Alford Notes: Amazing Spider-Man #18 – Before Dead No More: Full Otto!

asm18coverDoc Ock is back!  Well, maybe we should say the Superior Spider-Man is back!  Well, actually we should say that the Superior Living Brain is back!  Well, we already had him.  The Superior Aiden Blaine?  Just read on, dear readers – it will be a whole lot simpler that way.

The Devil in the Details

Writer: Dan Slott

Penciler: R. B. Silva

Inker: Adriano Di Benedetto

Colorist: Marte Gracia

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramanga

Cover Artist: Alex Ross

Editor: Nick Lowe

Published: September 21, 2016


The Story – Pay Attention, This Will Be on the Test

Flashback – Superior Spider-Man, during the Spider-Verse, set his Anna gauntlet on a 100 day timer.  That 100 days expired when Parker Industries was destroyed the first time.  Ock uploaded into the Living Brain because he was concerned that if Parker ousted him once, he could do it again.  So he bided his time.  And bide he did!  Handing out tasty beverages and looking over the welfare of Parker Industries, Ock continued to wait for the perfect time to strike.

His first attempt was take on Aiden Blaine, but because his tech was designed to transfer brain waves into Parker’s head, it will not work.


Once he realizes that Aiden is useless, Ock says:


What does he mean by, “You have to go”?

He’s going to:

a. kill him and hide the body

b. wipe his memory

c. send him into the microverse

d. send him to Austrailia


Things go from bad to worse as he gets completely reject by Anna Marconi.  To round out his completely bad day, he finds out that it was not Parker who found a way to drive his conscious from Parker’s body, but he did it himself in an admission of being inferior to the real deal.

He goes berserk and Anna sides with Spidey in an attempt to shut him down, but instead he initiates a self destruct, leaving himself as just a spider gauntlet-bot until he can return as Otto once more.


What Passed:

The return of Dock Ock!  Slott can write the heck out of Ock and I thoroughly enjoyed his Superior Spider-Man run.  Every panel of Ock interaction or self reflection was spot on.

The captions for Doc Ock’s thoughts.  These were clever, funny, and captured his voice perfectly.

captions1“Cantankerous contraption”??  Worth half the price of the comic for that phrase alone.  And then we get this jem:


What just happened?  You just got friend-zoned like a champ!


The whole realization that he was not going to get Anna back was well done and with proper amounts of emotion and humor.  You feel a bit sad for the guy.  It reminded me of this episode of the Simpsons:


At the beginning of the issue, Spider-Man is talking about this being his final fight with Otto, with a little confusion on which tense to use when discussing the fight he had that is going to take place in Spock’s future.  At the end of the issue he brings it up again that this is one in many final fights he has had to have with Ock and he opes it is actually the last one.  I like it when the story writes up like.  It gives it a nice sense of closure.

The art, while not perfect, is a good match for this story.  I’m going to be sad to see Silva go.  He blends his art well with the story.  For example, Ock’s fear of being turned off is really apparent as Slott’s writing and Silva’s art tells the tale:


Plus you get little gems like this panel/page turner:

Just as the Living Brain was about to explode, he starts yelling, “Would you like to go with me in the void? Would you? Would you?


And of course, everyone is thinking what they want to hear next and Slott doesn’t disappoint:


The Living Brain’s demise is a sad one, but I think he got a proper send off in this issue.  If anyone complains about it, it would be on the premise that too many other characters have died recently.  I think that it is pretty likely that Anna will have him rebuilt, even though Peter is against it.



OOTI (Onomatopoeia of the Issue)


On a scale of 1 (POW) to 10 (BLRKBQRKPQRBLNB), BRAKOOM rates a 7



What Failed:

I don’t particularly care for Ock’s face on the screens of the Brain.  I know that I can’t really pin this on Silva since it was already established prior to his stint.  I also understand the purpose.  At first it was used to show that Ock was residing in the Brain, but here it is used to show emotion.  To this purpose, Silva does a good job, but I would rather just had them distort the face of the robot a la Wall-e.

While I really have enjoyed Silva on this title the last two issues, his Peter Parker face still doesn’t look right.  I haven’t been able to really recognize Peter Parker in quite a while in the story or the art.  Here is Silva’s rendition of Otto as Peter:



spideycomicAll in all, I really enjoyed this book.  It is the follow up on what has been happening to Otto that we have been waiting for.  The only frustrating thing about this issue is that Spider-Man once again is a side character.  This time is warranted.  We need to get Otto’s story and if we hadn’t had so many stories that have marginalized Peter already, this wouldn’t seem bad.  I’m getting tired of using this image for comic review on SPIDEY’S MAIN TITLE.

