes that only the one, true Spider-Man can save her. Emerging from his mindscape, Peter Parker changes from his shredded Superior Spider-Man suit to the half century old red and blues we are all so familiar with. The Amazing Spider-Man is back.
So there you have it. After over a year of Doctor Octopus parading around as Spider-Man, Peter Parker is finally back. How exactly did we get to this point though? Unlike some, who had trouble understanding how Peter found himself within Otto’s memories, the thing I didn’t get is why Ock would give up his life so quickly. Sure it all hinged on his love for Anna Maria, but would a man with so much ego really just give everything up because the odds were against him? I worried as the Goblin Nation arc went along that it was going to be rushed and mar what had been a really ambitious and interesting era in the annals of Spider-Man. My fears have come to fruition here. The payoff at the end just doesn’t make logical sense and the return of Peter seems pretty hollow as a result.
Despite all of my complaints, I can’t blame penciler Giuseppe Cumoncoli and inkers John Dell and Terry Pallot for turning the script into sterling art. Most notably, the depiction of Peter gaining all of his memories back is extremely well executed. Since this entire saga has dealt with Parker’s memories, we’ve seen artists play with lots of classic scenes throughout Spidey’s history but none are as dynamic as the dozens of classic scenes that are re-purposed for this two-page spread. I could spend hours just picking out all of the different scenes.
We still have another issue left before Superior ends and Amazing begins anew. It won’t be enough to properly end this title though. I just don’t understand why Slott rushed through the most important part of the entire series. He knew he had to bring Peter back in time for the movie, right?
I’ll say one thing, this was at least handled better than the way Pete was brought back at the end of the clone saga.