Doc Ock just never seems to get enough humiliation. The guy wears green turtlenecks and green slacks with a pair of Buster Brown loafers when committing crimes. I know jaywalkers that put more effort into their criminal costumes. And he gives crappy hugs, as we discover in this story. I don't what makes him leave his house in the morning, much less attempt to be a "criminal". And just wait until you see him in the boxing ring. Heh.
Mr. Caption: Spidey was just swinging along, singing a song, until...
Swanky Chick Pedestrian: HELP! Doc Ock robbed the bank!
We see Doc Ock walking out of the "National Bank" clutching two bags of coins (that's sad right there) like they were his long-lost children. Apparently there's only one bank in all of New York, because this is the third time the so-called "National Bank" has been robbed. But at least this "National Bank" (which I remind you again, was outlawed by Andrew Jackson in 1832) has a name that makes you think that it might actually be a bank. Reminds me that there was a time in America when you knew what a bank was, because it actually had the word BANK in its name. You deposit money, you get your 2% interest, you write your checks. It was all so simple. Now there's only two banks left in the U.S. because all others have been absorbed, and they both have 16-syllable meaningless names that give you the impression that they're doing some enormously complicated financial things with your money that they can't tell you about. Probably involving option-leveraged derivative interest exchange transfers. Or maybe goat sacrifices to Baal, for all I know.
So I bank at 1stChaseManhattanGlobalCompuFinancialCorpUnlimited, while one other friend has an account with AmeriMutualTradeMegaSecuritiesTrust, and my other friend has given up on money entirely and just barters for groceries with back issues of the Incredible Hulk. Issue 340 alone can get you two 15 ounce sirloins and a bottle of wine, if you're interested.
Enough ranting about banks, back to the story.
Mr. Title: Part 1 - The Harm From the Arms!
Man, sometimes I wonder if the writers are totally rat-faced on cheap vodka when they write this stuff, because how can you write a story called "The Harm From the Arms!" in earnestness and not wake up passed out on the bathroom floor in another city's bus station? I just review the stuff and I've been known to wake up bungee-corded to someone else's car bumper after a hard night of reading this.
So as Doc Ock leaves the bank with a nicely labeled "$" bag in each hand, he suddenly sees a giant Spider-Man head projected on the wall in front of him.
Doc Ock: Oh no! That signal! It can only mean... Spider-Man!
And in a surprise twist, it's actually Batman who's got a Spider-Spotlight on his belt, just to mess with criminals' heads. No, sorry for getting your hopes up, it's actually Spider-Man, he got himself a belt that lights up a picture of his giant head on nearby walls. So do the Backstreet Boys, I heard. Problem is, Spidey's projecting his enormous head on an exterior wall in the middle of the day. Have you ever turned on your flashlight outside on a bright day? No, 'cause that's pretty stupid. It doesn't do anything. "Oh, as a criminal, I am terrified by the barely perceptible faint outline of a big red circle, which could conceivably be a picto-representation of Spider-Man's head if I stop and squint."
Doc Ock sees Spider-Man standing on an adjoining roof, an impossible beam of light coming from his crotch area.
Doc Ock: You stopped my stealing the last time we met! So I promised myself that I would smash you!
Uh, actually Doc, if you'll recall, you're the one who had to go and leave a damn note telling Spider-Man exactly what you we're going to steal last time. And lo and behold, he showed up and kicked your butt like a sumo wrestler beating on a male ballet dancer. So just be sure you lay the blame where it really belongs here, Ocky. You idiot. I'm just amazed this time you were able to restrain yourself from sending Spider-Man a carrier pigeon or something telling him you were robbing the bank again.
So Ock drops his two money bags on the ground, which probably contain a whole $18 in assorted change, and climbs up on the roof and punches Spidey. (Mr. Sound Effect: BIF!) Spider-Man hides behind a chimney like a little pansy boy, and then Doc Ock says something totally hilarious.
Spidey: Those arms are bad news!
Doc Ock: Here's a front page story for you -- it's a hug you won't forget!
Hehehehehe. Jesus Doc, I knew you were a big wuss in the fighting department, but did you seriously just threaten Spider-Man with "a hug he'll never forget"? Hahahaha. Oh-oh, maybe next you could outfight Aunt May in a cuddling contest ...nah, on second thought, I bet she gives better hugs than you do.
So Doc Ock reaches his four metal arms around the chimney where Spidey is hiding, presumably to give him some kind of highly memorable embrace. Spidey ducks the arms, and them webs all four of them together at their ends. So now Doc Ock is on one side of the chimney, and all his metal arms are reaching around and bundled up by Spider-Man on the other side. Then Spidey grabs the ball of four arms, and yanks on it really hard, so Doc Ock goes slamming face first into the other side of the chimney. Hahahahaha. It's just as sweet as you imagine.