The other thing to consider is where is the hero element of Otto?  If I remember correctly, when he took Peter’s body, he also took on his responsibility.  There is none of this in the current iteration of Otto.  I can easily write it off by saying the transfer into the Brain filtered out the responsibility.  The story is so well told that I just cannot allow that to hinder the enjoyment of it.

Obviously my theory that a Ock will be cloned while Otto takes on a clone of Peter is looking pretty dead in the water.  I still say that it would be neat to have both a Superior Spider-Man AND a Doctor Octopus running around.

Does it get me excited for Dead No More?  No. I’m indifferent to that story.  I’m hoping it will be interesting, but I can’t say that I’m counting the days.  Do I want to find out what happens to Otto?  You bet!  If I have to put up with the Jackal to get that story, well, that may be worth it.  May.

Final Grade:


Your Turn:

What grade do YOU give it?


What’s Next?



• Someone in the Amazing Spider-Man’s orbit dies.

• Peter, once again, has to choose between being Spider-Man and his personal life and it doesn’t go well for him.

• Also, get the other side of the Spider-Man/Kingpin story from the FREE COMIC BOOK DAY story.

Extra Credit:

Look at that cover on the next issue.  We need some clarification on what is on top of the tombstone.  I have it narrowed down to three possibilities since neither Ben Parker nor Gwen Stacy’s tombstone has something on top.

  1. It’s a miniature weeping angel (explains the stare down Spidey is giving it)
  2. It’s the Wasp (probably coming in to save Spider-Man after calling him an idiot)
  3. It is Gwen or Ben’s tombstone and Alex Ross just doesn’t care.

Extra Credit for a better idea.

Bonus Extra Credit: The turn off code for the Living Brain is A4 C5 D2 E4 G3 H5 F4.  I tried to find a significance to those numbers (other than it sinking my battleship) and could not find one.   Does anyone else know of a significance?


You saw the blurb Marvel gave for the next issue.  Go back and read the Free Comic Book day Kingpin story before the next issue comes out on October 5th.



‘Nuff Said!

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(18) Comments

  1. Mohammed

    @ Enigma_2099 I'm not absolving Otto of anything, all I'm saying is, the Otto Slott brought back, is that one before issue #20, and all that stuff he did and experienced between #20 & #30 of SSM never happened to him and because of that he himself will not feel any of the responsibility over what he did between those issue and we will most likely will not see a confrontation between him and Felicia because he would have no memory of what he did to her in #20. and personally I do want her back, she was a complex character who had a lot of potential especially with her relationship with Spider-Man/Peter, which for some reason Marvel wasn't able to utilise, so they take the easy way out, make her a full villain, which essentially is someone just to give another character something to do, because so far I've seen nothing that justifies what they did to her.

  2. Enigma_2099

    @Mohammed I don't WANT her back. I'd be just as glad if he finally locked her up. Never liked the *****. First we absolve Stark, now you're absolving Otto? WTF is this before issue #20 stuff?

  3. Mohammed

    @Mark - What you said, I'll admit does ring true I won't deny that, so I will say you're right and while it doesn't fully convince me, I myself can't ignore what I see. and that is a character who was used to severely damage Peter's relationship with Mary Jane and Felicia, Felicia taking the worse of it. A character who could have been used to begin the repair process, can't because all that experience he went through, which might have gotten him to own up to what he did is gone and that this Ock, he never did those things. I realise I might be fixated on this. I just can't let go of the fact that Ock will never pay for what he did to them. @Enigma_2099 - Yep, because this Ock is before issue #20 he would have no recollection of doing what he did to Felicia, because this Ock never did that to her. So, now if we really want to have her back and on friendly terms with Spidey, there would have to be something really serious happening in order for Spidey to come to her aid and begin the process. Or as I hope will one day happen OMD gets reversed and this whole mess is erased.

  4. Jack Brooks

    It interests me that Slott in ASM has depicted Peter as oblivious to having died, his body stolen, his life hi-jacked, and his friendships wrecked; but Robbie Thompson in VENOM has the symbiote find out that Peter is seething with inner anger.

