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