You know, I take what I said before back, Ock. Aunt May could not only beat you in a cuddling contest, she could just beat the crap out of you with her frail old woman hands. Good thing you never married her, or every week Aunt May would make you vacuum, dust, scrub the bathroom, repaint the house and give her a foot massage simultaneously while she lounges around watching Oprah. Man, you'd be sooooo whipped.
Anyway, so Spidey, using his super-agility to its fullest, becomes unbalanced and falls off the roof when he yanks on Doc Ock's arms. He lands right on the two coin-filled money bags, (Mr. Sound Effect: BUMP!) which I guess we're supposed to think had cushioned him or something, although I don't think landing on a pile of quarters is going to stop Spidey's spine from breaking, but hey. Doc Ock has somehow recovered, and walks away across the rooftops. Spidey's just sorta tired, and gives up chasing him.
Suddenly, J. Jonah Jameson, Robbie Robertson and the entire Daily Bugle Editorial staff is there, and they're all congratulating Spidey. "Great Fight, Spidey!" they say. But JJJ is not convinced, and as he's walking back to the Bugle with Robbie, he suddenly has a quite, uh, original idea.
JJJ: I'll stage a fight between Spidey and Doc Ock. We can hold it in Madison Square Garden. And I'll offer a million-dollar prize.
Um.... ok. I can just imagine his conversation with the head of Madison Square Garden Entertainment programming.
JJJ: Hello, I'm J. Jonah Jameson, a powerful newspaper publisher, and I want to stage a fight between dangerous super-people tomorrow night.
Madison Square Guy: Um, well, actually, the Knicks have a game tomorrow night. They're playing the Detroit Pistons in a nationally televised NBA game. It's been sold out for weeks.
JJJ: Didn't you hear me? I'm a POWERFUL NEWSPAPER PUBLISHER. I could have your entire family deported to Russia as Communist spies and personally strangle you to death as a traitor and still be acclaimed a hero.
Madison Square Guy: Jesus, alright alright, don't get all worked up. You can have the damn Gardens tomorrow, oh, I'll just go tell the Knicks and the fans and NBC and the Pistons that the game's going to have to be on the half-court over at P.S. 129. The basket doesn't even have a net and it only seats 24. Oh, I bet they're all going to love that. Damn you conniving newspaper publishers!
So, by whatever mysterious means, JJJ books Madison Square Gardens for tomorrow for a super-powered boxing match. How to convince Spidey and Doc Ock to show up? He gets his secretary to write the following on the back of a business card. "Dear Spider-Man/Doctor Octopus, I invite you to fight Doctor Octopus/Spider-Man in Madison Square Garden. Prize: one million dollars. - J. Jonah Jameson" Then he sends a delivery boy to go give them to Doc Ock and Spidey. Uh-huh. That'll work, since dangerous super-villains on the run always put the address of their secret base in the phonebook.
And what's JJJ's motivation for all this? It can't be cheap to book Madison Square Garden (at least a million dollars) and then he's also offering a separate million dollar prize. He thinks, "No matter who wins, the city will be rid of one more costumed creep." Uh, well, no, not unless it's a cage match to the death or something, and it isn't. And for 2 million dollars in the 1970s, I guarantee you could just hire some skilled persons named Vito to whack both Doc Ock and Spider-Man, and rid the city of both of them forever. Hell, I'd do it for $2 million back then. Nowadays, though, I'd have to charge more like $5 million. Inflation, you understand. I mean, new comics cost $2.99 apiece! I've got a habit to support here.
So JJJ (somehow?) gets it all set up. We zoom in outside Madison Square Gardens on the big day. Thousands and thousands of people are lined up. It's sold out. And there's a guy in a pinstriped suit and a bowler hat selling large balloons shaped like Spider-Man's head. You know, I think I've had enough with the giant disembodied Spider-Man heads all over this story. Really.
Also outside the Gardens, another guy in a pinstriped suit is (seriously) selling little pudgy wind-up Doctor Octopus action figures. JJJ must have some serious contacts in the marketing and manufacturing industry. Spidey himself doesn't get any action figures, but JJJ convinced someone to make and sell action figures of an overweight criminal 'genius' with four metal arms who plans to rob a bank and steal less coinage than a toll booth makes in twenty minutes. And then drops it. I can imagine what fun this would be for a kid. "Hey, look at me, I'm Doc Ock, la la, oh whoops, I tripped over my own stupid arms, now I fell in a bowl of oatmeal. Ah, this sucks. Mom, I'm going outside to dig for worms."
So inside the arena, the "excitement is building". Yes, I'm positively quivering with excitement. Doc Ock is sitting around, wearing a green boxing robe, being interviewed by some damn fool TV guy who looks like a young Walter Cronkite. Then Ock grabs the TV guy's microphone, snaps it in half and tosses the guy into the crowd. Then after he recovers, the guy sees Spider-Man enter the arena, with a yellow raincoat over his Spider-suit, "and the crowd goes wild." He comes over to interview Spider-Man.
