Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #175

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


Doctor Octopus has returned, and is holding the Daily Bugle for ransom. He's demanded 20 million dollars from Jameson, or he'll destroy the new Daily Bugle building using a destructive device he has planted underneath the building.

In the process, Ock also took MJ hostage, and has threatened to kill her if Jameson does not make a decision quickly.

Story 'Spouse Trap'

Doc Ock still has MJ by throat, and informs Jonah that he has one minute to make up his mind. Meanwhile, down below Spider-Man watches the timer count down on the Temblor device. He struggles to get out of the debris he's trapped under. Ock tells Jonah that he can deactivate the Temblor any time he wants, and pulls a small remote device from his pocket. He then says he and his "guest" will remove themselves from the premises, so he can enjoy the destruction from afar.

Suddenly Jonah pushes a hidden button under his desk, and in storms the Wild pack from Silver Sable International. Jonah hired them as a precaution, since the old Bugle building got trashed so often. Jonah tells them to get the control from Ock, but to be careful not to harm MJ. Down below again, Spider-Man breaks free of the rubble, and makes it to the Temblor device. Back in Jonah's office, Ock hurls a desk at the Wild Pack. One of them fires a small device at Ock, which sticks to his chest and causes him to fall to his knees. It's a disc which emits an ultra gravity field, and instantly immobilizes its target. However Ock is strong enough to over come it, and smashes it in one of his tentacle claws. Ock shouts triumphantly that Jonah's time is up. But he realizes that the Bugle building is still standing. Spider-Man managed to find an off switch to deactivate it. He then heads back up into the Bugle. Back in Jonah's office, the Wild pack spray Ock with concrete foam, immobilizing him again. Spider-Man arrives thru an air vent, and spots MJ still in Ock's grasp. He dives towards her and tries to free her from Ock's grip. Jameson bellows for him to butt out. Suddenly another of Ock's tentacles grabs Spider-Man by the throat just as he manages to free MJ. It begins smashing Spider-Man into the wall. Suddenly Ock breaks free from the concrete foam, and hurls another desk at the Wild pack in anger, declaring that Jameson cost him the battle, but the war is not over.

Ock smashes thru the wall and escapes. Spidey asks MJ if she's ok. Jameson tells him to go after Ock, and leave the casualties to them. Jonah's wife comes in asking if he's ok. Jameson rings rewrite, and tells them to print a new story entitled "Doc Ock thwarted by courageous Bugle publisher". Spider- Man asks MJ to excuse him as he has to go some place and be sick. Ock watches a technical crew dismantling his Temblor device. He curses Jameson for costing him millions, as he heads to his new lair, which is directly below the Bugle building. As he pours himself a glass of champagne, Ock realizes that Spider-Man fought savagely for MJ, so he ponders how vulnerable would a man be if the woman in danger was his wife.

In their apartment in Soho, Peter and MJ embrace eachother with a warm hug. Peter vents his anger over Jameson's constant slandering of him. Uptown in Jameson's apartment, his wife Marla ponders what to wear. Suddenly she hears a crash noise in the living room. Thinking its Jonah, she walks into the living room to see Ock approaching her with his tentacles snaking towards her. Jameson arrives home shortly after, to find his apartment trashed, and message in the fax machine from Ock demanding 20 million dollars, or Marla dies. Jameson makes some phone calls to liquidate his assets. He then rings the Bugle and asks for an obituary to be written.

At the Bugle, Peter arrives to collect a check for some photos. Betty tells him Jameson put a freeze on all expenditures. He even put the Bugle up for sale. Jamseon suddenly comes out of his office carrying a briefcase. Peter asks if anything is wrong. Jameson politely says no, but thanks Peter for his concern. Peter instantly realizes something is wrong since he addressed him as Peter, and without an insult. After quickly changing into Spider-Man, he follows Jameson into Central Park. He suddenly spots a mini camera in a tree, and realizes someone is watching, so he shoots a Spidey tracer onto Jonah's briefcase.

Jameson walks up to a tunnel and says that this was all the money he could get for now. But he's put the Bugle up for sale and will accept the first offer and give it to Ock. He then says that if Ock harms one hair on Marla's head, he'll find him and kill him. Spidey sees from the tracer's signal that the briefcase is moving, which means someone has it. He follows the signal, which leads to the Daily Bugle building. Spidey realizes it's been taken under the building, and slips into a manhole to follow.

In his lair, Ock is pleased with the "deposit", and decides to give Jonah more time after all. He then says to Marla that it will give them more time to get acquainted. Marla calls Ock a monster and says she'd spit in his face if her mouth wasn't so dry. Ock is not impressed, and decides to give her some discipline, as he reaches towards her with his tentacles. Suddenly Spider-Man bursts in, but Ock keeps him back with a tentacle. He then lifts Marla in another tentacle and declares they are leaving for a new hideout. Marla manages to grab the champagne bottle and smashes it on Ock's head, causing him to release her. Ock reaches for Marla again, but Spider-Man holds his tentacle back. As Marla escapes thru the hole in the wall that Spidey made, Ock smashes Spider-Man against the wall, and tries to go after Marla again. But Spider-Man webs him back, saying they're not finished yet. Ock disagrees however, and smacks Spider-Man in the head with a tentacle. Marla starts to climb up a ladder leading to a manhole. Ock is just about to grab her leg with a tentacle, when a web line snares it and pulls it back. Ock loses his temper and viciously attacks Spider-Man with all four tentacles. Spider-Man crashes to the ground, as Ock descends upon him. From the manhole above, Marla decides she has to help Spider-Man somehow after he just saved her.

Spider-Man is shaky after taking so many hits and staggers to his feet, but Ock smacks him again with a tentacle. He hits the wall and falls into the sewer water. One of Ock's tentacles pulls him out by the throat, and Ock prepares to crush Spider-Man's head to a pulp. Suddenly he is fired at from behind. It's the Wild pack again. Ock realizes Marla must have sent them. Spider-Man uses the distraction to free himself from Ock's grip and escape. Ock lets him run to his saviors, declaring there will be another time.

Back in the Bugle, Jameson is on the phone negotiating the price of the Bugle for sale. Suddenly he sees Marla being brought in by a Police officer. Jamseon tells the person on the phone to shove their offer. He then runs and hugs his wife, who tells him that Spider-Man saved her. Jameson grunts it off, and says he's just glad she's ok. Robbie comes in and tells Jonah that the maintenance people cannot repair the tunnels and finish taking down the Spider-Man billboards. Jameson says to leave the billboards then......just for a little while.

General Comments

A great wrap up to this story. The Wild pack intervention was a surprise, but I got a great kick out of seeing Ock outwitting everything they threw at him.

Jameson was great in this story. His concern for his wife definitely brought out his more compassionate side. A rare but great thing to see.

Doctor Octopus was as nasty as ever. Scratch another villainous plot, but no doubt he has plenty more up his sleeve. As he said, there will be another time.

Overall Rating

A very enjoyable story. Humour, drama, and action. A solid 3.5 webs.

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