Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #398

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This story is part of an Arc: "Web of Death"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Absolutely Amazing

This review was first published on: 2006.

Background...

Peter Parker's parents had returned only to turn out to be evil duplicates created by the Chameleon. That was enough to push him over the edge and take the friendly out of friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Now, poisoned by one of the Vulture's birds, Spidey now finds himself in a fight for his life that his fists won't get him out of.

In Detail...

"Before I Wake"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #398
Feb 1995 : SMURF 398.500 : SMURF 398.540 : SMURF 398.580 : SMURF 398.620 : SM Title
Summary: Dr. Octopus
Arc: Part 3 of "Web of Death"
Editor:  Danny Fingeroth
Writer:  J.M. DeMatteis
Pencils:  Mark Bagley
Inker:  Larry Mahlstedt
Cover Art:  Mark Bagley
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Articles: Aunt May Parker, Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius), Kaine, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Stunner

As Doctor Octopus watches the Parker's brownstone pondering over the life and fate of his old foe, Peter is inside literally jumping for joy at the news that he's going to be a father. However, the joy is short-lived when the realization that he's dying of a deadly poison hits him hard. Peter assures her all will be fine with a happy facade and decides they should head to the hospital to tell the comatose Aunt May. As Peter departs for a shower, Mary Jane drops her own facade and wonders what Peter's irradiated blood will mean for their baby.

They say in a coma people can still hear you, and Peter and MJ share their happy news with May at the hospital. They leave; unaware that assumption is more accurate than they could ever believe. Heading to their favorite restaurant to celebrate, the poison hits Peter again causing him to break a glass and illicit concern from MJ. Someone comes over to help them and suggest they head home, apparently knowing them though they don't know him. Just then, Peter's spidey-sense goes off and he sees Doc Ock on a nearby rooftop.

He leaves his wife again to confront Ock as Spidey. A quick fight ensues until Ock can pin Spidey down and offer his help to save his life. Meanwhile, in Central Park, Stunner has some fun using her abilities until a voice from nowhere warns her to get away from Ock. She looks around, unaware the warning came from Kaine who had been watching her.

In Ock's lab, Ock offers up his new cure but Spidey is a bit reluctant to take it. Finally giving in to either faith or desperation, Spidey takes the formula. At first, he feels better, but then collapses onto the floor. Spidey finds himself floating up high above the city. He enters a cloudy vortex full of people he knows are souls and confronts an old colleague; Nick Katzenberg, who had recently died of Cancer. Peter refuses to believe he's dead and heads back down to Earth, being led by a familiar voice. In May's hospital room, Peter discovers the voice belongs to May herself who gives him some guidance, referring to his love of the story of Peter Pan. She directs him to the second star to the right and straight on till morning, and Peter flies up to it to head for his final destination.

In General...

A very good part to the story. The out of body experience was a nice touch which leaves you guessing if Spidey's gonna live or die this time. Also, Ock's expression after Spidey collapses makes you wonder if he was truly as benevolent as he was appearing to be or if it was just a sinister plot all the while. Plus the mystery of Kaine still lingers!

Just a couple minor mistakes to note. As this tale is done by two different groups of people, there was an inconsistency between part 2 and this one. In part 2, MJ's shirt at the end was pink and in here it's green. You would think the Spider-editors would try to keep some continuity going. Also, during Peter's experience at the end, there were times he would go from no mask to having his mask. But one thing that does blend seamlessly is the writing style. Despite there being two different writers on this tale, you would never be able to tell because of the consistent characterizations and the steady flow of the tale.

Overall Rating...

Four and a half webs. This was just a great part to the story. Not much happened, but the writing is top notch. One part to go, can't wait.