The Amazing Spider-Man tie-in issues have been surprisingly delivering a good side story to the main Secret Empire conflict that has explained Peter Parker’s absence in the event. Though not reaching the height of Dan Slott’s best work on Amazing Spider-Man, this Secret Empire tie-in has furthered the major conflict with Doctor Octopus. After the last issue it seems that Slott is setting Peter Parker to lose everything that he has tried to build since taking Parker Industries worldwide post-Secret Wars. Will Doctor Octopus succeed in taking over Parker Industries as Secret Empire envelopes the Marvel Universe? Let’s find out with Amazing Spider-Man #31.
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The Superior Doctor Octopus mocks Spider-Man as he has complete control of all of Parker Industries technology, including the Spider-Riders he is attacking Spider-Man with.
In the streets people are recording the battle between Doctor Octopus and Spider-Man while the police try to control the crowd.
Aunt May arrives on the scene believing she can do something to stop all the chaos going on.
Back atop Parker Industries HQ, Spider-Man says there are millions of fail-safes he can use to stop Doctor Octopus plans. Doctor Octopus calls Spider-Man’s bluff by revealing the four actual Parker Industries fail-safe systems. Spider-Man is finally able to get on Doctor Octopus’ nerves by figuring out that Ock’s plans aren’t something Captain America and Hydra know.
With Doctor Octopus distracted Spider-Man calls his team about getting his backup plan ready, including having Lian get manual control of one of the Spider-Riders. Lian is able to use the Spider-Rider in her control to knock Doctor Octopus out of Parker Industries building.
Spider-Man uses this chance to get inside the building and changes back into his regular clothing.
Peter Parker gets to his office and tells all his employees that they are facing a hostile takeover by Hydra and that they won’t stand by doing nothing. Peter goes on to thank all his employees and proclains “Parker Industries No More.”
Peter has every department at Parker Industries to activate worm viruses on all company systems as Doctor Octopus yells at him not to do it.
On the streets everyone using Web Ware suddenly find their devices shutting down and erasing all their data.
As the Parker Industries employees destroy all the equipment Peter gets a suitcase holding his first secret weapon. He then has Phillip activate his second secret weapon.
Phillip does so but mentions how it feels like his research was for nothing as everything is being destroyed.
Back on the streets Min Wei finds Aunt May, who is shocked over Peter’s decision, who expresses her thanks for everything Peter has done and wants to watch Spider-Man and her daughter take down Doctor Octopus.
Right above the city Spider-Man starts fighting Doctor Octopus again. Angered that Spider-Man foiled his plans to take back Parker Industries he uses an improved version of the electro-magnetic pulse Norman Osborn used to disable Spider-Man’s armor.
Spider-Man ends up suffering no damage as he reveals he is wearing his original costume underneath the armored version. Spider-Man then uses the frequency, which is the same as Parker Industries, Doctor Octopus is using to control his arms against him.
Before being defeated Doctor Octopus decides to swing away. Spider-Man goes after Doctor Octopus but only finds his arms and mask on top of a rooftop.
Spider-Man then finds Aunt May on the streets and wonders what she is doing. Aunt May says she is helping people just like Spider-Man needs to go do by joining the fight back home.
Meanwhile Doctor Octopus is able to use the massive crowd to sneak away in the massive crowd.
Sometime later Doctor Octopus gets back to Hydra Base One. Arnim Zola congratulates Ock for his good work in accomplishing Captain America’s plan in taking down Parker Industries.
As he is surrounded by Hydra soldiers Doctor Octopus silently stands in anger over being seen as nothing more than a soldier in Hydra’s army. End of issue.
The Good: Amazing Spider-Man #31 is possibly the best Secret Empire related piece of content Marvel has released. That is not saying a lot given how Secret Empire has gone but Dan Slott and Stuart Immonen did a great job using the event to enhance their long-term Spider-Man plans.
