In the last issue, Spider-Man and Johnny Storm traveled to the Apogee 1 space station to save the crew, including one John Jameson (J.J.J.’s son), from an attack by Doctor Octopus’ octobots. Being the great heroes that they are, Spidey and Torch eventually saved the entire crew and returned everyone safely to the Earth’s surface. Of course, with Doc Ock involved, it should come as no surprise that his attack on the station wasn’t the end of his plans. This issue we find out more of what the madman is up to… and it isn’t what you think.

As this issue opens, Peter Park is happy that is life finally seems to be back on track. He’s got his life together. As Spider-Man, he’s got preparations made to take down a host of villains (most notably the Sinister Six). As Peter, he’s finally caught up on life, is bills are paid, he’s got no major girl problems, and he’s loving his job at Horizon Labs.

Enter J. Jonah Jameson. When Peter arrives at work, he’s greeted by Mayor Jameson who is trying to shut down Horizon Labs on the grounds that they do dangerous experiments and that they’re hosting a monster with Morbius the Living Vampire working for them. When Jameson is brushed aside by the Lab’s director Max Modell, he exits with the threat that he will return.

Enter Doctor Octopus. Things go from bad to worse when Doctor Octopus reveals what it was that he’d been doing up in space. He, along with the Sinister Six, turns on a series of orbiting devices that heat up the Earth to simulate what things will look like if global warming isn’t stopped. But then things get strange when Doc Ock confesses that he’s dying and that his last wish is to help the world stop global warming! Naturally, Spidey is certain that ol’ eight-arms is up to something bigger than ever this time and rushes to get some help from a few of his superhero friends.

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the ‘Ends of the Earth’ storyline for a while. The idea that Doctor Octopus is dying and planning on giving Spider-Man one final epic battle with this incarnation of the Sinister Six before he goes has had the fanboy side of me nearly drooling with anticipation. Writer Dan Slott has proven time and again that he loves the Spider-Man universe, so I have extremely high hopes for this new arc.

The art from Stefano Caselli is great for both the series and there are some amazing covers coming up over the course of this run as well. I’m even thinking of snagging a few extra copies what with the stunning artwork on the variant “Sinister Six” covers from Gabriele Dell’Otto.

This arc is off to a great beginning and, with Slott at the helm, I expect it’ll only get better from here. What a great way to spend Spidey’s 50th anniversary year!

Verdict: Buy

Written by DAN SLOTT