BD’s Review Of ASM 700


ASM1999700_MARTIN_var_cov_col-561amazing_spider-man_vol_1_700_steve_ditko_variantLittle Known Fact: When I started this website back in 1998 I reviewed six or seven books a month. I’d tackle Amazing, Peter Parker, Hulk and a few others. Those reviews are still hidden in the site and you can see a few of  them here. 

So after a decade break of print reviews why come back? I just finished reading Amazing Spider-Man # 700 and I had to get my two cents out there. I’ve had two reviews on the front page and both of them hated it. I also have a new video review of the book and he thought it was ok  but not great. I was then astounded when I read the book and loved it. 

Plot: Spider-Man fights the good fight, but like everyone knows….you don’t always win. 

Pros:
* This was the best issue Dan Slott has ever written. I’ve been critical of his writing before and I’ve often praised it too. However with this one I feel he captured the character to a tee which was not easy since Peter was trapped in a dying body. 

* I enjoyed the various nods to continuity from the previous 700 issues. We had Gwen and George Stacy, Richard and Mary Parker. Hell I even saw Lance Bannon in the great comic book supporting cast after-life. 

panel1* Ever since Amazing Spider-Man # 33 he has been constantly trying to lift himself up. He always tries to do the best that he can and more often that not he wins. The bad guy is carted off to the Vault and Peter goes home to lick his wounds. But this character is an every man hero.  And if you’ve ever lost in Las Vegas, had a girlfriend dump you, or went out to your car on a Monday morning to find the battery dead ,then you know that we don’t always win. 

*An appearance by Uncle Ben always gets me. It tugged at my spider-heart strings when he told Peter to “Get up and fight one more time. C’mon Peter GET UP.” Spidey was lifting himself up just like with ASM 33. 

 

mjcharacter* Slott nailed what every fan of Mary Jane has been thinking. When Doc in Peter’s body said, “That’s all you are now. The plucky best friend with the one motivational speech. What’s the point? Why are you still hanging around? ” That sums up Mary Jane since ASM 545. 

* I also loved the Face It Tiger line. Many fans have debated if Mary Jane was indeed raped in the issue. I don’t see it. I see a passionate kiss between them,but my mind doesn’t leap to rape or sex. However I do see Ock and May getting it on in ASM 698’s flashback. He wouldn’t have screamed that much over a passionate kiss…but I digress. 

* I loved Ock outsmarting Peter at every move and in the end Peter sacrificing himself out a window. As if it’s his last move he’s going to throw himself on the sword. However Ock out thinks him and creates a web cushion to lessen the blow. 

* I loved the flooding of Ock’s mind with images of Peter’s  history and the responsibility of his actions. Great throw back to 700 issues. 

Cons:
ending* The ending where Peter says “You’re Spider-Man now.” Doesn’t feel right to me. I feel with his dying breath Spider-Man would still be trying to lift up the heavy machinery. He wouldn’t give in.

I think a line like “Doc, I’ve gotten out of worse situations than this…I’ll see you in hell.”  

Or how about, 

“I don’t know how, but you won’t win…haven’t you heard..the bad guy always gets it in the end.” Ock could of said to Peter,”Didn’t  you hear? You’re the bad guy now.”  

 

Summary and Grade: I enjoyed this issue a lot. It felt like a true anniversary issue and it did what ongoing fiction wants you to do….I want to find out what happens next. There is no doubt that Peter Parker and the Amazing Spider-Man title will come back.
That journey of Peter’s return is one I want to take. I also want to go on a ride with Doc Ock behind the webs. Doc Ock has not been this interesting a character for more than 10 to 15  years. Ever since Norman Osborn came back from the grave he’s been playing a third or four fiddle. During the late 80’s and 90’s he was also pushed aside by a cool looking symbiote named Venom.  Ock has the potential to become Spider-Man’s number one villain again.   So after reading about all the outrage online, including this website about how bad this story was I was “Amazed” when after reading it the only grade I could give it would be an A. Great job to everyone involved. 