  5. Mark Alford

    @ Al - if the character is written correctly, does it matter if he is a clone or a copy or a whatever? I guess that will be up to each and every person, but when we were enjoying Superior Spider-Man, I don't think it took away from the story that in effect he was a copy from the Master Programmer. For me, it won't matter. If he acts like Ock, then in my mind, I'll accept him as Ock. Otherwise, we would need to keep this character dead and I think that would be a shame. I have no issue with anyone who won't take a copy version, but for me, it doesn't matter. @ Mohammed - I took your challenge and read Stillanerd's review. I love Stillanerd's reviews, but it didn't change my opinion of this issue. I put up a post there to try and convince him and so I'll put that post here to try and convince you to come back to the light: Ock had a grand finale - how many other characters go to go out the way he did? Certainly not poor Max Dillon. In the end, Ock had to admit he was an inferior version and as soon as he does that, he's gone. Deleted. That's the way it has to be. Who wants to read The Inferior Spider-Man? Bringing back that Ock now is as useless as bringing back Kraven the Hunter. Kraven achieved his goal. He has no reason to pursue Spider-Man anymore. As a result, they stuck him somewhere in the Savage Land I believe. If Slott found a way to bring back that Ock, well, he would be nothing more than a sidekick to Spidey. At best, he would convince Anna to come back to him and they would move off to Ohio never to be seen again. At worse, he becomes an employee at Parker Industries always whining about how he isn't what he could have been. However, Slott brought back the Otto right before that realization. The Otto that we all loved in Superior Spider-Man. And to make matters better, for all intents and purposes, it is the exact same Otto. That means that the potential for this understanding is still there. All Otto would need is for the love of Anna to help push him in that same direction. But that would be a rehash. Instead, events will be different and will push this Otto in a different direction. The events of #20-30 still exist. They still matter. When Anna dies or betrays him or whatever she is going to do different this time around (I personally think she will accept him and then be killed as an indirect result of Spider-Man's meddling), the events of #20-30, the proof of what Ock could have been, will make his descent all the more powerful. So for me, we didn't lose anything. We still have that AND the villain Ock back. That's the best of both worlds. Did I convince you?

  6. Al

    Lemme pose a the 1990s Doc Ock made a digital copy of his mind before Kaine killed him. This was known as the Master Programmer. When he was resurrected this digital copy of his mind was uploaded into his newly ressurrected body hence he didn't know who Spider-Ma was. In Superior Spider-Man that copy of Doc Ock's mind in his original body made ANOTHER digital copy of itself which was uploaded into Peter's body and that copy became the Superior Spider-Man. And now, as we all predicted, in Spider-Verse that copy made yet another copy of itself. And then that copy decided it wanted to be uploaded into the Living Bran maybe making yet another copy. And we all strongly suspect that Doc Ock will get a new clone body for himself which is going to house his mind. So, bearing all of that in is this or the charcacter who's going to be in Clone Conspiracy Doctor Octopus? Because he is probably going to have a clone body housing a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of his original mind. How the hell is that the actual character at that point and not just basically a clone.

  7. Mark Alford

    @ Mohammed - Arrgh! I read your retraction after I posted the other comment. Well, you don't get off that easily. We have it in writing that you give it your highest recommendation! I believe it went - "I, Mohammed, give this issue an A+ and it has made me a life long supporter of all Slott's Spidey stories." That may not be a direct quote... I'll read Mike's review, but I doubt it will have too much of an effect on my viewpoint. I don't buy that nothing between #20-30 matters because it still happened. Just because the Ock we get is a deviation off of the Spider-verse one doesn't mean that none of the other stuff happened. It's like when they came out with the Captain Marvel book by Peter David that was when he time jumped into our future just before he died. It didn't mean that none of the parts of his death didn't matter, they still happened, it's just that this Captain Marvel had not experienced it yet. I'll give his review a read. I respect Mike's thoughts even when he disagrees with me.

