Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #221

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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: Spectacular Beginnings

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...

"A Time To Die!"
Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #221
Feb 1995 : SMURF 398.660 : SM Title
Summary: Death of Dr. Octopus
Arc: Part 4 of "Web of Death"
Editor:  Mark Powers
Writer:  Tom DeFalco
Pencils:  Sal Buscema
Inker:  Bill Sienkiewicz
Cover Art:  Sal Buscema
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Articles: Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius), Kaine, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Stunner

Peter Parker is dead. Doctor Octopus' formula had failed and seemingly killed him. He now flies through the reaches of the afterlife only to encounter his Uncle Ben and parents! They welcome him with open arms, and Peter begins to find some happiness in his situation until something painful hits him.

Back in the real world, Ock frantically tries to revive Spidey by shocking his heart into starting again. Peter is pulled away from his family unwillingly only to be saved by Harry Osborn! Harry offers to keep Peter here to make amends for his past deeds, but upon seeing his face transform into that of the Goblin, Peter realizes he has to go back. He revives in Ock's lab, and Ock sends Stunner away to carry out a plan he had set in motion. She departs, with Kaine still watching her.

Peter gets up, confused as to what happens next. Ock restores his mask and tells him he looks forward to resuming their conflict. Spidey is confused by this, especially after all that's happened, but his confusion doesn't last long as the police bust into the lab. Ock surrenders peacefully and Spidey realizes he had Stunner call them in. Ock tells him this was to prevent and pressure on Spidey now, to give him a chance to rest to be in peak shape for their next encounter. Happily, Ock gets carted off to jail knowing his victory will be even sweeter with Spidey now in his debt.

Ordinarily, fears and thoughts would be running through Spidey's mind about Ock now knowing who he is, but he can't seem to get past the fact that he's alive. He returns home and surprises MJ with a crib, and both become secure that their lives, no matter how chaotic, will work out just fine together. Meanwhile, Stunner sits perched above the paddy wagon carrying Ock, ready to release him according to plan. However, the plan gets an unexpected hiccup when she's taken down by a gas bomb.

Ock sits smugly in the wagon awaiting his inevitable rescue, only to be as taken by surprise as the guards when Kaine rips through the roof instead of Stunner. Ock goes mad and flails his arms, striking at all his foes as he demands to know where Stunner is. They fight while Peter and MJ, blissfully unaware of the events transpiring, assemble their new crib together. The battle is drawn to a close when Kaine gets the upper hand and easily snaps Ock's neck like a twig.

Stunner awakens dazed, confused, and very late. She races to the extraction point only to find her lover dead with a scar burned into his face... the mark of Kaine!

In General...

Many fans regard this issue as nothing more than cheap shock-value to up Kaine's badass level. Well, ya know what? It works. This was a great conclusion to the story which sets things up for future explanations of Kaine's motivations. The art was fantastic and the dark coloring helped to set the mood, especially with the contrast of the light scene with the Parkers inserted between the fight. In a game like this, people end up dead. It was just Ock's time to die.

Not to mention all the surprise classic guest stars in this issue. Uncle Ben. Richard and Mary Parker. Harry Osborn. This is your life...Spidey style!

Overall Rating...

Five webs. Ock went out fighting, which fans of his should be proud of.