 Back Up Stories:

tumblr_me4eipZg3S1qcuzdqo1_500Black Cat: I didn’t care for the Black Cat back up story at all. The art was attractive and belonged in a storybook. It even said so in the cover credits. I thought it just felt out of place and didn’t really add anything to the book. I’ll give that one a C-

dematteis-spider-man-700Spider-Dreams: I love J. M. DeMatteis. I’d rank him as one of my top five favorite Spider-writers. This story, like the main feature, divided a bunch of fans. I just spent 15 minutes texting Kevin Cushing about it. He hated it, I loved it. What I loved about the story is the narrator.

You go through most of the story wondering who this “Martin” character is and why does he know so much about Spider-Man. You suspect it’s Peter, yet his memories are flawed. I look at is as a man who has so many memories that his brain had to start deleting the little things. He remembers the main things like his wife and children and being a hero.

One of his clearest memories was of web slinging. He’s a man that has been hit in the face almost daily and I found it only logical that his memory would be flawed when he’s a great-grandfather. But his one goal was to make his great-grandson happy and show him that “Gramps” was once the coolest hero in town. This story complimented the main story so much and I’m going to give it an A-.

 Letter Page: I’ve had my disagreements with editor Steve Wacker over the years but he hit it out of the park with this letter page. He got Spider-Man’s Co-daddy Stan Lee to reply to the fans. I thought it so nice when Lee wrote that he hoped Steve Ditko would read these letters and get a kick of them. I also thoroughly enjoyed the various comic creators and media people who wrote in about their love of Spider-Man.  I may disagree with how Slott and Wacker interact with fans online, but I don’t question their love of Spider-Man.  I’ve never graded a letters page before but it gets an A out of me. 

Discussion: This issue got people talking and that is the creators job. Sure I don’t like Spider-Man dying, but he’ll get better. I don’t like Amazing Spider-Man ending, but it’ll come back. I also suspect when it does they’ll keep Superior going with 2099 perhaps? 
This was fun gang. I have only been doing reviews on the podcast for years, but writing one is just as fun. Here’s a deal, I’ll do another one for Amazing Spider-Man # 800. Because, I have no doubt we’ll see it. Peter will keep fighting for all of us and he won’t let something like death stop him. He’ll get up again someday because he is after all “amazing. “

 

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(47) Comments

  1. snowkatt

    hate the premise utterly its a waste of time peter will be back ( cant be soon enough for me ) and id rather read the clone saga then anything with spider ock

  2. Slingspidey

    A great video review of the whole #700 business: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/the-big-picture/6686-Stuperior

  3. Rich E

    A true believer says...'Maybe it was the Ayn Rand influence.' After Ock and Spidey fall to street level in the closing scene of 700, the pair are seen in front of a globe similar to the one on the Atlas statue outside the Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. This is often associated with Rand's Atlas Shrugged and is (according to Wikipedia) often used as a symbol of the Objectivist movement.

  4. a true believer

    Slott's story is excellent. One of the best centennial issues ever, no doubt. Anyone who has read the old Lee/Ditko run knows that Pete had some tough thoughts back then ... Ock like thoughts. Maybe it was the Ayn Rand influence. Otto being Peter is a natural fit. Slott has demonstrated a keen understanding of the character that most fanboys on the net fail to grasp, alas. All this stated, Slott has a yarn to spin. And, when he's done, Peter will return ... in fact, it may be the concluding component of the yarn. Good cheers to you Mr Slott! A job well done!

  5. DocWyoming

    Good review, glad there are others who liked this issue, thanks to "A true believer", you said what I felt/thought.

