Avenging Spider-Man #15.1 Review

Avenging Spider-Man #15.1 coverThis was advertised as the companion piece to ASM #700 (reviews here and here).  Let’s see how much of that is actually true.

Avenging Spider-Man #15.1

Writer:  Chris Yost
Pencils:  Paco Medina
Inker:  Juan Vlasco
Colorist:  Dave Curiel
Letterer:  VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Art:  Paolo Rivera

Spidey Team-up:  um… Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius)???


Peter Parker was found wantingPLOT:  After the events in ASM #700, we follow the next five days of Otto Octavius as Peter Parker/Spider-Man.

THOUGHTS:  Full disclosure: I did not read ASM #700 (nor do I really have any intention of doing so) prior to this review, and, despite the warning in the credits page, you don’t really need to read that issue to understand what it’s going on.

The subject of the purpose of Point One issues has been discussed elsewhere, so I don’t intend to get into it here.  That being said, Avenging Spider-Man #15.1 accomplishes what it sets out to do:  sell me on the idea of a Spider-Man who is actually one of his greatest villains, Doctor Octopus.

Everything leading up to this point, from Doc Ock succumbing to cancer to his mind-switch with Peter Parker and their final battle, is recapped through Ock’s narration in the first couple of pages.  His thoughts throughout the rest of the issue are a critique of both Peter Parker and Spider-Man.  He understands what makes him a hero (“with great power comes great responsibility”).  He derides him for never being disciplined or going farther with his intellect.  He is in awe at the inate abilities of Parker’s body.  He realizes that Mary Jane is a liability, but at the same time calls him a fool for letting that woman go.  I like the duality here: despite committing himself to continue living exactly as Parker did, he fully disapproves of his wasted potential and what he’s done with his life so far.

Occasionally, his memories and those of Peter Parker get jumbled, such as when he recalls the first time he (not Parker) sewed his costume.

Peter Parker was a foolA pivotal scene then takes place.  Ock makes his way to one of his underwater bases to use his technology.  He is forced to sneak in and then battle his own machines because his security doesn’t recognize him.  If you were to remove the narration, this scene would look just like any classic battle between Spidey and Ock’s machines.  But what makes this different is that this is Ock, as Spider-Man, battling himself.  It is here that he realizes that his genius was never enough to beat Spider-Man.  After deeming Peter Parker inferior, he realizes that he himself, as Doctor Octopus, was always inferior to Spider-Man.  It’s clear at this point that he holds a certain amount of self-loathing, which will undoubtly propel him as he makes Spider-Man superior.

And because of the great characterization Chris Yost gives this Superior Spider-Man, I greatly enjoyed this issue far more than I thought I would and look forward to the upcoming issues of Avenging Spider-Man as Yost takes over writing duties for this series.  The art team of Medina, Vlasco, and Curiel did an excellent job here. Every character, every splash page, and every panel looks incredible.

Say what you will about Dan Slott (always within this site’s guidelines, of course), but while his writing efforts may leave much to be desired in the minds of the fanbase, he has developed intriguing new ideas that, in the hands of expert writers, have become surprise hits.  Flash Thompson bonding with the Venom symbiote or Kaine recovering from his degeneration and becoming the new Scarlet Spider would have sounded, well, silly a few years ago, but Rick Remender and Chris Yost, respectively, took those developments and made them into the most critically-acclaimed Spidey-related books.  I’m reminded of something Peter David said in one of the Crawlspace’s early podcasts, that good execution can turn a “stupid” idea into a great story (or something along those lines).

Doc Ock was found wantingAnd, if you ask me, I’m all for Superior Spider-Man right now.  It’s definitely not an original idea, though it seems it takes pieces from several others.  Kraven in Kraven’s Last Hunt tried to be a better Spider-Man.  Ben Reilly briefly took over for Peter Parker.  Sandman, Black Cat, Venom, Rhino, and currently Kaine have all tried to reform.  Norman Osborn posed as a hero whilst still being decidly villanous.  But, as I’ve always said, I don’t care much for these sales stunts (because I’m not that naïve and know Peter will be back) as long as good stories come out of them.  I don’t know about Slott, but I trust that Yost will deliver on the premise, given his track record.

Also, since he writes Scalet Spider, I wanna see Ock interact with Kaine, his assasin.  Fingers are definitely crossed.

FAVORITE LINE:  As Doc Ock invades his own lair, his original self appears on-screen ranting:

DOC OCK:  [on screen] You have made a fatal mistake invading the domain of Doctor Octopus!

SPIDER-MAN:  …Is that really how I sound?  Like an underwater walrus.

VERDICT:  Avenging Spider-Man #15.1 firmly establishes the future tone of the series moving forward.  Chris Yost delivers a simple yet enjoyable issue featuring a compelling Doctor Octopus as he struggles with his new identity.  The art alone makes this a must-buy.  4.5 Webheads out of 5.

SHAMELESS PLUGS:  Follow me on Twitter (@2BitSpecialist)!  #TwoBitSpecialist

~My Two Cents 

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(14) Comments

  1. Castle

    I actually really liked this comic. I really really hated the 700 issue and that whole storyline and I won't be purchasing superior, but this comic makes me want to buy the next avenging spider-man. Simply because the only interesting thing about spidey-ock is the interactions with him and the rest of the marvel Universe and since this is the team up book this is where to find that. The art was amazing and I hope they keep that team for future avenging issues, also really hoping kain makes an appearance for a team-up cause that would be a good issue. Really just want amazing spider-man back but till then I'll just pick up avenging and drop superior.

  2. Symbiotic_€vO

    Wonderfull review, apparently the potential of the new status quo is very well exploited by Yost, i felt heartbroken after 700 (Still am) but this Issue really helps to deal with the consecuences. Ock is staring to show some promise in this SSP thing and I share your expectation of a meeting between Spider-Ock and Kaine. Just like Peter David said this could give us many interesting histories, I hope Slott can follow properly the path that Yost set up in this one

  3. Scuzz

    I broke down and bought a digital copy just to see the explanation of the changes in the costume; the changes to eyepieces I get, but what is the purpose of the claws on the gloves and boots? Or is that just something to be revealed at a later date? Nice offensive weapon if nothing else. The last storyline to bring me back to buying comics on a regular basis was the Clone Saga; this has the potential to do it as well. Or I could just wait and buy the trade when they inevitably bring Peter Parker back in time for ASM2.

  4. Nick MB

    Yes. Thought this was an excellent issue, I actually liked ASM #700 too for its plot purposes, but this did a great job of making it clear how the "shared sense of responsibility" idea will work going forward. They might've won more people over by putting this story as the back-up to ASM #700 instead of the usual filler. Came out of this even more exciting for both Superior Spidey and the accompanying issues of Avenging.

  5. Aaron Romero, Jr. - Post author

    @Roxas - Let me apologize to you because I got carried away and there actually wasn't a free code given away in the issue itself. I'll let you know how later on, but allow me to make this up to you.

  6. Phantom Roxas

    Well, anyway, good to here that this at least tries to sell people on the idea of Otto as Spider-Man, and despite it not being a typical team up, that's why it works as a Point One issue.

  7. Spec Spider Fan

    Great review..still don't like the switch idea as redemption minded or not..Ock is a killer and a reprehensible villian who killed a truly good man to inherit his kingdom. Artwork, storytelling, both are excellent qualities that do not supercede the fact that an iconic hero was eliminated in a base manner and a legacy/dynasty of excellence has been diminished..my two cents....:(

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