living-brain-peter-parker

The Amazing Spider-Man #18 is an issue that has been building since the end of Spider-Verse in February 2015, so it stands to reason that writer Dan Slott would put extra care into the product. Still, it seems undeniable that this Doctor Octopus-centric tale possesses the most energy the creator has brought to the title in months. Fans of The Superior Spider-Man will be thrilled with the flashbacks and the loose ends that are tied up, while others will be left wondering, “Why can’t the book have this much life on a regular basis?”

Here is what you need to know about ASM #18:

  • Doctor Octopus explains how he was able to transfer his consciousness into the gauntlet of his Superior Spider-Man costume during Spider-Verse. The technology became a “fully functional octobot” and then downloaded his consciousness into Living Brain.
  • Readers are informed how Otto dispatched with Ann Maria Marconi’s new boyfriend, Blain, after he was unable to download his consciousness into the man’s brain. In short, Otto was able to get headhunters in Australia to offer him a job “too good to pass up.” (Blain decided to not even talk to Peter Parker about the situation, apparently…)
  • Doc Ock, still secretly inside Living Brain, demands Anna “explain” when she says she would not date Otto if he were standing before her. She mentions the fact that he tried to kill six billion people. “I could never love someone like that. Ever,” she says while kissing the robot on its cheek.
  • Peter contacts Anna on his way to New York and tells her to “double” her efforts on figuring out the cloning process used by New U Technologies.
  • Otto devises a plan to have Anna fly back to New York because he believes Anna wants Ott’s mind in Peter’s body. When they land in New York she tells Peter that Living Brain has “been acting up a lot lately.”
  • Peter decides to work on Living Brain, aka Doc Ock, who demands Peter “explain” how Otto’s mind was erased from the real Spider-Man’s brain. Peter explains how Otto killed himself so that Peter could save Anna from the Green Goblin, at which point the downloaded consciousness of Otto from Spider-Verse goes ballistic. “Lies! Lies! Lies!” he says while smashing equipment.
  • Living Brain destroys himself as Spider-Man tries to shut him down, but not before Otto’s consciousness again returns to gauntlet from Spider-Verse. Peter and Anna both act as if they only faced a “Doc Ock revenge program from beyond the grave,” as opposed to the real deal (for some inexplicable reason).

Does that sound like a mouthful? If so, that’s because it is — there was a lot going on in ASM #18. To Mr. Slott’s credit, he organized his thoughts about as well as could be expected with the plot threads at hand.

living-brain-doc-ock

 

As was said earlier, fans of SSM will enjoy this issue. There really isn’t too much to ding it on aside from the fact that once again people must act like morons to move the plot forward.

“Please, he won’t hurt me. He never would. Don’t ask me how I know. I just do. Trust me!” Anna says while trying to convince Peter to get closer to a rampaging Living Brain — but it might as well have been Dan Slott speaking to the readers.

Translation: “Don’t ask too many questions. I don’t. Trust me!”

And Dan is right: If you just want a “wacky” adventure and don’t have a desire to think too hard, then this issue is a fun read. Don’t ask why Anna and Peter give the equivalent of, “Huh. That was weird,” after Living Brain’s meltdown. Don’t ask questions about the nature of life and if humans have a soul, and don’t ask how Otto literally had Peter’s entire life beamed into his mind and didn’t change one bit.

“But Doug!” you say, “Didn’t Otto die to save Anna in Superior Spider-Man #30? Doesn’t that count?”

Answer: No, because readers were given no reason to believe Otto had changed in the previous 29 issues. It just happened.

anna-living-brain

Regardless, as already mentioned, ASM #18 is worth buying for anyone who has been eager to see the series once again focus on Doctor Octopus. It is rather intriguing to think about a man who cannot have the woman he loves because he is trapped inside an “inferior” body, and the villain’s plans to resurrect himself are a good tie-in to Dead No More.

asm18-anna-peter

If you plan on buying Dead No More, then ASM #18 is worth picking up this weekend. If not, then you still might want to give it a read. The author seldom is capable of packing pathos, organized thought, enthusiasm, and action into a single issue of ASM, and it might be months before such a feat is witnessed again.

Related:

Dan Slott’s Spider-Verse Epilogue: Wrap-up oddly more exciting than main story

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

20 comments

  1. Nice review Doug and I do agree this issue like Dan really put everything he had into it, in order to make it work. I won’t say much because you already said most of it. except to make a little observation about those asking

    “Didn’t Otto die to save Anna in Superior Spider-Man #30? Doesn’t that count?”

