Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #73
Issue(s): Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #73
...and not only rejects the invitation but also attacks the Owl.
On the one hand, an Owl/Octopus team-up against the Kingpin might have been fun to see. But at least this way we are spared the inevitable "And as soon as i've taken care of him, i'm going to betray you" thought bubbles.
One does wonder why Doc Ock doesn't just politely reject the Owl and let him go up against the Kingpin alone and then pick up the pieces, but Otto has never exactly been rational.
Spider-Man similarly doesn't just let Doc Ock and the Owl fight each other before jumping into the mix...
...but that's because he's worried about the bad guys' battle spilling out into the larger city. But that gives Octopus the ability to slip away while Spidey is fighting the Owl (awesomely, in the planetarium).
The Owl also manages to escape.
The Owl has added some new razor sharp claws to his arsenal. It's only fair: Wolverine stole the Owl's hair, so why can't the Owl steal his claws?
Prior to the Owl/Octopus fight, the Owl sends some goons to break Boomerang out of custody during his grand jury hearing and bring him back to be hired as the Owl's assassin. But Boomerang attempts his own escape and is stopped by Spider-Man before the Owl's men can make a move.
Despite just being a warm up fight for this issue, Boomerang has a much better showing than the appearance that put him in jail in the first place. The similarities to Bullseye are really highlighted, almost ridiculously so.
And before that (somehow i reviewed this issue exactly backwards), a really strange scene. Someone bursts into Peter Parker's apartment and accuses him of being Spider-Man.
It's Debra Whitman's psychologist, and he says that Peter is "obviously" not Spider-Man, but maybe Peter would like to dress up as Spider-Man to help cure her schizophrenia.
When Peter hesitates, he lays on a guilt trip.
Worst. Psychiatrist. Ever. If this guy has been Debra's doctor all along, no wonder she's still sick.
At the end of this issue, Peter decides he's going to help Debra.
Al Milgrom begins a (frequently interrupted) run on art with these issues. It's objectively bad, especially when compared to Ed Hannigan's nice showing last issue, but Al Milgrom was writing and drawing Spectacular back when i first started collecting comics, so there's sort of a retroactive nostalgia factor for me here. Weirdly - perhaps alarmingly! - seeing Peter Parker standing around in his tighty-whiteys especially triggers it.
Mantlo is setting up a nice storyline with the Owl/Octopus conflict, but the scene with the psychologist is just awful.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP places this between Amazing Spider-Man #236-237.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showBen Urich, Blake Tower, Boomerang, Doctor Octopus, Joe 'Robbie' Robertson, Owl, Spider-Man
Numerous people complained that Debra Whitman's psychiatrist didn't seem to understand the concept of patient confidentiality.
Posted by: Michael | July 31, 2013 8:11 PM
Is the title "Spider in the Middle" or "Peter Parker, You are the Spectacular Spider-Man"?
Posted by: Michael | July 31, 2013 11:12 PM
Hmmm. The UHBMCC lists the title as "Spider in the Middle" with a note that the title was taken from the cover. I guess they didn't feel that the psychiatrist's dialogue bubble merited. But since you point it out i think it's clearly meant to be the title, and i've updated it.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 1, 2013 7:38 AM
The Owl/Octopus War was referenced in Dan Slott's Superior Spider-Man run when Otto (as Spidey) encounters the Owl. It's pretty cool that Slott thought to ref it imo.
Posted by: Hugh Sheridan | February 9, 2018 2:38 PM
This storyline is also where the Owl's eventual status as "the wannabe Kingpin who just can't cut it" really got started, something that was later used to great effect in Bendis's run on Daredevil.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | May 25, 2018 6:47 AM
I feel like Milgrom's art would have benefited from a different style of lettering (or less text)--there's just so much crap in all the panels.
Posted by: Michael Cheyne | May 25, 2018 1:24 PM
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