90’s hero Sleepwalker returns to rescue Octo-Spidy from possession by a Fear-Worm.
Avenging Spider-man #19
Writer: Christopher Yost
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Art: Paolo Riveria
Spoilers to follow after the break:
The Plot: Octo-Spidey wakes up in the middle of the street. Ock is confronted by a jumble of images such as losing his glasses as a child, Aunt May in a wedding dress and Ghost Peter trying to reclaim his body. Then an enormous octopus descends from the sky and starts uprooting the city and Ock realizes he is having a nightmare.
Meanwhile in the real world Sleepwalker (who had a solo title in the early 90s that I never read but as his name implies apparently deals with dream-related hocus pocus) is battling Spidey’s sleeping body. Sleepwalker takes a beating while trying to wake Spidey up.
Back in the dreamscape Ock is flashing back to being beaten as a child by his father. Sleepwalker’s human form appears to chase Ock’s dad off and makes contact with Octo-Spidey.
In the real world Sleepwalker is trying to exorcise a Fear-Worm from Spidey’s body but fails because it is too strong from feeding off Ock’s fears. Sleepwalker clues Octo-Spidey into how the Fear-Worm’s possession works but Ock is still losing to the monster in his dream, while Sleepwalker himself is losing to Spidey in the real world. And then just as Ock’s persona is about to be swallowed up he finds the strength to triumph over his father by embracing being Spiderman now instead of Otto Octavius. This expels the Fear-Worm into the real world where Sleepwalker disintegrates it with some eye lasers.
Octo-Spidey yells at Sleepwalker for not living up to his responsibility to patrol the dream world from worms. Then in the epilogue Ock wonders why Ghost Peter felt more real than the rest of his dream.
Critical Thoughts: I don’t have much to say about this one. I never read Sleepwalker’s solo title and if this is what his stories were like I don’t feel like I missed anything. I’m not really a fan of dreamscape stories anyway to witness any Dr. Strange vs. Nightmare story ever. And here the villain is even less interesting than Nightmare as it is just some random parasite without much motivation. Overall just not my cup of tea.
I suppose the flashbacks with Ock and his dad could be an interesting character moment but I just read the Jenkins-Ock trade last week that dealt with a lot of the same material in Ock’s childhood and it was better done. And really overall doesn’t every Spidey villain have an abusive dad at this point? The moment where Ock embraces being Spidey to triumph over both the villain and his fears of the past is a nice one, but otherwise this comes across as a throwaway issue.
Grade: C-. It’s not actively terrible but it is rather forgettable.