Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #426

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This story is part of an Arc: "Return of Doctor Octopus"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

One of the casualties of the Spider-Man clone saga was one of Spidey's oldest foes, the dreaded Dr. Octopus. His neck snapped by Kaine, Doc Ock was pronounced dead and buried. But why are ninja stealing his body? Could it be that the good Doctor is to live again?

In Detail...

"Only The Evil Return"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #426
Aug 1997 : SMURF 426.500 : SM Title
Summary: Doc Ock Reborn
Arc: Part 1 of "Return of Doctor Octopus"
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  Tom DeFalco
Pencils:  Steve Skroce
Inker:  Bud LaRosa
Cover Art:  Steve Skroce
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Review
Articles: Mongrain, Alison, Delilah, Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius), Doctor Octopus II (Carolyn Trainer), Green Goblin I (Norman Osborn) (Cameo), Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Rose III (Jacob Conover), Stunner

This issue begins with Peter having a nightmare about Doctor Octopus, motivated by news that his body had been stolen from its resting place. Meanwhile, Peter is not the only one with an interest in this news, as Doc Ock II, Carolyn Trainer, enters this story by beating the snot out of a bar full of lowlifes, hoping for a clue to the mystery, which she receives from a snitch named Louie.

The body snatchers next make their appearance as the cult of the True Believers, having been hired by the Rose (with Delilah at his side, as always) to resurrect the doctor. Master Zei reveals that someone will have to die for the process to be effective. (I wonder who they have in mind?) While Spidey hooks up with the same snitch that Trainer, uh, interrogated, Carolyn decides that she could use some backup, and re-enlists Angelina Brancale, hooking her back into her little VR machine and voila! Stunner has returned.

A brief interlude ensues, with Mary Jane at her therapist, then segueing into Alison "The Ice Queen" Mongrain's privately-funded cruise. The playpen that was first shown in ASM #423 is shown to hold a cat (BOO! VERY cheap trick!) and she considers selling knowledge of Norman Osborn's criminal activities to the Parker family. By this time, Stunner and Doc Ock II have arrived at the meat-packing plant that is serving as the True Believers' headquarters, and pandemonium ensues as Delilah and the ninja make their ambush. However, a "strategic alliance" is formed when Spider-Man arrives, who combats hordes of ninja until he is taken down by a drugged throwing star. The issue ends as he awakes chained to a table, an unwilling sacrifice in the True Believers' dark experiment...

In General...

Most of the time, I think bringing characters back from the dead is a bad idea - but it's clear that Ock is very shortly to return, and I'm cool with that. Seems like the only reason they killed him in the first place was to make Kaine seem impressive. The revelation that the Master Programmer was actually the doctor's digitized mind (obvious in retrospect) shows that Marvel has been planning this, or at least considering it, for some time.

Overall Rating...

This is something which was pretty much inevitable, and it's being done in a pretty much inevitable fashion. By contrast, the "stolen baby" subplot is far less well-planned. Still three webs should suffice.