Comics : Spider-Man: Doctor Octopus - Year One #3

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Doc Ock gets the "Year One" treatment, with an fresh treatment of the "villain of the hour". However, the story is tied to the comics, rather than the movie, so it's one for the long-time fans, not a flash-in-the pan.

Actually, the release schedule for this story is far from Flashy. We got two issues in August, and then had to wait another three months for part three! Let's up the pace is a bit more consistent from here on.

In Detail...

Spider-Man: Doctor Octopus - Year One #3
Nov 2004 : SM Title
Editor:  Warren Simons
Writer:  Zeb Wells
Artist:  Kaare Andrews
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Articles: Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius)

Ock has suffered his great accident, and now lies in hospital, radiation flowing through his veins. Through his unseeing eyes, we can view the destruction that his sub-conscious mind creates of the ward, through his now permanently fused mechanical arms. With his inner sight, we join him as he relives the final moments of his mother, who Otto saw "cheating" with another man. Oedipus wrecks.

Meanwhile, Peter Parker is among the press throng, as the military presents their thinly disguised lies and half-baked cover-up story. The main focus of the military is what they can salvage from their unwitting creation. Ock's experiment is forgotten, as their attention turns to the potential of their multi-limbed victim. Otto is now alive and well, and so clearly are his arms. The top brass interrogate Alice Anders, Otto's co-worker, and the woman who fell in love with the naive yet brilliant scientist.

Otto, however, has forgotton his brief infatuation with Alice. Instead, the madness begins to take control. Turning his furious anger on his former masters, Otto smashes free from his prison, and begins a rampage, only to be briefly halted by the arrival of Spider-Man. As they dance around each other, Otto queries the web-slinger, wanting to learn more about the wondrous parallel powers the atom has granted the two of them. But Spider-Man is no crazed genius - he is instead a man of action. Seeing that his opponent is not an potential ally, Ock quickly defeats his foe.

At this moment, Alice interrupts, and tries to contact the gentle young boy she loved. In vain. Now is only insanity and violence, no trace of his former self remains. Granting Alice one final chance to live, Ock sends her fleeing, only to remove himself and his unbidden tears to a place of solitude, leaving behind the battered arachnoid hero, but taking with him a small and unseen Spider-Tracer...

In General...

Sadly with this issue, we leave behind the continuity of Amazing Spider-Man #3. The previous two issues could conceivably have occured before and amidst the events of those early Lee/Ditko stories. However, this issue finally makes a clean break, and re-writes the events of that classic tale. In fact, it also re-writes other history, by showing a Spider-Tracer long before it is actually invented in Amazing Spider-Man #11, the second appearance of Doctor Octopus.

Putting that aside, this is still a great story, however by attempting to re-invent history, it edges into the shadow of tales past. I'll try not to let that count against it.

Overall Rating...

Attempting to be objective, and judging this story purely on its own merits, I think I can justify continuing the four-web rating of the earlier issues.