Amazing Spider-Man #84 Review – Doc Ock vs Ben Reilly!

After everything the Beyond Corporation has put into making Ben Reilly the best Spider-Man possible all of that could be torn down with the appearance of one particular Spider-Man villain. That villain is none other than Doctor Otto Octavius. Given the fact that a lot of the tech that Doc Ock developed during his time as the Superior Spider-Man was absorbed by the Beyond Corporation you knew it was only a matter of time before he returned to claim what is his. That time is now with Amazing Spider-Man #84. Let’s see how things go with this latest issue.

Beyond Board: Kelly Thompson, Cody Ziglar, Saldin Ahmed, Patrick Gleason, Zeb Wells

Writer: Cody Ziglar

Artist: Paco Medina

Colorist: Espen Grundetjern

Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: After a successful therapy session with Dr. Ashley Kafka that gets him over his nightmare involving Uncle Ben, Ben Reilly decides to have a fun night on the town with Janine Godbe. The date night is interrupted by Doctor Otto Octavius attacking the Beyond Corporation.

At the Beyond Corporation headquarters in Midtown Doc Ock bullies his way into getting to where a special black box item he created is being held. Spider-Man (Ben Reilly) appears and quickly disables Doc Ock’s metal tentacles. Doc Ock is still able to get the black box device he was after and uses it to active some of Beyond Corporation’s defense systems to knock out Spider-Man.

Ben wakes up in the medical bay where Marcus Momplaisir tells him about Doc Ock escape with the device. Maxine Danger appears as a hologram and orders Ben and Marcus to get back what Doc Ock stole.

At the Beyond Corporation’s headquarters in another part of New York City, Doc Ock tells the front desk that he is there for a surprise visit to see Maxine Danger. End of issue.

The Good: Amazing Spider-Man #84 isn’t the most groundbreaking chapter of the Beyond direction for the series. Rather this is a chapter that is made to reinforce the strength of what was already created by previous chapters in the Beyond direction. Given how we are now ten parts into this direction it was a smart play by Cody Ziglar and the Beyond Board to continue on this path.

In particular, what worked with Amazing Spider-Man #84 was highlighting how the current Beyond Corporation is made up of technology and other ventures they absorbed through various business purchases. One of these purchases that was highlighted back in Amazing Spider-Man #75 was the absorption of many Parker Industries tech and trademarks. That was the perfect set-up to eventually bring Doctor Otto Octavius back into the fold as he would have a lot to say about the tech he created for Park Industries being taken by someone else.

Ziglar did not disappoint with how Doctor Octavius wasted no time in tearing through Beyond Corporation to get a specific device he feels was always his. The story moves quickly thanks to Ziglar showing how Doc Ock is not about waiting around to get what he wants. This more villainous take on Doc Ock is what I’ve been waiting for the character to return to. There is just a wicked aura that Doc Ock has that is highlighted by the giant smirk Paco Medina gives him.

Ben Reilly fights Doc Ock for the first time since joining the Beyond Corporation in Amazing Spider-Man #84.

Given how much Doc Ock has been powered up both mentally and technologically over the years it was good to see that he was able to overwhelm Ben Reilly’s Spider-Man. This made great use of how Doc Ock has such great knowledge about Spider-Man that he knew he was not fighting Peter. Given that knowledge Doc Ock was able to take advantage of the less experienced Ben to claim the device he wanted with relative ease.

The fight also went to further highlight how the Beyond Corporation has been holding Ben’s hand for so long that he is not ready to fight villains when not given the proper preparations by his handlers. That is shown with how when Ben is shown when he disables Doc Ock’s arms he thought he already won. That overconfidence leading to his defeat shows that he is too reliant on Spider-Man tech the Beyond Corporation provided him will help him win. This further shows the difference between Peter Parker and Ben as Spider-Man.

The results of this fight make what Maxine Danger tells Ben and Marcus Momplaisir about their failures even more poignant. It is by far the best Maxine has looked as Ziglar didn’t just simply paint her in an antagonistic direction. Rather, everything Maxine said was what Ben needed to hear after how he failed due to his overconfidence. It also helps to build even more of a divide between Ben and Maxine that we are seeing become a major part of the Beyond direction.

There is also some solid character work done outside of Ben’s Spider-Man adventures. Bringing back the therapy sessions that Ben is having with Dr. Ashley Kafka helps to give him greater character depth. It shows that he is trying to personally improve as a person. Which helps to build him to be more than just a Peter Parker clone.

The artwork by Paco Medina was really well done. His Doctor Otto Octavius was by far my favorite part of this issue. He makes Doc Ock appear as wicked as possible. And I appreciate that Medina returned Octavius to looking more like his classic version rather than being in the body of a clone of Peter Parker. This helps build further separation when Doc Ock fights Spider-Man in this issue.

The Bad: One of the parts that has been a consistent struggle for the Beyond direction is getting over the relationship between Ben and Janine Godbe. Their relationship is barely explored thus far that when Ziglar and others try to integrate Janine into the story it just doesn’t work. There relationship just comes across as incredibly forced just because there needs to be a love interest story in a superhero comic book. Given that we are ten chapters into the Beyond direction this isn’t how a key part of Ben’s narrative should come across. It also just leaves Janine to not be a fully realized character but just a plot device.

Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #84 was a solid chapter in the Beyond direction. Cody Ziglar and Paco Medina did a great job with how they wrote and drew, respectively, Doctor Otto Octavius. This portrayal made Doc Ock instantly one of the most interesting characters in the Beyond era. How Ben Reilly’s Spider-Man and the Beyond Corporation respond to Doc Ock’s actions in this issue will be very interesting to see play out.

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