We are less than a month away from Dan Slott’s next epic story in his Spider-Man run: The Clone Conspiracy. This is the story that Slott has been building towards for a while now and has given us more hints at what the Jackal’s plot is with each issue of this latest volume of Amazing Spider-Man. Now with The Clone Conspiracy just around the corner Slott is bringing in one of Spider-Man’s biggest villains back for the occasion: Doctor Otto Octavius. If the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #18 is any indication things aren’t going to be getting any better before things become worse Peter Parker. Now let’s see what Dan Slott has in store next with Amazing Spider-Man #18.
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: R.B. Silva
Inker: Adriano Di Benedetto
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Otto Octavius thinks back to when Spider-Man defeated him during the end of Spider-Verse. As Otto lays in defeat he uses some of the tech he created during his time in the 2099 time period to record everything that happened as Spider-Man up to that point and orders it into sleep mode for 100 days. Not long after Spider-Man sends Otto back to his timeline and forgets everything about what happened during Spider-Verse when he returns.
100 days later Peter Parker and some Parker Industries employees look through the wreckage of the blown up building of the company for any working equipment. As Peter reassures Sajani and the others that he will rebuild the company Otto’s device turns back on. Otto sees that somehow Peter regained control of his body and instead of retaking Peter’s body he decides to bide his time by taking control of the Living Brain.
As the Living Brain Otto serves Peter as his assistant, much to his frustrations. During this time Otto manipulates things to get Peter to fire Sajani.
While he continues to work against Peter in the backend the one joy Otto gets is that he still gets to work with Anna, even if she doesn’t know he is in the Living Brain. Though he initially enjoys this he soon becomes jealous of Anna’s new boyfriend and Parker Industries employee Aiden Blain.
Over time Otto learns everything about Aiden in order to copy everything about him. After learning everything about Aiden he tries to take over Aiden’s body after knocking him unconscious. Unfortunately for Otto the tech he created to take over someone’s body currently only works on Peter.
Not willing to give Anna up on anyone Otto arranges for Aiden to get job offers from multiple companies around the world. Aiden visits Anna to let her know that he has taken a job in Sydney and unofficially breaks up with her.
As Anna is left broken hearted she gets a call from Peter, who is flying back after dealing with the disaster in Oklahoma. Anna wonders why Peter looks upset rather than happy for saving the day. Peter says he needs information on New U as he thinks something wrong is going on. Anna says she will do what she can and signs off by calling Peter “Slick.”
As the Living Brain Otto wonders why Anna called Peter “Slick.” Anna says that is what she called him when they were sort of going out. She goes on to elaborate by remembering that when Peter got control of his body she learned all about Otto, who was in control of Peter’s body when they went out.
Seeing this as an opportunity to have Anna admit she loved him he asks about what she thinks of Otto. Anna says that while she never knew anything about Otto or his history with Spider-Man before going out with “Peter” once she did some research on Otto she lerned she could never like him. Anna thanks Living Brain for putting things into perspective for her, not knowing she was talking to Otto the whole time.
Enraged by what Anna just said Otto starts thinking how he can get his body back. First he thinks he should use the New U technology to create his original body. He then thinks twice. Instead he believes he needs to get control of Peter’s body again to get Anna’s love again.
Sometime later Anna and the Living Brain walk through Heathrow Airport after Otto tricks Anna into believing Peter wants to see them in New York to go over the New U analysis. They soon are greeted by some agents who remind Anna to shut down the Living Brain before boarding the plane. Anna complies and, much to Otto’s horror, shuts down the Living Brain before the flight.
In New York Peter is surprised to learn that the Living Brain told Anna that Peter wanted them at the Baxter Building. Anna and Peter think the Living Brain is malfunctioning and go inside to run some maintenance on it.
As Peter does some maintenance Otto as the Living Brain asks Peter how he was able to regain control of his body. Anna and Peter recount how the Green Goblin continuously got the better of Otto when he was Peter and it was then when Otto decided the real Peter was better than him. They go on to say that after accepting this fact Otto wiped his mind out of Peter’s body.
Not being able to hold back his anger over what he believes are lies Otto as the Living Brain lashes out at Peter and Anna. Peter quickly changes into his Spider-Man gear and defends Anna against the Living Brain. As he continues to play defense Spider-Man convinces Anna to use the Living Brain’s shut down code. Much to Anna’s surprise Otto as the Living brain changed the codes and instead it activates the self-destruct mode.
