The first ever issue #700 for Marvel, suitably belongs to their most recognizable character, Spider-Man.  The tale focuses on Spidey and Doctor Octopus, after Doc Ock swapped their brains.  Peter in Doc’s dying body, must scramble to try and switch their brains back before his elderly body fails completely.  Meanwhile, Doc in Peter’s young virile body does everything he can to foil his longtime foe and plots to use Peter’s incredible powers for evil purposes.  It also features one of the most shocking events… maybe the most shocking event to happen in comics this year.

From a story standpoint, it’s the usual Spidey tale.  He’s the perennial underdog.  Nothing ever goes his way.  He’s not rich.  Yet he pours every fiber of himself into doing good for the simple sake of doing good.  Because he learned that “With great power, there must come great responsibility.”  He gets crapped on in the media.  He gets into misunderstanding after misunderstanding.  But he keeps at it.  He’s simply the most heroic hero there is and this issue services him well.  Even with Octavius’ decrepid body failing, he fights on and on to find a cure for their condition and to save his loved ones, whom Octavius has tricked into gathering in a secret lair, leaving them sitting ducks for fellow villains The Scorpion (who has a vendetta against J. Jonah Jameson) and Hydroman.

The art by Humberto Ramos is really great and fits the Spider-Man character.  His greatest contribution is in Octopus-in-Spidey’s body’s body language and stance.  It’s completely unlike the real Peter’s and that’s genius.  There are also some fun bits of dialogue, with Peter spouting off like the mad scientist, like “How is this getting in the way?  Explain!”  and “Not now woman!  This is important!”  There are also some poignant “dream sequences” that are very nicely rendered.

I don’t want to spoil this issue too much.  But the pair share a mindlink, which results in Octavius accessing Peter’s past and learning the ultimate lesson about being a hero, which will lead into the new series “Superior Spider-Man.”

There are several bonuses, a short strip featuring a retired parallel universe Spider-Man and his grandson by J.M. DeMatteis, illustrated by Giuseppe Camuncoli, a really cute Black Cat strip by Jen Van Meter and drawn by Stephanie Buscema, a gallery of the variant covers to this issue as well as a compressed gallery of every issue of “The Amazing Spider-Man’ from #1 to this issue and even a letter column by Stan Lee, the creator of Spider-Man.

This issue had a hefty price tag, $7.99!  I almost balked, but this is an important comic.  I just had to bite!  The price gets one atom, but the rest… it was a satisfying and emotional issu with nice artwork, but I’ve read even harder hitting issues in the past, so it fell a tiny bit short, but just a bit!



Written by Dan Slott
Art by Humberto Ramos
Main Cover by Mr. Garcin