Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Richard Elson
Dan Slott run on this series has been amazing (pardon the pun) and although it has had a few bumps along the way it has been one of the best runs on a Spider-Man series for a good few years. As this series creeps closer to the 700th issue it keeps getting more exciting and interesting to find out what the big surprise will be.
This issue starts with an alert at The Raft sounding armed guards to Doctor Octopus's room where he's mumbling the words Peter Parker. Meanwhile Peter is getting on with his life after his run in with the Hobgoblins including having his work evaluation and trying to restart his and Mary Jane's relationship.
This was a good issue but after all the hype it was getting due to the cover showing Doc Ock saying Peter's name I was a bit disappointed with what was revealed. Besides that Dan Slott continues to give us some brilliant moments this time including Peter more than Spider-Man. The only thing I felt dropped the overall quality of the issue was it being a prelude, as this issue was setting up things to happen in the run up to the 700th issue more that give us a good story. If I forget the fact that this issue didn't wow me, I still think this was a good issue and like where Slott is taking Peter and Spider-Man as issue 700 closes in. Even though this issue wasn't amazing Slott still managed to add a few fun things in and some of the ideas he started in this issue were brilliant and I'm looking forward to how they develop.
The art from Richard Elson was very good and probably the most realistic a Spider-Man comic has looked in a long time. His art wasn't necessarily the best the series has seen and I much prefer Humberto Ramos and Giuseppe Camuncoli but it was nice to see something more realistic and different for a change. There were only a couple of things I didn't like about the art one very small and the other quite a bit bigger. The small thing I didn't like was the lack of emotion nearer the start of the issue. I like emotion in comics as it gives a warmer feeling towards or against a character and I feel it makes the story flow smoother and makes the story telling a lot easier. I did however like that when he did add emotion it was subtle and very well done. The bigger thing that I din't like was the continuity as Peter pointed out a cut or scar that formed on his cheek and in the next page it disappeared. Fair enough you could say his heightened strength dealt with that but I doubt it and would have preferred to have seen this continued at least into the next page if not through the entire comic.
I liked how there was a fun side added to this issue in the form of a fake villain. When I first noticed him I thought, "please don't let this be another bad attempt at adding a new villain," and to my delight it wasn't. It does however leave the door open to make this fake villain return as an proper villain who's gained something that makes him stronger so he can seek revenge on Spider-Man but I doubt it and hope it doesn't happen has it's got a high chance of failing. It also added some fun dialogue between Spider-Man and a police officer and was a good way off casually introducing Spider-Man into the issue.
Besides the question about what Doc Ock knows, there were also a few other questions left in this issue with the prospect of Mary Jane and Peter possibly getting back together. This is a subject I have though about quite a few times since One More Day, and even more so since Peter's relationship with Carlie Cooper ended. The only reason I haven't wanted to see MJ and Peter back together was due to two reasons. One it would make the events of One More Day redundant and secondly I wanted to see Peter try and have a relationship with someone else and when he found Carlie I liked how it was someone as intelligent as him. When they split up after the events of Spider-Island I was starting to wonder more whether Peter would get back with MJ and there was a part of me that hoped they did. If they did get back together it would add a bit more drama to the new series and with all the things that have happened in their previous relationships it would be interesting to see what they did this time around.
Doc Ock's secret was partially revealed nearer the end of the comic but to avoid spoilers. I will however say that it wasn't exactly what I thought it would be and although it was interesting I was slightly disappointed with what it actually was.
This was a good issue but if you like action and adventure in Spider-Man stories, so far this one probably won't be for you. I would recommend this issue as with issue 700 getting closer by the issue you wouldn't want to miss the last few issues and although this issue was more of a setup for things to come, the things revealed in this issue are worth reading, whether you like them or not.