When it comes to writing Spider-Man villains there is no villain that Slott writes better than Doctor Octopus. This issue shows Doctor Octopus at his best and worst as he goes from victorious to defeated villain in the matter of one issue. The overconfidence that Doctor Octopus speaks with as he throws insult after insult at Spider-Man is phenomenal. It makes you as reader want to see Spider-Man ultimately deliver the defeat Doctor Octopus deserves.
The confidence that Doctor Octopus spoke with made the ultimate decision that Peter had to make to destroy everything Parker Industries has done a heroic decision. Even though Peter knew that Parker Industries has done a lot of good he had to make sure Doctor Octopus and Hydra did not control his company’s tech. With Doctor Octopus fingerprints all over the Parker Industries this was the only decision Peter could make in the middle of all the events of Secret Empire.
That decision by Peter added to how powerful Captain America and Hydra has become during Secret Empire. Because not did Hydra, thanks to Doctor Octopus, put an end to one their biggest threats in Parker Industries but also put an end to one of Marvel’s heroes biggest allies since Peter’s company has been funding the Avengers. Now that the funding for the Avengers is gone Slott has made created a few other plotlines for Mark Waid, the current writer of Avengers, and other writers to pick up on after Secret Empire ends.
Adding that consequence to Peter’s decision made Doctor Octopus’ latest attack be something that is larger-than-life battles as it goes beyond the fight. That made the big moment where Peter revealed that one of his secret weapon was his original Spider-Man costume under the armored version the ultimate FU moment. It showed that even as Doctor Octopus still had the upper hand that Peter was thinking ahead and knew everything Ock would try to do to him.
Even though Doctor Octopus did ultimately get away it did feel like Spider-Man won at the end of the day. That point was driven home as Doctor Octopus realized that he was nothing more than a chess piece in Captain America’s Hydra chessboard. Seeing how he just that grunt is the biggest insult to Ock’s ego. This helps set Doctor Octopus to have an even bigger arc in the upcoming “Fall of Parker” arc.
The way Slott used Aunt May as the eye on the ground was great. Slott did a good job using her to sum up the emotional rollercoaster of Peter’s decision to destroy Parker Industries’ technology. Seeing Aunt May go from angry over Peter’s decision to realizing how he had to do so Spider-Man could defeat Doctor Octopus added to big fight of this issue. Aunt May telling Spider-Man to go rejoin the heroes in taking down Captain America and Hydra was a strong end cap to her character arc during the course of Amazing Spider-Man #31.
Stuart Immonen was once again provided Amazing Spider-Man #31 a consistency an issue as important as this one needed. Immonen captured the shock of Peter’s decision with how people on the streets, especially Aunt May, reacted to Web Ware being taken down. That reaction carried over to how the workers inside Parker Industries had a wide reaction the decision, from wondering about their futures to being excited to taking part in helping to destroy Hydra’s Secret Empire.
As good as all the reaction was Immonen’s action was even better. Immonen knows how to deliver on the kinetic action that is expected from a Spider-Man comic. He also knows how to make a moment even bigger, like when we see Spider-Man in his original costume after Doctor Octopus thought he won with Osborn’s device. Immonen deliver on how this was a tide turning moment in the fight between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus.
The Bad: The one thing that Amazing Spider-Man #31 missed the mark on was how it transitioned back to Secret Empire’s main event. With this being the only place we saw Peter Parker’s Spider-Man during the events of Secret Empire it would’ve been good to see him re-enter the main story. Not getting that moment where Peter’s Spider-Man rejoins the other heroes made Parker Industries being taken down because of Captain America’s plans feel smaller. It was a reminder that this was a side story rather than being important to how Hydra to Spider-Man and Parker Industries out of the equation in their plot in Secret Empire.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #31 delivered an important chapter in Dan Slott’s run that sets the stage for the rest of the series after Secret Empire ends. The connection to Secret Empire did hurt the impact to Marvel’s blockbuster event. That said, Amazing Spider-Man #31 did a great job in creating several intriguing plotlines following Peter’s decision to put an end to Parker Industries.