Amazing Spider-Man #296
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #296
...so he winds up making himself some tea and falling asleep. Later he wakes up and this time actually does get around to working on a new web-shooter design. This idea of re-designing the shooters originally came up during Michelinie's truncated run on Web of Spider-Man; i guess it's not wrong for Michelinie to return to it here.
Peter comes up with a design, but he needs money to buy the necessary "space age materials", so he goes swinging for a tragedy to exploit (his words) so that he can sell photos to the Daily Bugle.
Meanwhile, Doctor Octopus is dreaming about Spider-Man at the South Brooklyn Psychiatric Facility.
His mental anguish subconsciously summons his arms, which are held "elsewhere".
Spider-Man saves civilians instead of battling the arms, so they make it to Doc Ock's hospital. In his current mental state, he rejects them, but that changes when guards show up and start shooting. So soon he's back in his arms and in his less docile super-villain persona.
Spider-Man comes up with a plan to stop Doc Ock, and he recruits Daily Bugle editor Kate Cushing and Octavius' psychiatrist Dr. Jefferson to help. Jefferson publishes a fake tell-all in the Daily Bugle about Octavius, and this gets the villain mad, so he goes after Jefferson. He finds a special police unit and Spider-Man waiting for him. The mere sight of Spider-Man is enough to knock Doc Ock out.
However, even unconscious, Doc Ock's arms are programmed to attack...
...and so Doctor Octopus is able to escape.
Never let it be said that Spider-Man is a good strategist. Not only does Doc escape, but he's basically ruined the relationship between Octavius and his psychiatrist. But at least he does get some pictures out of the fracas, so he doesn't need to get a "loan" from Mary Jane to fund his new web-shooter idea.
This isn't the end of Doc Ock, of course, who realizes that he can destroy Spider-Man without having to face up to his fears of him by simply blowing up the whole city.
We've seen a lot of this before: Spider-Man fighting Doctor Octopus' arms while he's not in them and/or while Ock is unconscious, and the "Doctor Octopus is too afraid of Spider-Man to fight him" theme. But Michelinie does it well enough (and Alex Saviuk gives us that awesome dream panel) and it's of course leading to Ock getting past his fears. I do have lingering suspicion that this is a plot that Michelinie intended for his Web run that is getting crammed into the post-marriage status quo (a "loan" from his wife? I know Peter has inadequacy issues related to MJ's higher paying career, but is the plan for them to keep their money separate?). Still, it's a good issue.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This obviously isn't the end of the Doctor Octopus story, and the MCP does place issue #297 after this one, but enough time passes before next issue that Spider-Man has time to implement his new web shooter design so i'm placing them in separate entries.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I always like that Doc Ock seems to have infinite hideouts and goons waiting for him every time he escapes. What do these guys do in their down time?
Posted by: MikeCheyne | May 7, 2014 10:52 AM
John Byrne drew the cover to this. Since he was working for DC at the time, does anybody know if this was his first work for Marvel since leaving or was the cover something he had done years before that they just pulled out for this issue? It's a pretty generic Spidey/Doc Ock cover design, though still cool.
Posted by: Robert | May 8, 2014 4:23 AM
Star Brand 11, cover dated January 1988, was Byrne's first work for Marvel since leaving. I'm not sure if it came out the week before this, the same week, or the week after, but it was around the same time.
Posted by: Michael | May 8, 2014 7:43 AM
If I remember correctly, the date on that Byrne cover said 1985. I'm thinking it was the cover for Web of Spider-Man that Jim Owsley rejected and asked Byrne to redo.
Posted by: Vincent Valenti | May 9, 2014 9:21 PM
Michelinie stated in Amazing Heroes #117 that the Dr. Octopus story was intended for #292-293 to start with, but got pushed back due to the DeMatteis and Nocenti multi-parters, and then had to be re-plotted due to the wedding.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 21, 2014 8:08 PM
I think in regards to the money thing with MJ, I think it was either Michelinie (who admits he was romantically inexperienced upon getting this gig) trying to find conflict in the marriage somewhat clumsily and 1980s machismo at work wherein the man must be the breadwinner.
I think you can kind of explain this by virtue of Peter just being raised by old people and thus somewhat old fashioned
Posted by: Al | October 25, 2015 12:34 PM
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