I have been a Spider-Man fan for a number of years now, and Dan Slott's run has been amazing. Although not all the issues he's written lately have been perfect he has made me very excited to see what will happen when issue 700 arrives, and I've not been as excited about a Spider-Man story in years.
WARNING: THIS WILL SPOIL THE END OF ISSUE 698
This issue continues from were the last issue left off, Doctor Octopus has managed to switch bodies with Spider-Man and is now living his life with all his memories whilst Peter is trapped in Doc Ock's dying body. After sifting through Doc Ock's memories he finds out how he managed to switch bodies with him, and goes to drastic measures to escape the Raft including enlisting the help of super villains.
This was a brilliant issue and I'm getting very excited about issue 700 is 3 weeks time, slightly annoyed issue 699.1 will be in the way now. Slott has done a brilliant job on this issue and I have loved most of his work over his run on Spider-Man. Although there wasn't as much action in this issue as some of the other issues have had, and not as fun as it usually is, it was still a very good story and shows that he can write a good issue with a serious story. The way he told the story from Peter's thoughts trapped in Doc Ock's body was brilliant, and you could really feel the desperation in the character knowing that he's in a body that's dying whilst Doc Ock could be committing ton's of crimes in his name.
I was happy to see Humberto Ramos doing the artwork for this issue as I have loved his art throughout the last couple of years, and think his style really suits this series. Paolo Manuel Rivera also did another amazing cover and I've enjoyed both this cover and the last, and have loved the symbolism in them. I love how Ramos' art work has this fun feel towards it, and how even though it doesn't look to serious he can still show great emotion, and set a brilliant mood to the issue. Like for instance when he drew Doc Ock in Peter's body standing over Peter in Doc Ock's body, you can see the malice in his eyes, and how Spider-Man looks pure evil for a change. I have however never been a fan of how he draws Doc Ock, okay it keeps with his unique style but I think it's a little to unrealistic for my taste.
THIS NEXT PARAGRAPH MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
This issue revealed how Doc Ock managed to switch bodies with Peter. Whilst thinking of how to get out of this predicament he's in Peter decides to see if he can find anything n Doc's memories. During this sequence we see parts of Doc Ock's earlier life, when he almost married Aunt May, and even more recent events including Ends of the Earth. It is revealed that during Spider-Man's fight with the Hobgoblin's in the last story, Danger Zone, and due to Spider-Man's Spider-Sense going nuts temporarily Doc Ock put his plan into motion. I thought the way Doc Ock did this, which I won't explain in detail (you may work it out if you look at the picture, so avoid if you want to avoid a possible spoiler) was very interesting, and although this was similar to one of the ways I thought he may have done it, quite different at the same time. It was a very ingenious way of swapping bodies with someone, and although not necessarily the most elaborate, would still have needed ton's of planning, and was realistic enough for a comic.
Also in this issue the Lizard reveals to who he believes is a dying Doc Ock, but is actually Peter, that his mind is in fact Dr. Connors, and that the cure that was administered to him at the end of No Turning Back worked leaving his mind trapped in the Lizards body instead. Lizard himself revealed this at the end of that story so it wasn't new news, but now that Peter knows makes it worthy news. It was eventually going to come out in the open, and leading up to the supposed huge (which it should be) 700th issue it makes sense to use this information. I've also liked how Slott has gathered together things that have happened over the last 100 issues and put them into this story, as we obviously have Doc Ock how's been dying since then, Scorpion who featured in the Revenge of the Spider-Slayer (which is part of the Matters of Life and Death TPB), and Lizard and Morbius who both were a part of the No Turning Back storyline. It will be interesting to see how these character will affect the 700th issue, and after reading the preview for issue 699.1 I'm actually interested to see how that will affect things just before the 700th issue.
The choice of villains in this issue was also interesting, and I loved how the obvious villains weren't chosen. I especially liked seeing Hydro-Man again as I really enjoyed this character years ago, and though he was brilliant in the 90's animated series. Trapster, or Paste-Pot Pete as older comic fans may know him as was also an interesting choice. Although he featured in the Deadpool series prior to Marvel NOW! recently, he's not really made many appearances which is a shame, as when written well he's a decent villain. Finally Scorpion, there had to be a well known Spider-Man villain amongst this group and Scorpion is the best choice. He's easily manipulated, and will do anything for money or a chance to beat Spider-Man. I'm interested to see how these villains will affect the 700th issue, and how Peter gets on whilst working with villains.
A truly phenomenal issue and I'm really looking forward to the 700th issue now. Although this issue wasn't perfect, and more serious than most Spider-Man stories, it was still very good, and very gripping which is needed in a build up to a big story. I would highly recommend this issue to anyone, as it gives a lot of insight to what might happen in the 700th issue, and with something big about to happen to Peter you don't want to miss it.