    The reason it won’t is because this Otto is the Otto that didn’t experience what he did after he got back from the future, this one did’t do that Felicia, didn’t experience Venom or the Goblin Nation, non of it. So to him with his narcissism and feelings of superiority would never be able to fathom being able to do what he did to save Anna.

    1. “Nice review Doug…”

      Thanks!

      “The reason it won’t is because this Otto is the Otto that didn’t experience what he did after he got back from the future, this one did’t do that Felicia, didn’t experience Venom or the Goblin Nation, non of it. So to him with his narcissism and feelings of superiority would never be able to fathom being able to do what he did to save Anna.”

      Right, but my point from the original comment was that the Otto who did sacrifice himself did so out of the blue. Readers were never given the details needed to believe that he would have performed a selfless act.

  2. Was never a fan of the whole “Superior Spider-Man” idea, but I could see the idea of the woman Ock loves outright rejecting him and even telling it to his face (while he’s using a fake ID that she treats as a friend) could make for some pretty good drama, if handled right.

    Out of curiosity, since this Ock is basically a recorded backup made while the original was still alive, wouldn’t that mean that this Ock is just an AI software programmed to think that it’s the real deal (even if Ock had intended it to be a “real” upload)?

    1. “Out of curiosity, since this Ock is basically a recorded backup made while the original was still alive, wouldn’t that mean that this Ock is just an AI software programmed to think that it’s the real deal (even if Ock had intended it to be a “real” upload)?”

      Good question. Unfortunately, that is the kind of philosophical inquiry that Dan Slott typically shuns. Don’t ask about that! He’s alive…because…alive! 😉

  3. Heh, “F4″…small little gag, but I like it.

    Overall, it’s a nice issue if you like Doc Ock, but again this is supposed to be Peter’s book, and he’s again shafted to the sidelines just to big up the guy who many consider to be Slott’s true main character. I get the feeling Clone Conspiracy is going to be all about Ock’s journey and less about Peter. The reason Slott is putting his best effort into this issue is because OCK is the man you’re meant to care about, the man you’re meant to root for. You feel it when Annie rejects him for his past deeds, you feel it when he lashes out as the Brain, and you feel it when you resolves to get his body back. You feel this sort of thing for the chif baddie and yet you feel nothing of this sort for Peter in eighteen plus issues. That to me is a fundamental problem

    1. “Overall, it’s a nice issue if you like Doc Ock, but again this is supposed to be Peter’s book, and he’s again shafted to the sidelines just to big up the guy who many consider to be Slott’s true main character. […] You feel it when Annie rejects him for his past deeds, you feel it when he lashes out as the Brain, and you feel it when you resolves to get his body back. You feel this sort of thing for the chief baddie and yet you feel nothing of this sort for Peter in eighteen plus issues. That to me is a fundamental problem.”

      Exactly. I totally agree, zariusii.

      For an issue like this, I’m unsure how to review it. Do I review it solely as a book on Peter Parker, or do I review it from a pure storytelling standpoint because Peter is technically still part of the show? It speaks volumes that Dan Slott packed so much emotion into this tale — for Doctor Octopus — and yet, as you said, nothing of the sort (good or bad), has been afford Peter in 18 issues.

      There have been things that have happened to Peter that were forced to make you feel some sort of emotion (e.g., Peter’s random girlfriend tried to kill him! Noooo! Or not, because no one cares about her), but nothing that naturally hit the mark.

      When fans of The Amazing Spider-Man are in this kind of predicament, I’m not sure how so many can still say Dan truly understands Peter Parker.

  4. If this issue is full of energy, I take it as more evidence that Slott loves the Doc Ock character most of all. What percentage of Slott’s ASM issues have been devoted either to a lead-up to an Ock story, an actual Ock story, or the simmering aftermath of an Ock story? The acronym for the series might as well be ADO, not ASM.

    Marvel ought to just let Slott write an on-going Doc Ock series, and put someone on ASM who likes / respects Peter Parker. Slott would love doing that, and we would get Peter back.