  6. symbiotic

    Well, it's good to read differing opinions I guess. It does seem like a lot of people liked the issue although I'm pretty shocked to see people rank it as their favorite or second favorite centennial issue. I don't agree that it was well written, but non of Slott's run has been really well written. I have liked some of his stories, but I just can't get into this one. 700 just didn't speak to me. I have told myself a few times that I would go back and read it a second time to pick out the things I don't like about the story, but I just haven't found the motivation to read it again. I've been returning to the forums and websites to see if anyone will post anything to change my mind about this issue, but so far no luck. The artwork for the black cat story was just too bad for me to even read it. Spider-Dreams was confusing but interesting.

  7. Eddie

    BD - Before reading your review, I was absolutely dead-set against picking this up. To me, Peter Parker is more than 50% of what makes Spider-Man so great. I am one of those whose lives are not the same because of Peter Parker and Spider-Man. So, having him die? No way. But your review gave me hope that their might be light at the end of the tunnel. I want to be an optimist. And you sir, are clearly one. So, thanks to your review, I will be picking up ASM #700. Gullible fools? Maybe. But, as Duncan McLeod once said, (yes, I am quoting DM) "It all depends on where you want to spend your life." Thanks BD & SPCS Crew.

  8. Rich E

    Thank you. Probably the best review I have read on this site. It displays a deep love of Spider-Man comics, and a genuine appreciation for the problems involved in constructing interesting and progressive stories for a fifty year old iconic character. I will never understand the bitterness that comes from so many people in reaction to these stories. It is refreshing to read the words of somebody who echoes my own enduring fondness for these silly characters and their silly, but compelling stories.

  9. JT

    @Enigma: It is obvious that Slott must have been instructed by editorial to NOT set up Peter with MJ so soon even if he personally wanted to. So in a way, he was forced to write her only as "the plucky best friend with the big motivational speech". Seems slightly far-fetched, but could Otto deriding Mary Jane in #700 probably be Slott venting his own frustration over not being able to expand MJ's role in the series?

  10. ac

    I'm late to the comment party here, but in my opinion, what they've essentially done is cancelled the spiderman series to give us a doc ock series. Because i don't care what body he has, it's doc ock we're reading about not peter parker. Might be an interesting character, but not one i want to see IN STEAD of Peter Parker as spiderman. Actually, the right way to have done this story would be to have pete win in the end, get his body back, but still have doc ock in his head somewhere. Then we'd be reading peter parker spiderman stories with a twist. I would have bought that story. But Doc Ock as the protagonist instead of spidey? No thanks.

  11. Enigma_2099

    Guilt by association. If he can point it out so blatantly, why didn't he do something about it? And is this "mandate" still in place for that matter?

  12. Mike 13

    That decision wasn't Slott's fault... he came on board as one of the writers with that mandate already set up... Sheesh...

  13. Enigma_2099

    Did they even have sex? where is all this "rape" coming from? And I'm sorry, but the ending of this book just ruins the whole thing for me. It'll be easier for me to take once they bring him back... and get Ock out of his body and AWAY from MJ, but who knows how long they'll drag it out before then... "* Slott nailed what every fan of Mary Jane has been thinking. When Doc in Peter’s body said, “That’s all you are now. The plucky best friend with the one motivational speech. What’s the point? Why are you still hanging around? ” That sums up Mary Jane since ASM 545." ... and isn't that pretty much his own fault? Why pat him on the back for pointing the finger at himself?

  14. a true believer

    @#28 Agreed! ASM # 200 was the best! In fact, it is one of the most under-appreciated single issues in all of comicdom ... Marv truly hit it out of the ball park. And, yes, #700 ranks 2nd. Clearly different, but, wow, Slott delivered a huge contribution to the ASM cannon!

  15. nightbladehunter

    Thank you Brad! I made many of these same points on the other 2 reviews. Glad that someone else liked it. My copy is sitting in a bag and a board and I will go back later on and read it again.

