Spider-Man is trapped, his "life essence" being transferred into the body of the original Doctor Octopus while the Rose, Delilah, Carolyn Trainer and Stunner look on...
|Cover Art:||Steve Skroce|
Spidey, meanwhile, experiences a doozy of a hallucination involving a hideous Octopus-creature that calls him "Parker." Images of his aunt and uncle, Mary Jane, and even the Green Goblin ("the one that's really dead," i.e. Harry) cascade before his mind's eye before he gathers the strength to break free of his bonds. He tries to escape, but gets tied up on the roof with a few ninja standing guard. He barely manages to dispatch them before getting tangled up with Delilah.
As this is happening, Stunner volunteers to take Spider-Man's place because the ceremony has reached a point of no return. The scene switches to the Plaza Hotel, where it appears the Black Tarantula (yawn) has finally arrived in New York, dispatching his flunky Chesbro on a secret errand. He is later seen spying on Mary Jane, one of her professors, and a friend named Shantal at E.S.U.
Back at the meat-packing plant, Stunner is undergoing the ceremony, while Trainer prepares to restore the doctor's stored memories (remember "The Master Programmer" from the Scarlet Spider books?) if the process is successful. SOMETHING is working, because Master Zei, Stunner, and the ninja involved in the ceremony suddenly melt away in a wisp of smoke. While this has been going on, Spidey's battle with Delilah has taken a decidely cramped turn, with her throwing him into an air vent and bashing him around. Eventually he breaks free, slinging Delilah face first into a nearby wall. But he doesn't even get a chance to catch his breath before the wall crumbles, revealing the revived Doctor Octopus!
Steve Skroce's art usually grates on me; but in this arc it seems to be a little better than his average work. The plot is behind handled pretty well... completely impossible in real life (I hope) yet appropriate for a comic book. But some of the dialogue is too melodramatic. (Note to DeFalco: try to avoid phrases like "evil incarnate," "evil personified," and "the deadly Delilah.")
Rather corny and silly, but hey, that's what comics are made of. Three webs.