Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #397 (Story 1)

 Posted: 2006


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.

Story 'Tentacles'

  Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #397 (Story 1)
Summary: First Stunner, Doctor Octopus
Arc: Part 1 of 'Web of Death' (1-2-3-4)
Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Writer: J.M. DeMatteis
Pencils: Mark Bagley
Inker: Larry Mahlstedt
Cover Art: Mark Bagley

Kaine watches as a groggy Spidey swings through the city. As if the poison in his system wasn't enough, he keeps getting strange memory flashes that seem to fit, and yet don't. He finally passes out from the strain only to be picked up by another spectator; Doctor Octopus! For a brief moment, Ock considers how easily he could dispatch his foe right then and there, but realizes he needs Spidey to provide some kind of balance in his life. Ock departs as Spidey wakes back up, realizing he has someplace to go, someone to turn to, if only he's willing.

Meanwhile in a bar, a woman named Stunner waltzes in and after tantalizing the male patrons with her looks proceeds to demolish them and the bar. Just before the owner can retaliate with his shotgun, Ock shows up. The surprise is enough to make the owner drop the gun. Even more surprising is Ock pays for the damages before the two depart. Back at Ock's penthouse, he and Stunner, his lover, share a tender moment before his preoccupied mind pulls him away. He tells her about his motivations for wanting to help Spidey, particularly for his admiration of his foe's constant level of humanity before recent. As Stunner consoles her lover, she is forced to hastily depart and disappears, leaving Ock alone to wallow in his loneliness.

Elsehwere, Mary Jane returns home from Pittsburgh to find their home still empty. That's because in another part of town, Spidey makes his decision that he needs to go home and be with the one he loves just as another memory flash hits him hard. Spidey falls only to be caught by Stunner...who then proceeds to sucker punch him into next Tuesday. Spidey recovers but Stunner lays it on. Spidey gets madder as the fight progresses and starts laying into her even harder. But in the end, the poison and Peter's crushed spirit leave him weak enough for Stunner to take him down.

Ock arrives more concerned than ever. He picks Peter up and unmasks him, vowing to find out everything that is wrong with his foe.

General Comments

Seems like a lot of the people who hate Spidey do so for some secret envy they harbor for the wall-crawler's strength of character. A true testament to what he used to be. However, after all the savage beatings Spidey's darker side has come out and he's no longer the man many knew. Definitely a good story with some interesting twists. Not to mention a couple mysteries just waiting to be solved.

Overall Rating

Four webs. A very good read.

 Posted: 2006