Ultimate Spider-Man #56

Background

Doctor Octopus violent prison escape is prompted by news of a Spider-Man movie filming on location in New York. It turns out Doc Ock's ex-wife, Roselita Octavius, sold his story to the moviemakers. So now, the only thing standing between Ock's wrath and the movie crew is your friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man, who isn't seeing a dime from this movie, either.

Story Details

As the daughter of a cop, Gwen Stacy knows a stakeout when she sees one. So why are the feds outside of the Parker house? The Black Vans speed away before Gwen gets any answers.

Downtown, Spider-Man yells at Doctor Octopus for making him save this unauthorized film. But Ock's arms are even quicker than Spidey's wits, and Ock's mechanical arms get two hits in for every one of Spidey's verbal jabs. Ock knocks Spidey back to where Avi Arad, Sam Raimi, and Tobey Maguire, in a surreal moment.

Ock has Spider-Man trapped in his arms, confessing that it's a pleasant surprise to be able to dispatch with Spider-Man and the movie in one night. But a terrified actor distracts ock long enough for one of the Spider-Man stunt doubles to attack Ock from behind with a video camera. Spider-Man gets the upper hand, briefly, until one of the mechanical octopus arms tosses Spidey into the Lincoln Tunnel.

Back at Peter's house, Gwen has to leave the loo to answer the doorbell. Mary Jane enters the house, joyously sharing the news that her mother finally kicked her adulterous father out of the house and, as such, MJ is no longer grounded. Naturally, Mary Jane is looking for Peter , but Gwen tells her Peter is out, presumably at work. They decide to just chill, but when they turn on the TV, they learn that Spider-Man is trapped in the Lincoln Tunnel fighting Doc Ock. Mary Jane says she has to leave, but then a look on Gwen's face suggests that she's finally put all the pieces together...

Doctor Octopus gets the upper hand and slams Spider-Man into the tunnel wall. He talks to his mechanical arms, hinting at just how unbalanced Otto has become. Spider-Man gets up, briefly distracted by someone trying to film him, when Ock unleashes an all-out assault, knocking Spider-Man unconscious.

When he comes to, Spider-Man finds himself duct-taped to a chair inside a flying airplane.

General Comments

Has Gwen pieced the big secret together? All the clues were there: Peter's constant defense of Spider-Man, the F.B.I. stakeout, Mary Jane quickly leaving when she finds out Spider-Man is in danger. Even the possibility that Gwen knows Peter's secret is enough for me to pick up the next issue.

Now that Doctor Octopus is in practically every Spider-Man book on the market right now, it's nice to see an Otto Octavius that poses a realistic threat. Here, we see Otto essentially manhandle Spidey for 22 pages. He clearly dominated the fight, which was masterfully rendered by Bagley, Thibert, and Smith, three of the best artists in the business.

So why is Spider-Man on a plane? Where is he going? All the more reason to buy the next issue.

Overall Rating

Gwen figures it out, and the entire Stacy storyline comes to a head. Pretty momentous, and worthy of four webs on its own merit.

Spidey's quote of the issue is: "Is there any chance we could call it a day, go home, rest up, and finish this tomorrow?"