It’s not often that a comic book comes out that causes such uproar among its passionate fans. Amazing Spider-Man #700 happens to be one of those that has fans of the wall crawler all riled up. With a hefty price tag of $7.99 we get a hefty amount of content. Almost 100 pages of content are in this book. It is also virtually ad free, save for a couple of in house Marvel ads. Alright, so what's the big deal? Fair warning, it’s hard to talk about this book without talking about the “controversial” ending so be warned there are spoilers ahead.
Dan Slott has been crafting this story, dropping hints here and there over the last 100 issues. Doctor Octopus is slowly dying after receiving repeated blows to the head over the years, and has one last bit of revenge to act out against Spider-Man. Two issues ago it was revealed that Ock had switched bodies with Pete leaving our hero in the dying body of one of his greatest villains. How did Ock do this? By using an Octabot that implanted Ock’s consciousness in Pete’s body. Pete, in Ock’s body, breaks out of The Raft while forming his own “Sinister Six.” Finding the Octabot, Pete devises a plan to switch bodies. Pete tries to use the Octabot after confronting Ock, but discovers that Ock has put metal plating in his suit to block the connection. While gloating Ock starts getting flooded with Pete’s memories. And he starts to replace Pete in those memories. He starts to get overwhelmed after realizing how good of a person Pete was and changes his mind. He doesn’t want the memories, however Ock’s change of heart is too late. Pete is too fargone and is dying in Ock’s body. He tells Ock that he is Spider-Man now and passes on after telling him that “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Ock vows that he will protect those that Pete loved and proclaims himself the “Superior Spider-Man.
That’s right folks, Peter Parker is dead and Doctor Octopus is Spider-Man! Controversial??? I think not. Interesting??? I think so! It’s because of this ending that Dan Slott has been getting death threats. Let me say that one more time. Dan Slott has received death threats because of a COMIC BOOK! That’s kind of ridiculous. This won’t last forever, Pete will be back. However, in the meantime it will make for an interesting story. This is no different than Captain America or Batman dying when Bucky and Dick Grayson took over for them. When those characters switched we got some really good stories out of their books. And I’m willing to give Spider-Man the benefit of the doubt because of that. I guess I just don’t understand the outrage. Not liking a story is one thing, but people are being ridiculous.
As far as my thoughts on the book itself go, I really enjoyed it. There are some really good moments in this book, such as Pete having a near death experience and having a heart to heart with the likes of Uncle Ben and Gwen and Captain StacyI think Ock as Spider-Man will be interesting for a little while. And that’s how long it will really last, just a little while. I can’t wait to see where Dan Slott takes us in the Superior Spider-Man. The words being used to describe the book are “Dark and weird.” And where the art is concerned I think Humberto Ramos knocked this one out of the park. There are also two fun back up stories in this issue, one by JM Dematteis and Giuseppe Camuncoli, and the other by Jen Van Meter and Stephanie Buscema. You also get a cover gallery of all 700 issues of ASM and a letters page with the letters answered by Stan Lee followed by Spider-Man memories by different people in the comics industry. There is a bunch of stuff packed in this book!
Whether you get your books digitally, or from your local comic shop, you are also going to want to seek out Avenging Spider-Man 15.1 which is also out this week. It also serves as both an epilogue to ASM #700 and a prologue to Superior Spider-Man #1. From writer Chris Yost and artist Paco Medina, this issue takes a look at Doc Ock’s first week in Pete’s body as Spider-Man. We get some good moments out of this issues like Ock's revelation as to why he never beat Spider-Man, or his thoughts on Pete's relationship with Mary Jane. If you finish ASM #700 and/or Avenging Spider-Man 15.1 and you feel like you want to continue with this story don’t forget to check out Superior Spider-Man #1 which is on sale January 9th.