Sunday, 12 February 2017

The Amazing Spider-Man [2015] #18 - Marvel Comics

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN No. 18, November 2016
Taking “a step back to explore what the former Doctor Octopus has been up to lately and how he laid the groundwork for his resurrection during the Spider-Verse crossover”, Issue Eighteen of “The Amazing Spider-Man” surely must have come as a massive disappointment to its 71,159 readers in September 2016. For whilst Dan Slott’s script undoubtedly addresses just how Otto Octavius’ consciousness came to exist inside “the memory banks of his old robot butler, the Living Brain”, the twenty-page periodical hardly brings the sub-plot to a story which has been skulking in the background for almost two years to anything approaching a satisfactory conclusion. 

Indeed, in many ways “Full Otto” barely resolves any of questions the super-villain’s continued existence inside Anna Maria Marconi’s “trusty robotic assistant” has raised, and frustratingly appears to only generate more, such as why, having “spent months studying” Aiden Blain and his “mannerisms” the homicidal, yet undoubtedly ingenious, scientist never once foresaw that his transference technology had only been designed “around the patterns of two specific minds!” Perhaps being housed inside an automaton’s brain in some way atrophied the one-time “brilliant… nuclear physicist, atomic research consultant, inventor” and lecturer’s intellect? It certainly seems, as far as the Berkeley-born writer was concerned, to have made “IGN's 28th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time” become far more obsessed with rekindling his relationship with Peter’s “chemistry and physics tutor” than his usual goal of destroying Spider-Man…

Equally as unfathomable is the Eisner Award-winner’s handling of Octavius’ egotism and all-consuming jealousy. Deeply hidden within the wiring of the Living Brain, the maniac learns that his beloved Maria actually “read up on him” after he ‘died’ and now believes him to be “a kook. A monster”, a man who “tried to blow up the whole world once” and whom she “could never love… Ever.” Yet instead of feeling betrayed, angry or deceived and going on one of his famous temper-fuelled mass-killing sprees, the obsessive genius merely trundles away to hatch “a new plan” in which to once again place his mind within the body of his most hated opponent, the web-slinger; “I know what her heart truly wants. The way things were. My mind in that body. Then that is what she shall have!”
The variant cover art of "THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN" No. 18 by Dale Keown

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