Based on the recent preview it looks like we’ll have another Spider-Man clone saga on our hands soon. And what would a clone saga be without Superior Spider-Man AKA Doc Ock (SpOck) at the helm? This issue appears to be starting that story, but is it good?
Amazing Spider-Man #18 (Marvel Comics)
So what’s it about? Check out the preview, or read the official Marvel summary:
BEFORE “DEAD NO MORE” marches you closer to the Spider-Event of 2016. THE MOMENT YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR HAS COME! Doc Ock has been trapped in the body of The Living Brain since the first issue, but now it’s time for him to act!
Why does this book matter?
Dan Slott has without a doubt written the longest stretch of Spider-Man I’ve ever continually read and for good reason; he’s managed to twist the drama around and around, consistently playing with and changing the character to make him feel fresh. On top of that there’s always humor mixed in too, a Spidey must! He’s joined in this issue by artist Giuseppe Camuncoli (who recently wrote the Civil War II tie in!).
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue will evoke Superior Spider-Man vibes due to it centering on Doc Ock’s awkwardly triumphant return; his ex girlfriend is Anna Maria, a current employee of Parker Industries who is well aware her boyfriend was controlling Peter Parker’s mind. Slott deftly navigates the somewhat complicated backstory by opening with a recap of sorts from Spider-Verse and dropping key details through dialogue and Doc Ock captions. The biggest revelation in this issue is Anna Maria’s thoughts on her relationship with Dock Ock, but also the new direction Ock is taking to get his revenge.
If you were a fan of Superior you’ll probably love the Doc Ock captions as they capture the classic verbose villain in all his old school talking charm. There are quite a lot of captions in this issue, partly because Doc Ock is still inside a machine, but also to get through a lot of the exposition that sets up his journey. Plus, in customary Doc Ock fashion the character lets his emotions cloud his judgement and his plans don’t go so well.
The art by Camuncoli is good, even when the chaotic fight sequence gets well, chaotic, you can still follow the action. Camuncoli is always very good at juggling lots of dialogue or captions – a customary element of Dan Slott’s comics – making them a breeze to read without much slow down in pace.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This issue offers two major scenes, but both feel like false starts due to how they conclude. Slott certainly reminds us of how insane Doc Ock was – and by extension how being Spider-Man made him a better person – but he’s so bumbling in this it’s hard to have any respect for him. Since his plans go awry much of this issue is a long opening salvo to Doc Ock’s inevitable journey back into a body, but it doesn’t serve as a start, but a intro to the start of something. That makes the issue feel less necessary and overall an experience only Superior Spider-Man fans might find truly enjoyable.
I think the Doc Ock faces are going to give you away bud!
Is It Good?
Superior Spider-Man fans must read this issue. It captures the voice of Doc Ock incredibly well and sets into motion events that feel like the continuation of where we left off with that series. Overall it feels like a false start though as it doesn’t push a new story forward so much as introduce it.