Walter Cronkite's Evil Clone: So if you win, Spidey, what will you do with the million dollars?
Spider-Man: I'll use the money to build a new children's day-care center.
Okay, that's all well and good, but for a million dollars in 1974, this single day-care center better have robotic nannies and a movie theater and toilets that thank you for using them, or the construction crew ripped you off big time, Spidey.
So Spider-Man climbs into the boxing ring in the center of Madison Square Gardens, and says, "I must beat Doc Ock to make him go straight!" Yeah, I was kinda wondering about that myself. There's only so wussy Doc Ock can be before he actually becomes gay. Thanks for clearing that up, Spidey. Oh, and setting a great example for the kids, too. "Hey kids, if any of you're friends act kinda gay, just beat on them for a while! That should scare them straight."
*Sigh* So Doc Ock climbs in the ring, the referee (who for some reason is a 16-year old girl dressed up like a cowboy - don't ask, I don't know), she rings the bell, and the fight begins. Like ESPN Sportscenter, I'm going to spare you all the boring stuff and go straight to the highlights.
Ok, since that failed, I'm just going to have to tell you about the boring parts. Doc Ock gets off a lucky second-left-from-the-top, and knocks Spidey down. The Western-Style-Referee-Girl starts counting, but Spider-Man gets up before 10. Then round 1 ends. Then it's a montage sequence of the other rounds, Spidey shoots webbing, Doc Ock rips it up, etc. Ock punches Spidey, Spidey clocks Ock a good one right in the kisser, etc.
Mr. Caption: Then in the ninth round, Doc Ock starts to fight dirty.
Doc Ock: Since I can't win fair, I'll win anyway I can! Time for the oil can! Ha Ha Ha!
Oh. *groan* Not ANOTHER pint-sized oil can that holds as much oil as a Liberian tanker. Yes, Ock pulls out a can about the size of his fist (and remember he has tiny womanly hands) and gives it one squirt, and suddenly the entire boxing ring is coated in a half-inch of oil. This is the third time something like this has happened. It's ridiculous. I mean, if this oil can really existed, it would be the most valuable hunk of metal on the planet. Put a quart of oil in it, out comes 23 gallons. OPEC would have a fit.
So Spider-Man of course slips in the oil, and then is completely unable to stand back up. (Spider-Man: I can't stand up!) *sigh* You're not a sixty-year old widow with osteoporosis and a broken hip, Spidey, you have Spider-freakin'-powers. Doc Ock hasn't slipped, and compared to you, he's a three-toed sloth, missing two toes.
So Doc Ock tries to crush Spidey in his lovin' arms, but Spidey's all slicked up from the oil and pops right out of Ock's grasp and then lands right on the good Doctor's back. He then grabs Ock's arms and ties them in a big bow-tie knot. And that's the exciting end of the fight. Oh, but I should let Spider-Man speak for himself.
Spider-Man: Ock, I slipped out of your hands - like a greased Spider!
You know, next time I feel like letting Spidey speak for himself, someone just slap me. So Spidey gets the trophy with a million dollars in it, and Doc Ock goes running after J. Jonah Jameson, his arms still tied up, screaming for revenge. Yeah JJJ, you really "got rid of a costumed creep" for good with this little scheme. Two million dollars well-spent. And two minutes of reading poorly spent.
Well, gosh JJJ, I'm real glad Spidey and Ock decided to show up to your little fight. Especially since Ock is wanted by the police and all. It's a good thing your messenger boy was able to find out where Spider-Man lives in a single day, since you've been trying for 30 years unsuccessfully. Be shame to rent out the Gardens, book a fight, sell 40,000 tickets, invite the networks to cover it and do interviews, and get a huge "Spider-Man vs. Doc Ock" merchandising going in toys and balloons, and have one of them not show up because messenger boy couldn't find them.
And Doc Ock should have known better than to cheat in the ring. Hasn't he ever watched professional wrestling? Only the bad guys cheat, and while they may temporarily defeat Stone Cold Steve Austin on Monday Nitro for the WWF Intercontinental Title, when Summer Slam rolls along the cheating Undertaker and Kane always get their come-uppance in the end. Yeah, my brother watches wrestling. Uh, I swear.
And, I was just thinking about this, what do the toy wind-up Doctor Octopuses DO when you wind them up? Does he try and hug your finger? Does he slam his face into the tabletop at high speed? Does he get his arms tangled into an enormous knot? 'Cause that's pretty much all he did in this story. You know, there's others who are more hilarious, but I don't think there's another villain in the entire Spidey Superverse who is quite so pathetic as Doc Ock.
2.5 webs. That much is just for JJJ being a blithering idiot.