Comics : Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #39

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

When last we saw Doctor Octopus, he was once again involved with the Sinister Six, and he was wearing this ridiculous John Byrne-designed skirt thing. Has the good doctor's fashion-sense improved? Let's hope so. The answer awaits, dear reader.

In Detail...

"Operation: Octopus"
Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #39
Mar 2002 : SM Title
Summary: (#137) Doctor Octopus, Fusion
Editor:  Axel Alonso
Writer:  Paul Jenkins
Pencils:  Mark Buckingham
Inker:  Wayne Faucher
Cover Art:  Humberto Ramos
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 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (Spectacular) #6
Articles: Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius), Fusion II

At the beach on a beautiful day, Congressman Bradley Miles loses an arm in a mysterious octopus attack. A month later, high school teacher Peter Parker takes his class on a field trip to a science and technology convention. Peter's class wanders off, and he takes a free sample of what appears to be a small computer chip called a Bio Bug, provided by Biotechnix. Then Peter stumbles across an exhibit where Congressman Miles is speaking to promote his prototype cybernetic arm built by a company called Biotechnix. While listening to Miles' speech, Peter gets the feeling from his spider-sense that someone is lurking around who shouldn't be there, just as two suspicious characters watch from the rafters.

Peter calls the Daily Bugle to find out the scoop on the connection between Miles and Biotechnix. Robbie Robertson informs him that there is probably some kind of shady connection between the congressman and the company, but that J. Jonah Jameson was not interested in the story, so he didn't pursue it any further. Meanwhile in a laboratory, Doctor Otto Octavius feeds a lobster to his small pet octopus, just as Fusion walks into the room, informing Octavius that "It's time.""

Meantime, Spider-Man has enlisted the help of Daredevil to investigate the Bio Bug. Daredevil uses his hyper-senses to determine that the chip probably came from a Biotechnix building in Chinatown. Back in the lab, Fusion urges Doctor Octopus into hastening the completion of an artificial limb. Octopus demands more time, but Fusion bullies him into finishing it sooner. Fusion reveals that Doc Ock was working at one of Fusion's facilities under an assumed name, and that Fusion is just using his genius for his own ends.

At Congressman Miles' office, Spider-Man has invaded. He tells Miles that he knows how the congressman was in the same fraternity as the co-owner of Biotechnix, and that he discovered how Miles pushed a bill through contress that basically granted him his prosthetic arm. And Spidey promises that he's going to get to the bottom of it, and then reveal the whole story to the news. Meanwhile, Jonah and Robbie are at a fancy party, and Robbie brings up the topic of the Biotechnix story. Robbie tells Jonah that everyone who has received one of their prototype arms is an acquaintance of Bradley Miles, and that they are also all high-level military or espionage agents. But what Robbie wants to know is why Miles has so many friends who have trouble keeping their limbs attached.

At the Biotechnix building in Chinatown, Spider-Man is invading. He breaks in and finds Doctor Octopus working in his lab. Spidey and Doc Ock tangle, and Octopus tries to get away, but he traps himself in a corner. As Spidey advances upon him, Ock tells him that he's not who Spidey thinks, and Spidey is struck from behind by another Doc Ock. One of the Doc Ocks turns back into Fusion, and he and the real Doctor Octopus stand over the fallen wall-crawler.

In General...

Well, Doc Ock has gone back to squeezing into his yellow and green tights, which isn't as cool as when he used to wear a suit all the time, but it's sure a heck of a lot better than the weird Byrne kilt-thing.

Paul Jenkins has crafted the beginnings of a very intriguing mystery here. I'm eager to discover the link between Fusion and Biotechnix, as well as why Miles' friends have such a difficult time keeping their limbs attached. As for the art, what can I say that I haven't said before? As usual, the pencils by Mark Buckingham and inks by Wayne Faucher are top-notch.

I had a couple of small problems with the issue, though. The way that Doctor Octopus was sniveling in front of Fusion didn't seem to be in character. But given the nature of Fusion's persuasion powers, it's very easy to believe that he brought about this change in Doc Ock. I was also somewhat displeased to see Fusion again so soon. He's a great villain, and his first story was one of my all-time favourites, but I just hope he won't become over-used, like Venom did.

Overall Rating...

Four and a half webs for yet another very solid issue from Jenkins, Buckingham, and Faucher.