By Slott, Camuncoli, Dell, Fabela and Eliopoulos.
THE PLOT: Just as Robbie Robertson is welcoming Betty Brant on returning to the Bugle, Stunner attacks in an effort to get Spider-Man’s attention so she can beat him to death. Meanwhile Peterpus is planning revenge on his own after Dr. Lamaze outed his doctoral thesis as being a rip-off of Otto Octavius’ work. Elsewhere, Carlie pays “Otto”‘s grave a visit and mourns Peter’s death before she’s captured by Menace.
LONG STORY SHORT: SpOck’s octobots deactivate Angelina Brancale’s VR device and present the image of 90s Doc Ock to satisfy her. Ock uses the image holographic image to convince Lamaze that Peter’s thesis is a work of his own and that he was behind all of Otto’s initial research with cybernetics. All’s well that ends well, except that Carlie Cooper is now a hostage of the Green Goblin, who gleefully reads her notes about Peter and Ock’s brain-switch.
MY THOUGHTS: I have to say that Slott’s really hit his stride with this book. Every issue’s had it’s ups and downs, but since #12 or so Slott’s been banging out solid issue after solid issue with such consistency that it’s made the title truly enjoyable to read. This is another good one, with the plots and sub-plots deftly weaving in and out of the central focus with the right amount of craft and intrigue that keeps us invested. The plot contrivances show up when they need to, but they’ve not been as outrageous and can be missed when not thinking too deeply.
I’m not sure how much I can say about this issue other than that it was well written and drawn. Camuncoli won’t be my favorite Spidey artist anytime soon, but I might like his work more than Stegman’s due to how he has a stylistic consistency that becomes appealing with the right inker. His Spider-Man artwork in particular is really fun to look at, and he’s gotten good at drawing the web-slinging. I also marveled at his take on the 90s Doc Ock. It was a terrific blast from the past that looked good and still contemporary. I can see the appeal of the Romita-era Ock with the flashy green suit, but I’m surprised the slick white suit wasn’t used outside of the 90s, as it still looks awesome.
Writing-wise, Slott’s pacing reigns supreme when juggling several plots and advancing them in interesting ways. Anna Maria is a character who’s yet to be anything but fun, and Spider-Ock’s moment of recognition at how she “understands [him] like no one else has ever..” done has it to where she may be Ock’s ultimate love interest. Unfortunately you can also begin to hear the ticks to her inevitable countdown of death, as I couldn’t help but think of Oksana during this scene. It would be interesting to see her interact with Peter Parker whenever he comes back, but the deeper the romance, the more tragic it’s doomed to become when dealing with super-powered characters.
I’m somewhat familiar with Stunner from the Clone Saga, but I’ve not read all of her appearances. It’s a big coincidence that she revived from her coma now rather than later, but nothing outside the realm of comic book logic. Slott pretty much ended any future appearances of her character by having Doc Ock appear alive and say “I love you but…I don’t love you.” I like that more than having her appear to have died and then return to get revenge or anything, as it’s more of a natural conclusion rather than a far-fetched one.
Finally Slott kills two birds with one stone by having the feet-dragging Carlie sub-plot and the go-nowhere Goblin sub-plot merge. Although it’s possible that she did, it seems as though Carlie’s yet to alert the Avengers and went to mourn at Peter’s tombstone instead. What an idiot. No sense of urgency whatsoever. However the final scene may give an indication as to who the Green Goblin may be. Menace presents Carlie to him as someone he’s familiar with. Possible candidates that spring to mind are Vin Gonzales and Harry Osborn. I’ve not read all of BND, so I’m unsure if Norman has ever met Carlie before, but in the way Menace spoke to him it sounds like it’s someone who’s close to Carlie in a big way.
Overall I can’t think of anything in this issue that I didn’t like. A very solid effort by Slott and the gang, another one in a growing list of hits in a row.