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Comic Book Review: The Amazing Spider-Man – Dying Wish (#698-700)

By Adam Basciano

Amazing Spider-Man #700 Cover

“The end of Spider-Man’s world begins when Doctor Octopus discovers who Peter Parker really is. Doctor Octopus has hours left to live. He knows Peter Parker’s secret. He has no master plan–all he wants is vengeance. Which members of Spider-Man’s rogues’ gallery will heed Ock’s call to arms? Witness the final hours of Doctor Octopus’ life and his one, last, great act of revenge! Even if Spider-Man survives…will Peter Parker?” (Marvel)

What an ending!  It’s stories like this that make reading comic books such a fun experience.  I could never have imagined Otto Octavius’ final act of revenge. Using his Octobots to hack into Peter Parker’s brain, rewriting it with all his brain patterns and vice versa. In effect, transferring Peter Parker’s brain into a dying to body.  That’s a plan fitting for a mad scientist of Doc Ock’s caliber.  Each issue leading up to #700 has holy $h^+ moments.  #698 has the ending that reveals what Octavius had done, while #699 is an entire issue of Peter Parker coming to terms with his situation, and doing his best to fight his way out of it!

Amazing Spider-Man #698 - Not Anymore

The final issue, #700, is a tear jerking, action filled stunner worthy to call itself a finale to this four decade long series.  Tears were flowing two different times during the reading of this issues.  Peter Parker’s near death experience, where he finds himself in heaven, being greeted and praised by all those who died and he thought he had let down.  Captain and Gwen Stacy, Marla Jameson and his parents.  To ensure the right amount of waterworks, Dan Slott includes one last “call to arms” speech from Uncle Ben.  Then there’s the final fight between Spider-Man” and “Doc Ock.”  The moment where Peter Parker’s life flashes before both men’s eye’s was another tear-fest.  Octavius see’s all that Peter Parker’s been through and done, and is overcome by the weight of it all.  He realizes he’ll have to be a much better man to be both Peter Parker and Spider-Man and accepts the challenge.  Essentially its similar to Ebenezer Scrooge’s epiphany, minus the Christmas stuff and three spirits.

Art over the course of this arc was handled by two artists. #698  was drawn by Richard Elson, while Humberto Ramos drew #699-700.  I have never heard of Richard Elson, but here’s hoping Marvel uses him more on high-profile books such as this.  That page of Spider-Man swinging through the air with the high rise buildings behind him looks absolutely incredible!  On a side note, I think Mr. Elson has “The Avengers” movie on an endless loop because Captain America and Hawkeye look the spitting image of their film counterparts.  I’ve been heavily critical of Humberto Ramos over the last couple of arcs he’s drawn.  While I will never be a fan of his particular style, he’s definitely put his best foot forward with these final two issues of this title. The pages of Peter’s near death experience, and Dock Ock reliving all of Peter’s memories is his best work….EVER! I like that Peter looks more like his teenage classic looking self during his near death experience.  Also, Ramos draws a great looking sickly Doc Ock.  He’s appropriately grotesque.

Amazing Spider-Mann #700 - Memories

This is one of those story’s that will split fandom down the middle.  Fans of the character will either love it or hate it.  I’m in the love it camp. Superhero deaths have been an overused cliché after Superman died.  Batman’s death wasn’t a death at all,  if you blinked you missed Johnny Storms death, and Captain America got shot on courthouse steps.  I applaud Dan Slott for adding a twist to the standard death plot line.  Much like every other superhero death scenario, there’s a built-in back door that will no doubt restore Peter Parker in every sense of the word eventually.  In the mean time, I’ll swing along for the ride with the Superior Spider-Man.

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3 comments on “Comic Book Review: The Amazing Spider-Man – Dying Wish (#698-700)

  1. This is a great review, Adam; I’ll give you props for your eloquence and your observation, and you present a solid argument for your case. However, as someone who falls in the “Hate It” camp, I feel compelled to give my two cents worth here.

    Amazing Spider-Man #700 isn’t just bad. It’s insultingly bad. It’s a ham-fisted slap in the face to every Spider-Man comic book-reading fan out there. It’s an aggressive assault against common sense. It makes Spider-Man 3 look like Citizen Kane. It gives me the impression that Dan Slott went out of his way to write the worst possible storyline he could think of.

    For a milestone anniversary issue like this, this was the best they could do? A cheap and unoriginal Freaky-Friday gimmick?! Followed by (what I personally consider to be) a heinously disappointing ending that borders on travesty? It’s an insult to the character. It’s an insult to the fans. It’s an insult to comic books in general.

    I’m a fan of Spider-Man, but I’m not necessarily against killing him off. As they say in comic book circles, Death has a revolving door. Regardless of whether or not it is temporary or permanent, I am for giving him the send-off he deserves. IMHO, this definitely was not it.

    On a final note, I do know that there are people out there who have opposed this storyline to the point of actually sending death threats to Dan Slott. I obviously do not condone such actions. This is a terrible and immoral behaviour, one that the Web Head himself would not condone. If you really want to protest against something like this, do it with your wallet.

    Great review all the same, Adam. We may not agree our ratings for this issue, but I hope you know that your opinion is nonetheless respected.

    Like

  2. Reblogged this on I am Grayson. and commented:
    This is an excellent review. Especially since I’ve been terrible at keeping up with my comic reading, at least know I know what has happened to poor Peter Parker.

    Like

  3. Thank you both for your comments. I’m glad you enjoyed my review, whether you agreed with my opinion or not.

    Like

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