  16. Mike 13

    In my opinion, it's the second best ASM centennial issue... right behind #200 as the best one ever! :)

  17. Jack Brooks

    This has been a problem with Spider-Man for over 5 years -- it isn't that the execution of the premise is always bad, but I don't like the premise itself. If you don't like the OMD Spider-verse, then you can recognize that certain specific stories were done well, but the permanent architecture of the series is still a turn-off. Same thing here. You can recognize that the art was grade-A, that the pacing was well done, that the voices sounded right -- but you still don't like the core premise.

  18. krankyboy

    @19 "The Other" was also rather silly. But even in that case, Marvel didn't cancel a flagship title and replace the hero with his nemesis -- who is still conveniently benefiting from murdering him and stealing his body -- while pushing the character as the all-new Spider-Man. For me, it's the premise itself that just doesn't work. Any redemption for Doctor Octopus already rings false at the outset, and simply treading water (and spending money over the course of months or years) waiting for Peter to come back doesn't make much sense either. Good review, BD, although I don't agree with your conclusions about Dan Slott's execution or the issue itself.

  19. stillanerd

    While I didn't like the issue as much as you, Brad, you did a good job making your case and make some nice points. I don't think fans saw the kiss between MJ and SpOck as rape, but rather the concern is that now that she and SpOck are together, the fear is that if MJ and SpOck do have sex and MJ still doesn't realize it's not Peter, it will technically be rape because MJ would be unknowingly having relations with Doc Ock when she thinks she's consenting to Peter. Hopefully Doc Ock, having been reformed, will not try to take advantage of MJ in this fashion but the possibility of it happening down the road is hard to ignore. I also agree with your point about how Dan Slott was voicing what fans have been complaining about MJ's characterization ever since One More Day with SpOck's put down of her.

  20. a true believer

    @19 "The Other" was never billed as a "death" story. I think most readers regard it as an evolutionary moment. The death was never seen as an actual demise. The title was never suspended. There was never any question.

  21. Sbee613

    This was a great review but a few others have said the way marvel and slott have treated Peter Parker is trash him dying in front of all his loved ones with no one knowing it was him and them cheering on who they think is spider-man makes me ill. I look forward to this series crashing and burning and maybe getting rid of this so called "biggest spider-man fan" in slott. I just know when Pete is back where he belongs I will never look on back on superior as a real thing just an ugly stain on a spider-mans history

  22. DiabeticSpidey

    This really isn't the first time Peter's been dead. Anyone remember an arc called "The Other"? I know it might be one of the stories Marvel will say didn't happen, but to me, if it's printed on paper, or digital, it happened. The difference with this "death" is Doc Ock is in Peter's body. I haven't read #700 yet, but I'm begrudgingly willing to give this thing a chance.

  23. juniormints5

    Now this was one hell of an review. Almost made me feel bad for not wanting to support the Superior series.

  24. RDMacQ

    I don't really see this as "changing the status quo permanently." Really, I think- once undone or reversed- it'd be really easy to ignore. It'd be more "Hey, remember that one time?" rather than "This affects us FOREVER!!"

  25. Douglas Ernst

    I find it interesting that in order to defend issue #700 or the possibility that Otto will have sex with MJ under false pretenses (i.e., rape), that people are resorting to arcane legal semantics. The law once said slavery was legal, too. That didn't make it right. This ending for Peter Parker was a travesty. Dan Slott doesn't love Spider-Man. He's a modern day Brutus.

  26. CrazyChris

    12 - The law in that article only applies in California. In New York I don't think it would be rape, either, after reading their rape law.

  27. Jason

    Actually if Otto and MJ had sex, it wouldn't be rape - http://news.yahoo.com/judge-law-wont-protect-unmarried-victims-rape-012941200.html

  28. Old Guy

    I wonder if Steve Ditko is actually receiving any cash in relation to the variant cover that is referred to using his name ?

