Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #174

 Posted: 2006
 Staff: Stephen Wolfram (E-Mail)


In the previous issue, Spider-Man discovered that Doc Ock was back in town, after the villainous Doctor had shown up at Peter's very home to see Aunt May. Unfortunately, due to the presence of Peter's family, he was forced to let Ock go. But Ock's criminal motives for his return were unclear.

Story 'Dedication (Or, J. Jonah Goes To Pieces!)'

Our story opens with Spider-Man watching Jonah Jameson give a speech to a crowd in front of the Daily Bugle building. Spidey is bored, the crowd, including MJ, Robbie, Glory Grant and Lance Bannon, looks bored, and Jameson continues to rant on about himself and how much of an asset he is to New York city. Suddenly Spider-Man's spider sense goes off as a black van drives by him, and turns into an alley. Spider-Man promptly follows it, and lands on the roof of the van and begins to knock on it, jokingly claiming he's the city villain inspector. Suddenly his spider sense goes off again, as he leaps off the van as gun shots come blasting thru the roof of the van. From inside the van an angry voice says "Idiot! I gave no order to fire". Spider-Man hears a muffled scream inside, and also he found the angry voice familiar. Suddenly the van starts shaking, as the sound of tearing metal comes from it. Spider-Man rips the back doors off the van with his webbing, where he finds a dead gun man who's body has been broken. There's also a large hole in the floor of the van, which leads into a maintenance tunnel under the new Daily Bugle building. Spidey decides to report the dead body to the Police first, then get back to the Bugle, because whoever did this is long gone.

Back at the Bugle, Jameson is still boring everyone with his droll, egotistical speeches. Nick Katzenberg shows up, and says to MJ that they got off on the wrong foot, and they should kiss and make up. MJ says she'd sooner kiss a toad. Peter shows up at that moment and kisses MJ on the cheek. Katzenberg thinks to himself that they'll all come crawling to him when the pictures he took in the previous issue makes him richer than all of them. Jameson finally finishes up his droll speech, and unveils a statue "In the spirit of New York". Everyone in the crowd looks astonished. It is a statue of Jameson himself. Suddenly the ground starts trembling, Peter grabs MJ and shouts for everyone to get away from the statue now. Jameson's statue shakes and then crumbles to pieces. Jameson is almost in tears, as his wife Marla tries to console him. Peter ducks out, and changes into Spider-Man. He heads straight into the maintenance tunnel. He realizes that vibrating that statue was more than a prank, it was malicious, and could have been deadly. Suddenly he spots a tentacled shadow in the distance. He realizes that the shadow, coupled with the voice he heard in the van, confirms his suspicions of who's behind this....."DOCTOR OCTOPUS!", he shouts, as Ock leaps down on Spider-Man from a tunnel above him.

Ock rants that he will allow no one to interfere with his plans this time. Ock lashes out a tentacle at Spider-Man and grabs a power cable off the wall, and uses it to electrocute Spider-Man. Spider-Man staggers out into another tunnel, realizing Ock has the advantage in such closed quarters. Ock is in fast pursuit, Spider-Man leaps down into a tunnel in the floor. Ock catches Spider-Man's leg in one of his tentacles, and slams him repeatedly into the walls before dropping him to the floor. Suddenly chunks of concrete begins raining down from above. Spider-Man looks up and sees Ock beginning to demolish the tunnel. "You wouldn't....you couldn't" Spider-Man says. "Oh...but I can Spider-Man. Goodbye" Ock says, as he buries Spider-Man under a ton of rubble. Ock gloats to himself over Spider-Man's demise. He then turns and leaves to attend to the business at hand, and climbs up the Bugle's main elevator shaft on his tentacles. "And now it's time to meet the press" he says to himself.

Inside the Bugle, Jameson leads his employees in for a party, where a lavish buffet complete with caterers is waiting. Everyone is impressed, and begins to celebrate. Jameson steps out for a quiet moment by himself in his office. MJ wonders where Peter is. She swears to herself that she won't worry about him, as she steps into the corridor, where she notices an open elevator shaft. Suddenly a tentacle lashes out from the shaft, and grabs MJ by the throat. Doc Ock emerges from the shaft, and recognizes her as Mary Jane Watson-Parker. He intends to bring her with him to Jameson's office. Meanwhile, back in the maintenance tunnel, Spider-Man is still alive, and struggles beneath the tons of rubble he's buried under. As he tries to crawl towards an access tunnel, a large piece of rubble falls on him, pinning him. Suddenly his spider sense goes off to a danger that "hums".

Meanwhile, back in Jameson's office, he spots one of the promotion Spider-Man billboards from the Bugle. He hears the door open behind him, and assuming it's his wife Marla, he asks her to remind him to burn that billboard first thing tomorrow. But Doc Ock coyly says he has more pressing matters to attend to. Jameson turns around in shock, and sees Ock has MJ by the throat in one of his tentacles. He tells Ock to put her down, but Ock politely declines. Jameson asks what he wants, to which Ock replies "Only twenty million dollars....or your precious new Daily Bugle building, and incidentally all of it's employees, are history!". Ock says the destruction of "that egotistical monstrosity" in front of the building was just a sample of what he can and will unleash. Jameson says he can't be serious. Ock says he can prove he is by killing Mary Jane. "NO...WAIT!!!" Jameson shouts in horror. Ock says they cannot wait too long. The Temblor device he planted under the building will begin emitting shattering seismic vibrations in less than sixty seconds, as he pulls out a small remote device and grins wickedly. Down below in the maintenance tunnel, Spider-Man pushes a load of rubble off his back, as he crawls thru the wreckage. As he reaches the end of the tunnel, the humming gets louder, where he finds the source of the danger his spider sense was reacting to. It is a large device attached to the foundations of the Bugle, with a timer on it. Spider-Man just wishes he knew what the heck it was about to do.

General Comments

Pretty cool story. A classic Doctor Octopus scheme. The Doc always finds new evil ways to use his scientific talents.

I have to admit I did smile when Jameson's statue was destroyed. The man has an ego bigger than any super villain Spider-Man has faced. And that's saying something. But you can't help but love him.

MJ is in a very painful perilous situation. Ock has her gripped by the throat in his tentacle claws. Will she come out unharmed??

Overall Rating

An entertaining issue of action and drama between hero and villain, with a neat little cliffhanger.

 Posted: 2006
 Staff: Stephen Wolfram (E-Mail)