The following article will act as if you have read Amazing Spider-Man #698. If you have not, you may want to look elsewhere, until you have. I think it's a really clever comic and well worth the recommendation. But some of you are going to have real problems with it. And I'm going to explore those – and why this could be a real opportunity for the comic.
From here on, there are spoilers. Massive, huge spoilers.
Okay, the new Amazing Spider-Man #698 has a very clever structure, that insists you reread the comic upon completion, to give you a different experience. Knowing that Otto Octavius has switched bodies with Peter Parker – though somehow retaining Parker's memories – suddenly gives a different perspective to the scenes we have seen, referring to Aunt May as "that dear sweet woman" and the overall overexposition and stylised thought patterns throughout.
The comic really rubs your nose in it, promising a reunion between Mary Jane Watson and Peter Parker and it seems if solicitations are to be believed, succeeding.
But it's the death of Spider-Man, or rather Peter Parker inside Otto's body, that gives the book its real hit. Combined with the fact that we know the book is relaunching as Superior Spider-Man in January, with a non-Peter Parker Spider-Man, lets us know that this is the way things are going to be for a while. No sudden next-week-it-all-gets-better option. This is the way things are. And writer Dan Slott has gone into hiding.
Rage rage rage rage, yes?
Look, Spider-Man is a Marvel franchise, there's more films to come, animated series that need to tie up on some level, it is very likely that things will go back. We don't know how the switch happened, but technical or mystical there are plenty of outs. Did Peter Parker back himself up? Will his memories rebel against Otto? Plenty of options.
But for now, and for the foreseeable future, we have a real villain being given a second chance to be a hero. And it's a life he seems to be embracing. Trying to be a better man, despite the circumstances, and even living up to Peter Parker's legacy as a hero? I'd read that. And it looks like I might have the chance.
Indeed, if Otto succeeds as reforming himself, maybe he'll want to give up his life to save Peter's. Like I said, plenty of options.
These kind of stories are usually reset after one or two issues. This time it gets to breathe a bit. Let's join them for the ride…
Comics courtesy of Orbital Comics, London.