This is the final story before the Scarlet Spider titles take over. It's a three part tale which quite unashamedly borrows from the "If This Be My Destiny" story from Amazing #31-#33, with the New Doc Ock standing in for the Old, Mary-Jane cast as Aunt May, and as a bonus - twice as many Spider-Men as in the original epic.
This issue sees Tom DeFalco writing and Buscema and Sienkievitz displayed to their fullest on glossy paper. With the extra pages and celluloid cover it seems like Christmas.
Entering into that spirit, Doc Ock has a holiday gift for everybody. It's a big-time plan involving a virtual reality bomb which transports people 'en masse' into an alternative world. More of that later no doubt in the Scarlet titles.
For now, Scarlet scraps big time with Doc Ock, and Peter joins in at the end. Peter almost dies, and he realises that he can't keep sticking his neck out like this. I guess you could say that was the final straw for him.
At the end of it all, Peter knows the time has come for him to try to make his own life - a life without Spider-Man. He offers Ben his costume (which Ben refuses, having his own ideas about that). Spider-Man is finished. Long live Scarlet Spider.
First off, debate about clones aside this is a great story in the Mighty Marvel Manner. I have no complaints about the raw quality of this tale. It was a shame to lose Otto, but Carolyn looks like she will be an admirable replacement. Sure, she's a lot like Scorpia in personality, but that's OK. In fact I'm gonna really enjoy the fireworks when they finally team up together!
More importantly, a lot of the major changes are making sense now that I see it. I was happy when Peter got married to MJ (if a little jealous). I was happy when she found out she was preagnant. When you look at Peter, it's not surprising that he realised his greatest responibility was to MJ and his child. In fact, I gotta say it, but Marvel might have done the right thing to bring in Ben.
Personally, I would have preferred Ben to be the clone still, and had Peter still be Peter. But, if Ben was the clone then a lot of readers might have given up when Peter left. Is there a big deal which one is the original? I'd rather have an original comic book compared to an almost indistinguishable reprint. Surely that difference is amplified a thousand times when you talk about a human being. I just don't know. Anyway, Peter is getting a chance for some long overdue happiness and Ben gets to wear the red tights. The times they are a-changin'.
Regardless of the Ben/Peter thing, this is a great story. I have no choice but to give it a full five webs.