Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #20 Review: The Bogenrieder Perspective

Doc Ock back from the dead, as seen in Clone Conspiracy #1?! Wow, it’s almost like I don’t care! But, wait, says Brad! You’re contractually obligated to review this issue! Drat, I say! I must finish this review or I lose access to the Crawlspace-mobile! To the Critic Cave!

Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #20amazing_spider-man_vol_4_20_bianchi_variant

“Spider-Man’s Superior” (AKA Slott’s Doc Ock Fanfiction)

Writer: Dan Slott

Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli

Inks: Cam Smith

Colors: Jason Keith

Editors: Nick Lowe and Devin Lewis


Our story is essentially one big flashback explaining how Otto Octavius came back from the grave. We learn that after escaping from Parker Industries in Issue 18, he jumps a truck headed for the Potter’s field where he’s buried (Was it already headed there or did they redirect it there? Either way, let’s look at the convenience levels? Ah, they’re reaching Spider-Verse levels!) and realizes that his corpse is gone. (Called it! I called it!) He hijacks a worker’s phone and finds out that people in Symkaria are planning to buy it to stuff and mount. (Boy, Sable might wanna look into what’s going on in her land. Oh, wait, she’s dead. I think…) and redirects the purchase to New U. The Warren clone brigade come and collect it, ableit with a little misdirection, but they eventually come to an agreement, with the Kingpin’s spy listening in.

Once at New U, Jackal proceeds to reanimate Otto, with CloneMarla asking how it works (Damn, that’s a really lame way of saying “Exposite to me, oh great magical Slott.”) Otto breaks through and attaches himself to the clone, (Jackal specifically calls it a clone. This is important. Or simply editorial error, I don’tscreen-shot-2016-10-23-at-12-37-15-am care) fighting Peter Parker’s brainwaves in the process. (It took me five tries to figure out how to write that. That’s how lame it is.) Otto reawakens, and Slott manufactures some brief yet manufactured drama by having the Anna Maria AI die (Well, it’s an AI. Just because the power runs out doesn’t mean she died. That’s  not how things work.) Otto reclaims the title of Doctor Octopus, and agrees to help Jackal perfect the cloning process as we come back to the present. (I thought you specialized in cybernetics?! Since when did you become a geneticist? Was this during the Clone Saga?!)


Okay, so after my incredible lack of investment towards Clone Conspiracy #1, what are my thoughts on ASM #20?

Once again: I don’t care. For different reasons, yes, but the same outcome remains: I have zero investment in what has happened.

Peter shows up for about two panels. At least, the real Peter in his body does. (I think? It’s confusing.) This issue can be summed up as this: exposition. Everything that happens in this issue is used to explain what happened to make way for Clone Conspiracy. Which worries me, because if this trend continues, that means every ASM release for the next two months (or possibly even longer) will essentially be glorified exposition with pretty colors so that Clone Conspiracy can continue moving at the cost of investment in Amazing Spider-Man, which should have been the host of the event rather than an over-hyped mini. But Slott has managed to play the cards so that we’re forced to pick up Amazing Spider-Man to understand what is happening. In a sick, twisted way, Slott is a genius when it comes to getting us to buy what we don’t want.screen-shot-2016-10-23-at-12-36-53-am

Camuncoli continues to perform to his usual standard, but there’s nothing on the level of the people on the Spider-satellite titles that continue to wow me with really cool shots, especially with some really clunky flashback panels and a rendition of ASM (2014) #10’s cover really dragging it down. (Javier Rodriguez and Stacey Lee have been major sellers for Spider-Woman and Silk for me, respectively, which makes Camuncoli’s shortcomings even more obvious.) The panels Camuncoli pulls off are basic, but don’t have any real “Oomph” to ‘em. (Also, Mark would probably give that “Oomph” a, what, 6 out of 10? I can do better. Get it together, Bogenrieder.) Keith David continues to be a superior replacement to Marte Garcia, because his colors have been consistent, and have yet to make me feel sick with excessive shininess like Marte Garcia.

Slott’s dialogue continues to be as cringey as ever, especially with the Jackal. His dialogue, as Mark puts it, “Falls well short of being funny.” Ock talks like a cartoon, Spider-Man talks like a cartoon,  and Anna Maria’s avatar just talks almost eerily like a devoted fangirl, which, to be fair, is probably Otto’s interpretation of her.