  29. hornacek

    "Hell I even saw Lance Bannon in the great comic book supporting cast after-life." - he should have asked him who F*A*C*A*D*E was! I still want closure! (haha) @4 - I recognized TKWCSM too. I was pleasantly surprised that Slott didn't go out of his way to identify him with a brief summary of who he was (as he has done before with nods to past continuity). His appearance and name were enough for a long-term fan like me to know who he was. If you didn't recognize him, it wouldn't have really mattered to the overall story. BD, I agree with most of your review except for the fact that this completely changes the status quo of Spider-Man "permanently". We all know that this will eventually be reversed, but for all intents and purposes, right now Peter Parker is dead and Otto Octavius is alive in his body. For that alone, I can't give this a passing grade, no matter how well written the story was. After finishing the issue I felt like Marvel spit in my face, stabbed me in the back, smiled and told me to come back for more next month. And I have NO interest in following Otto being Spider-Man. Even if Slott hits it out of the park with every issue of Superior (and given his track record with Amazing that's not likely) I can't get behind reading an ongoing series where a villain is the main character masquerading as the hero who he KILLED! Good for an arc - sure. But as the new status quo - no way.

  30. Spider-Gopher24

    Thank you for your review BD! Your review, for some reason, actually has helped me feel better about this issue. While I agree with you on a lot of things, and I know that Peter will be back (and I hope his journey back will be one worthy of the Amazing Spider-Man), I had such a disturbed and unsettled feeling when I finished reading this issue. I don't think it's fair AT ALL that it was Ock in Peter's body to hear Mary Jane finally tell him her feelings for him, but since it is part of an overall story and narrative that Dan Slott is crafting, I'm willing to let it slide. I'm actually getting excited to see what happens with the Superior Spider-Man. I hope you wow me, Dan Slott. Best of luck!

  31. Donovan Grant

    Who's this scrub with a glowing review of #770, the book I hated? *Reads author* Oh, it's the Webmaster. Yeah, wasn't it great? I loved it!

  32. cmstimpson

    Nice job, Brad. I thought this was a great issue, and I've been following Spidey since the Roger Stern days. I loved that the kid who collected Spider-Man was referenced.

  33. a true believer

    @ Mike13: I'm jealous of the Ditko variant. I saw it on eBay on Christmas Eve ... it sold for $81.00. At the time I thought it was overpriced, well, the jokes on me. That is one comic I'd love to have. I have the regular edition and the Ramos variant. The Ramos variant is my favorite (after the Ditko). This review eases my difficulties with the response this story has evoked. I feel many fans are upset over the removal of Peter Parker and not recognizing this as an out-of-sight story. Again, the death is not ignoble - it's actually in-keeping with Peter's tragic, ongoing narrative. And, I think this sets up an awesome "return" as the 2nd ASM film approaches.

  34. Mike 13

    BTW, in regards to post #1, I was pretty lucky to get the Ditko variant, the JQ variant, the Copiel variant, the Ramos variant and both Martin variants for $400 (taxes included). The only cover I didn't get was the JQ sketch variant... I am not fond of sketch variants... I think they're dumb... but I got all those variants from my wife for X-Mas... She's pretty awesome...

  35. Mike 13

    You know... I couldn't have said it any better myself... with the pros & cons, you have echoed my feelings about this book EXACTLY!!!! Thanks for the great review... and it's nice to know that I'm not alone with my feelings. :)

  36. a true believer

    This review nails it! Although it is heart wrenching for a fan of Peter Parker to read this story, it is an honest and well crafted issue. Let me say, I'm not a fan of Dan Slott - there is much that I have disliked throughout his run, but this story hit it out of the ballpark. Some of the criticism rests on the notion that Peter died an undignified death. But this is far from the truth - in fact, one could argue that this is the greatest super-hero "death" story ever. Peter died without fanfare; no one knows he's dead; the villain is cheered, etc. But this is the genius of the piece. As this review states - the good guy does not always win. Yet, even in defeat, without the glory (the story of Spidey's life), Peter manages to score enough to make a good out of the whole tragedy. Applauds to Slott.

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