Best Moments in Comics

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #124, March 1987

Story title: "When Strikes the Octopus!"
Writer: Roger McKenzie
Artist: Greg LaRoque

Doctor Octopus is up to no good again, ambushing a chemical transportation truck to make off with some dangerous chemicals. Peter Parker, overhearing the news on the radio as he tries to prepare some college sheets for classes, changes into his Spidey suit and swings out to investigate. It seems that Doc Ockís been stealing a lot of nuclear related materials, but while on his way to search for leads in the case, Spidey gets sidetracked by what turns out to be a false alarm, when he Ėor his spider-sense- mistakes a store proprieter for being a thief in his own store. After evading the police, he later heads over to the Daily Bugle to learn more, then finds Doc Ock trying to steal more tools and material from a freight liner, but while he battles Octavius valiantly, he is unsuccessful in thwarting his escape. Later on, visiting the Bugle, one of the secretaries, when checking for what materials were stolen, finds out that Docís got the right tools for building a nuclear reactor that could level Manhattan. Spidey heads out again, and realizes that Docís secret HQ is hidden in the sewer tunnel beneath the street on which the store whose owner he thought was a robber was located. Penetrating it, he fights Doc Ock until he manages to knock him out temporarily, but finds that to defuse the equipment is more complicated than he thinks, and Docís ability to strike nearby foes while subconscious is also making things difficult. He wakes Octavious, who then takes the necessary steps to defusing the bomb he himself put together, and then, when attempting to attack Spidey again, bring the HQ down in an avalanche, while Spidey escapes to the outside of the room, where he contemplates the victory over his foe in the sewer hallway.

Now this is how to do a good story with Doctor Octopus as the antagonist. A simple story featuring Doc Ockís obsessive madness in command, as he tries to build himself one of those cheesy world destruction devices, and Spideyís got to put aside his college assignments to head out and stop him, and to deal with mistrustful authoritative figures who get in the way.

One part that certainly intrigued me was where Doc was thinking about how, with the equipment he stole, he can upgrade his powers and make himself even more powerful than Spidey can handle. I once thought that this could have had something to do with his advancing on our favorite wall-crawler while unconscious, but the truth behind that part is that itís got something to do with how heís meant to be creepy in his own way, and when he first debuted in the Silver Age, the way he took to pulling some bars off the wall of his hospital room showed that he was quite the eerie personality that Stan Lee intended him to be when creating him.

Whether or not he actually did succeed in upgrading his power, I have no idea, but nevertheless, while I realize that to strike while in slumberland is nothing new to Doc, it still succeeds in impressing me very much indeed.

As usual, Spidey relishes in some good wisecracks, and makes this one of the better issues and adventures of our friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man to enjoy.

And as such, itís an issue thatís good for reading if you can find it.

Copyright Avi Green. All rights reserved.

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