Little 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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:
Black 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-
Spider-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. “