By: Dan Slott (Writer), Ryan Stegman (Artist), Edgar Delgado (Colorist)

The Story: Otto Octavius fights Peter Parker in his mind to see just who shall inherit the body of Peter Parker and the actual role of Spider-Man.

The Review: Wow…

Okay, I cannot discuss this issue without giving away a lot of story details, so be warned, for there is SPOILERS here.

When Dan Slott said there would be a lot more hate for him with this issue, he was certainly not kidding at all. With the result of this, dare I say it, absolutely epic battle in Peter Parker’s mind, being completely bonkers, it is hard to see just how much guts Slott has as a writer.

The issue begins by dealing with the tease of last issue right there, with Otto having discovered that the memories of Peter Parker had a life of their own inside his brain. Peter, being in his brain, even began to have some sort of control over his body, so to make sure he does not become a major problem, Otto decides to wipe him out from his brain entirely. What happens then is something that is masterfully told as we one more fight between Otto and Peter, this time in the very mind of Peter and Otto.

Slott use this very concept to its fullest as we get to see the positive emotions fight the negatives emotions throughout proxies from the life of Peter Parker. Here, friends and family represent the positive side as they fight against Otto, while the negative one are represented by the various villains of Spider-Man, used by Otto to fight back. The sheer conceptual and great use of the Spider-Man lore here is astounding, as familiar faces fight against other familiar faces for the high prize of existence.

This work on so many levels, it is uncanny. It is both a huge homage to the Spider-Man mythos, a genuine battle between Otto and Peter, a reflection on Peter’s life and the many decisions he took, all during a huge battle filled with incredible ideas. Even the way they talk to each other during the conflict is fascinating, with both characters giving their opinion of each other and their way of doing thing as Spider-Man. While the contrast between the two characters had always been clear, it is nonetheless even clearer when the two characters actually discuss it as they fight.

However, the big thing that will divide the fans and cause a lot of grief for many against Dan Slott is something that is actually genuine. It is not something silly like a change of outfit or something minor like that. Basically, what happens here is that Otto wins the fight. As they continue fighting, Peter’s memory are erased with each passing second, which makes him lose the will to fight, to even continue as he is beat down by Otto as he is told just why he didn’t do such a nice job as Spider-Man after all. It is a strong and depressing moment for Peter fans, to be sure, as he just ceases to be from Otto’s mind.

I will get some hate for saying this, but I am actually very interested in what will happen right after that. With Peter gone, we have close to no idea where this series will go or what Otto will want to do now that he knows Peter will no longer be in his way. While this may be a rather shocking development, it is nonetheless a sound one with plenty of potential for both Otto and this series in general.

What’s much less shocking here would be the fact that Ryan Stegman’s art is absolutely superb here. The way he draws the background, which is the mindscape of Peter Parker, is a work of genius. Whether in the actual backgrounds, the presentation of the panels or even some of the repetition of certain key scenes, Stegman shows he is inventive and energetic, letting the characters with their poses and their action tell the story fluently, working perfectly with the script. Where he truly excels, however, would be the action. Here, you believe in the impact of each blow that is landed, you believe in the efforts and the pain that are shown in the characters face. Something that can be said about Stegman is that his characters are very expressive, yet without being overly cartoony or exaggerated, which is a nice bonus in such a heavy story like this one.

Another nice bonus here would be found in the form of Edgar Delgado’s coloring, who really up the ante on the whole importance and weirdness of Peter own mind. The eeriness of the background is elevated by the importance of the colder colors like grey and green, which are two colors that are dominating the whole issue, giving the issue a sense of heaviness in sense of themes and importance.

The Conclusion: While this may lead to some anger for a lot of fans, it cannot be said that this was not a very well crafted issue. With actions, development, twists, analysis and so much more going on along with the amazing art of Ryan Stegman, this issue misses no beat in making people invested in the conflict shown. I, personally, cannot wait to see where this will lead.

Grade: A-

Hugo Robberts Larivière