Once again, Doc Ock is consistently written well under Slott’s pen. Almost too well-written.

Doc Ock seems to be Slott’s pet character, the character he wants to succeed at the cost of every other established character before his reign over the Spider-screen-shot-2016-10-23-at-12-38-04-amMan character. (Superior proves this in spades.) While this is all fine and dandy, this ties into my earlier statement that declared my lack of investment. This is a Doc Ock story, where we’re supposed to want Octavius to succeed. The problem is, we’ve already had this story in Superior. The moment his story ended and Peter’s came back into the spotlight, we stopped caring about Ock, however clunkily it did end. We don’t want Ock to succeed anymore: his time as the protagonist wrapped up already.

At the cost of the main title falling short of even good, the Clone Conspiracy continues to chug along with no delay. The art is subpar compared to the satellite titles, the dialogue continues to make me feel absolutely uncomfortable around these characters, and Slott clearly wants to write a story about Doc Ock but is stuck with a character he clearly wants nothing to do with; this does nothing to help the issue’s case. With the solicits pointing to yet even more glorified exposition in the future, it’s made one thing clear: the next few months will be painful for me.

Final Grade: C-

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(11) Comments

  1. Jack

    Camencoli gives the male characters heads the rectangular shape of shoe boxes, and the female characters top-shaped heads.

  2. Neil Bogenrieder - Post author

    RDMacQ- You'd be correct in that it landed with a dud. It's Slott, I'm not really surprised at this point. But I've been playing with where the body's gone since then, and I think when it was first revealed when Carlie fell into a hole (fitting given her departure into a big hole of nothing) I called the Jackal as one of the major culprits. But yeah, convenience for conveniences' sake. No way like the Slott way.Mark- Oh Lordy, a 4? I'll have to try harder when Kaine comes back. Maybe this'll get a solid 8- DDOOOOOOOSH!Javi- Agreed. ASM should be the premier title. Even Spider-Verse got that right, with its plethora of tie-ins.As for my last stellar artist... that's a tricky one, because there's been a plethora of really good ones. I rule out Camuncoli because his art seems to stem closer to the house art style, and it really clashes with some of the stylization that I enjoy, but Ramos steers too far on the opposite extreme (everybody can agree on that at least.) I'd have to say my favorite of the Slott-era has to be... Caselli, because he did an amazing job of mixing realism with stylization, and he's the only reason I'm picking up the new RiRi Iron Man title. As for my most recent stellar artist in the last year, Silva without a doubt. He managed to bring a sense of fun and emotion to the characters, not to mention that while he and Caselli have radically different art styles, they both achieve a sense of stylization, but his expressions always felt more cartoony to me, which isn't necessarily bad.

  3. Javi Trujillo

    Great review, Neil! I agree, the Amazing Spider-Man title should shine brightest out of all the Marvel books! Who was the last stellar artist on the title for you?

  4. Jason

    *shrugs*Usually I get an e-mail when something new is posted. The only thing I've seen lately is the Sunday comic strip.

  5. Jason

    Since e-mail is required in order to post, I'm pretty sure it's listed. Granted I'm two months behind on Spidey, I do try to save the reviews so I can go back and read them later.

  6. Brad Douglas

    I'm not sure what you mean Jason. I installed a new plug in to replace the old one. Make sure your email is below when you write a comment.

  7. Jason

    How come I don't receive the links to reviews anymore? I don't think I've seen anything the entire month of October.

  8. Mark Alford

    "Oomph"? That's a 4 at best...I have to agree with you that this is a bit disturbing that ASM is going to only be some B title to this series. My optimism is hanging on by a thread. I feel I may have inflated my a grade a tad bit because the previous issues were so good, I really wanted this one to be the same.BD is always threatening to take away rights to the Crawlspace-mobile. I lost my privileges last month.

  9. RDMacQ

    So let me get this straight:The big mystery as to what happened to Doc Ock's body, the thing that was a major mystery left hanging for the better part of two years....Is that a bunch of graverobbers nabbed it because people want supervillain bodies for some reason, which is never mentioned until now, to which it sat around for the better part of if not more than a year (remember the eight month time skip) and it just happened to be in the process of being moved out the EXACT moment Doc needed it moved?You know, I know that stories tend to get changed in between inception and when it is time to write them, but perhaps Slott could have come up with an explanation that didn't reek so much of painful contrivance.

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