  8. Mark Alford

    @ Enigma_2099 - Yep! I agree with Jack - I'd buy a Slott Ock book. @ herbiepopnecker - Crawlspace odds - 10% @ Mohammed - You agree with me? That's it! BD, I'm tendering my resignation. There is nothing left for me to conquer. Wait! I take that back. If Berryman agrees with me, then I'll be done. :) That is a good point you made about remembering which Superior Ock we are dealing with. @ Jack - Wow! I didn't even think of Anna being dead. That would be a twist. I hope you're wrong and that Alex Ross just didn't care (or that herbiepopnecker is right!). @ Phantom Roxas - I'm going to have to go back and re-read that bit where Ock takes on all of Peter's memories. I'm pretty sure (but not 100%) that he does take on some, but not all, of Peter's responsibility guilt trip. Sure he perverts it to serve his own means, but it's there pushing him in that direction - one of the reasons he decides to be the better hero instead of using these new powers for pure evil. But I may have misread that. I did make a mistake back in college and it is possible for me to make another one, I'm sure. We will lose some character development, but I never really thought it would stay anyway. I will have to disagree with on Anna - more on that later in this reply. @ mrread7 - He does have a lot of passion in this. It shows. His friendzone panels were spot on and I felt bad for the guy. I don't think Anna is over him. I think they are just Shakespeare's star crossed lovers. She loves Otto as he was when he loved her. Once Peter was back, she lost those feelings. It was hard, because Peter was in the body that Otto was in, so her eyes fed the heart, but without Otto, it just wasn't right. Later, she becomes very attached to the Living Brain, which I feel is because on some level, her heart senses Otto. So Anna is not over Ock. She loves him and is just having problems with dealing with who he is/was without her. The perfect way (and I don't want this to happen) for Ock to be full blown villain is for her to finally accept him and die because of the fight with Jackal and Spider-Man. If Spider-Man defeated the Jackal once and for all, then there is no way for New U to bring her back and it will be all Spider-Man's fault and Ock will then go 'Full Otto' on him.

  9. Mohammed

    Hey Mark I’m going to have to change my stance on this a little, while I do still agree with what you said, after reading Mike’s review over at What Ever A Spider Can, he said a few things I missed, and it made me revisit the type of grade the issue deserves and in my opinion that is a C+ why, because of the many holes in the issue, which were pointed out by Mike, plus the fact as Mike said, everything Slott did in Superior from 20-30 means nothing now, which means that what happened to Felicia and Mary Jane is even more of a bitter pill to swallow. Since he won’t have any recollection of it or feel responsible for what he did to them. So thanks Dan for another twist of the knife. The gist of it is, what this issue shows, is that like #17 Slott can write an ASM book, as long as Peter/Spider-Man isn’t the main focus. Mike's Review

  10. mrread7

    I actually enjoyed the issue too. However, it also shows that when Slott writes about something he really wants to do: "Silver Surfer Dr. Who Fanfic" Dr. Octopus, 3D Man, ect. He is spot on. Even though the story will still have flaws. It is well done. Too bad he can't do that with the main character of this book. I even like how he has brought Anna Marie full circle with this issue too. Otto was "friend zoned" perfectly and it was basically showing that when it all comes down to it. It was Otto's intelligence and how he treated her she was in love with, not who he was.

  11. Phantom Roxas

    "The other thing to consider is where is the hero element of Otto? If I remember correctly, when he took Peter’s body, he also took on his responsibility. There is none of this in the current iteration of Otto. I can easily write it off by saying the transfer into the Brain filtered out the responsibility." He didn't take on his responsibility. The goal of Superior Spider-Man was that Otto only saw "responsibility" as a means to an end. He perverted Peter's motto and could not see beyond trying to one-up Peter. Sounds like this confirms what I had already suspected. The Otto Octavius who went through all his character development in Superior truly died in Goblin Nation, so this is nothing more than a mental duplicate. Everything that happened after Necessary Evil never happened from his perspective. A major concern I've seen people have is that Otto will go back to how he used to be before Superior, and this does exactly that. My theory has been that, after leaving the Living Brain, Otto is going to take over the cloned body that the Jackal has created, which means Doctor Octopus will be completely replaced in both body and mind. At least Anna Maria finally accepts that she doesn't want to be with Otto anymore.

  12. Jack

    P.S. I sure hope the tiny angel, combined with Anna claiming that Otto would never hurt her, doesn't mean that Anna is about to get killed.

  13. Jack

    Give Slott a "Superior Doc Ock" on-going, and put Robbie Thompson on ASM! Slott would really enjoy that, and we would get Peter back.

  14. Mohammed

    Mark, you might what to check outside to see is if either pigs are flying or hell just froze over, because you're not going to believe what I'm about to say, I, agree, with, you ugh never taught I'd say those words about a Slott book but I think I know why I said them, it's because of Otto, when ever Otto is in the book Slott seems to put a lot of care and attention into it, showing that he can actually write, if he's motivated enough, and Otto seems to bring that out of him. and for those that might have missed it, this Otto is the Otto that didn’t experience what he did after he got back from the future, this one didn’t do that Felicia, didn’t experience Venom or the Goblin Nation, non of it. So to him with his narcissism and feelings of superiority would never be able to fathom being able to do what he did to save Anna.

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