Spider-Man is able to save Anna from the explosion. As they both catch their breath Anna asks Peter if he could rebuild the Living Brain. Peter says that he is not going to do that after what just happened. Anna thinks they may have turned on some sort of revenge program Otto installed.
As the two talk Otto’s device survives the explosion with the old Otto still in control of it. Otto leaves the Baxter Building and begins to plot on how he will use the New U technology to make his return. End of issue.
The Good: Amazing Spider-Man #18 was an underwhelming read. Dan Slott has always excelled at writing Doc Ock during his Spider-Man. I dare say he is his most well written villain during his Marvel career. The problem is that he doesn’t use what has made his version of Doc Ock so strong to its full potential in this issue.
Having recently gone back to finally read Slott’s run on Superior Spider-Man one thing I really appreciated about that comic is how much attention was paid to showing Doc Ock’s intelligence. While Otto ended up admitting defeat by the end of series he didn’t look weak in the process. Instead, everything that Otto did during his time as Superior Spider-Man elevated him to convince you as the reader that he is one of the Marvel Universe smartest minds.
That is something that Slott painted a good picture of as we saw an unseen scene from Spider-Verse that showed off Doc Ock’s intelligence. Seeing how he used the technology he developed in 2099 to keep himself alive. So even in defeat that saw him forget everything about Spider-Verse he still found a way to get one up on Peter Parker. That was a very good way to remind fans of the Superior Spider-Man run that Doc Ock is dangerous even as he has to live out life as the Living Brain.
This issue also did a good job at giving Anna some much needed screen time. It’s been a while since we saw her act more than just a supporting character. And it was nice that Slott finally gave us an answer as to how Anna really feels about Otto after learning about Peter and his mind switch. It’s something that was long overdue as we now know that even if Otto returns in his body or another their relationship will never be what it was. Instead Anna has move on and won’t fall into the common love interest pitfalls of getting back together with Otto as soon as he returns.
R.B. Silva continues to do a good job as the fill in artist with this issue. Just as with the last issue that featured Electro, Silva delivers nice, clean artwork that stays in line with the style that we have seen Marvel give Spider-Man during Slott’s run. Silva does a particularly good job making you feel the range of emotions that Doc Ock goes through, which is no small task given how he showed all of this through the body of the Living Brain body. This helped to add to the reader’s sympathy for Doc Ock.
The Bad: While I am interested to see what kind of wild card Doc Ock is during The Clone Conspiracy arc I am disappointed in how he was added to the event. Because at times it felt as though Slott lost control of his own script and was unsure of how he wanted to write Doc Ock as he puts him on the road for a big return.
Up until this point Slott has done a good job at making it seem as though Doc Ock has been plotting something big for his return. There have many hints throughout this volume that there was this intricate plan that Doc Ock was plotting. But in the end it turns out while this version of Doc Ock that is stuck in the Living Brain is the character pre-Green Goblin conflict his plan was nothing new. Instead Slott has Doc Ock just go back to looking for an opportunity to take Peter Parker’s body over again.
While that plan did end up changing by the end of the issue it was still disappointing that there wasn’t more to it. Even seeing how Doc Ock hasn’t been able to further develop his technology to go beyond just targeting Peter as we saw with how he failed to gain control of Aiden. Instead what Doc Ock did spend his time doing was finding a way to get Sajani fired and get Aiden a new job in order to get him away from Anna.
Seeing that these were his two greatest accomplishments during his time in the body of the Living Brain feels like a waste of time. While Doc Ock may have done other things to hurt Peter it was never made clear in Amazing Spider-Man #18. It’s a shame because this was the prime opportunity to spotlight more of what Doc Ock has been doing as the Living Brain than just getting petty revenge. But that is what we got and was definitely a step back for a character that has been so well written up to this point during Slott’s run.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #18 did not help build my excitement in the upcoming Clone Conspiracy event. Instead I was left disappointed with how Doc Ock was written given Dan Slott’s history of excellent character development for this iconic Spider-Man villain. While Doc Ock’s arc turned out to be a disappointment there were a few things to enjoy for Superior Spider-Man fans, Anna’s enjoyable arc in particular was long overdue. That said, Amazing Spider-Man #18 is an issue that did not live up to its potential due to its less than stellar execution.