By: Dan Slott (Writer), Ryan Stegman (Artist), Edgar Delgado (Colorist)
The Story: Spider-Ock tries to properly seduce Mary-Jane while Peter watches with absolute horror what the villainous Otto Octavius is trying to do with his body.
The Review: Dan Slott is a smart guy.
This may sound like something out of the blue and a rather weird way to start this review, but bear with me. It seems he knew right from the start all the negative hype the turn of events in Spider-Man’s life would ensue from fans. He anticipated just what the fans would hate and cringe upon in his concept of Spider-Ock and managed to do something unexpected about them. In the first issue, it was about the fact that Peter was still somewhere in there and in this one it’s all about Mary-Jane Watson.
A lot of the talk with the Mary-Jane situation going on the Internet was about if this constituted as rape, considering the situation. While Dan Slott does not take on that touchy subject in this issue, what he does with the situation is actually much more interesting. The focus of the issue being that Otto is actually courting her in different ways; one can see his frustration of never actually getting the girl as fast as he would wish to. Despite his best efforts, his methods are just too different, something noted by Peter Parker, who now acts as an unseen ghost in the series.
Adding Peter as an observer of what Spider-Ock is doing brings back the fun in the equation, serving as an unseen foil to the numerous shenanigans that Otto is doing with his body. His various reactions to what Otto is creating or interacting with are actually fascinating, showing us that there were indeed ways that Peter could have been better as Spider-Man, that he could have been superior. Many of the decisions made by Otto are actually quite surprising, both to the reader and to Peter, making for some smart and unexpected developments for Otto. The focus in this issue may not be on our villain-turned-kind-of-heroic, but he becomes quite interesting in this issue. Like I said in the previous review, this is an unpredictable comic and this makes for a strong book.
All is not perfect, though, as there are tidbits that become a little bit annoying here, such as Peter being too much of a focus in most pages. I get that he was the big reveal at the end of the first issue and that some of the spotlight should be on him, but it makes for a rather sharp contrast with the previous issue that centered only on Spider-Ock. It may sounds a bit weird, but seeing Peter react to everything Otto do makes the actions of Spider-Ock that much more interesting, making Peter kind of pale in comparison. He has become a reactionary character, unable to do anything but comment on everything he sees, while Otto actually advances the plot and the action. This does not mean that Peter is absolutely boring here, quite the contrary, but it would have been nice to get some more thoughts from Otto in certain key scenes of this issue. There’s a line that Peter says in this issue that pretty much sums it all up:
-‘’So this is it then? Me. Floating around…While you mess things up. Hit on girls. And play around with a robot butler.’’
It is bizarre to admit it, but Spider-Ock kind of grew on me in the span of two issues now that I know that Peter is still alive considering how Peter does summarize it all.
There is, however, something that kind of lowered in quality, albeit very slightly and that is the art. While Ryan Stegman manages to make some truly enjoyable actions poses and some terrific ‘’mad-genius’’ panels, there is something that was not as good as the first issue, notably his facial expressions and some of the faces in general. Some of his faces have too many lines on them, while some of his expressions are quite exaggerated. It is a style that can be used to great effects, but in some place it is distracting and perhaps a little bit too embroidered. Still, Stegman deserves some major credits for his anatomy and the liveliness of his style in this issue despite my disliking for some of the facial expressions he draws.
The Conclusion: A great issue with some good and surprising development on the Spider-Ock/Mary-Jane situation and the Peter-as-a-ghost situation. It is helped by some strong art and colorization, even though it did not reach the same level as the first issue. If Dan Slott continues to play this smartly, this will be a run to remember fondly.
Hugo Robberts Larivière