    1. “If this issue is full of energy, I take it as more evidence that Slott loves the Doc Ock character most of all. What percentage of Slott’s ASM issues have been devoted either to a lead-up to an Ock story, an actual Ock story, or the simmering aftermath of an Ock story? The acronym for the series might as well be ADO, not ASM.”

      Yep. And yet there are still people out there who will argue with you on that point.

      “Marvel ought to just let Slott write an on-going Doc Ock series, and put someone on ASM who likes / respects Peter Parker. Slott would love doing that, and we would get Peter back.”

      Agreed.

  5. It says something about the writer when the only time we actually get interested about the story is when the protagonist of said story is mostly absent from said story. And the enemy of the story is the one that is written better.

    Also am I the only one a little bit pissed off that ONLY Otto Octavius (His Copied Mind, mind you) is the ONLY one who showed a “little bit” of emotion due to what happened regarding Superior ? When the one who should feel betrayed, used, manipulated, depressed and pissed off should be Peter Parker because it was Otto who used his Peter’s Body to suit his needs and do his will and no one even noticed any changes on Peter and when they found out no one even apologized but some outright condemned him for Otto’s actions (Like Mary Jane and Felicia Hardy).

    Dan Slott might be a great Otto Octavius writer but, in my honest to God opnion, he is The Worst Spider-Man writer that I have ever seen!

    1. “Dan Slott might be a great Otto Octavius writer but, in my honest to God opnion, he is The Worst Spider-Man writer that I have ever seen!”

      You’re not alone, Berna. I may do up some special t-shirts to give away once Dan Slott steps down from the book… I’ll start putting together some plans in the near future. I have some ideas.

  6. I think he strongly identifies with Otto, for some reason. I don’t mean Slott is a would-be serial killer or anything like that. But clearly Stan Lee identified with Peter, and as a result he did a great job launching the character. Slott depicts Peter as a well-intentioned doofus with unresolved daddy issues, which is a hostile take on the character.

    1. “Slott depicts Peter as a well-intentioned doofus with unresolved daddy issues, which is a hostile take on the character.”

      What stinks is that an entire generation of readers only know him as an inept man-child.

  7. I have really come to despise Otto Octavius under Dan Slott’s tenure. He’s just an arrogant bloated super genius with no redeeming features and readers are meant to lap it up? No thanks!

    Slott always shines his torch on Doc Ock and has never emphasized Peter’s strengths, only his weaknesses as an abject parodic failure.

    1. “Slott always shines his torch on Doc Ock and has never emphasized Peter’s strengths, only his weaknesses as an abject parodic failure.”

      To keep the “torch” metaphor going, how are there still people out there who can’t see it? The last two issues were technically the strongest I have seen from him since Renew Your Vows, but Peter Parker was a total non-factor in ASM #17 and the focus was on Doc Ock this time around. I’m only laughing about all of this on the outside…

  8. @MRstarkiller: It interests me that, in the new issue of Venom Spaceknight, the symbiote (having briefly bonded with Peter) tells Peter that he is “teeming with rage.” It makes me wonder if, again, Robbie Thompson, writing an ancillary title, doesn’t have a much better insight into Peter.

    Random thought: I guess in ASM digital copies of your mind counts as the real “you”.

    Peter’s mind was transferred into Ock’s body. Then Ock’s body died. That would imply that Peter died.

    But then, somehow, Peter’s mind is back inside his own body.

    Ock made a digital copy of his mind, during his time-travel to 2099. At the end of SSM, the real Ock gives control of Peter’s body back to Peter. Ock then dissipates. But now we have that digital copy of Ock loading itself into the robot. But didn’t the real Otto die at the end of Superior?

    Isn’t it also correct to predict (jokingly) that this central oddity will likely never be clarified or resolved?

    An out would be for some writer to say: (1) Ock transferred their actual minds, not copies; (2) Peter’s mind leapt back to his body when Ock’s body died, and (3) the SSM Ock didn’t die, but went comatose.

    That still means /this/ Ock isn’t the real one. But what would you bet there will be no effort to clear this up?

    1. “Random thought: I guess in ASM digital copies of your mind counts as the real ‘you’. Peter’s mind was transferred into Ock’s body. Then Ock’s body died. That would imply that Peter died. But then, somehow, Peter’s mind is back inside his own body.”

      Dan said in his Twitter feed long ago that he wasn’t a religious guy. I still want someone to get a straight “yes” or “no” answer from him regarding his religious beliefs. Is he an atheist? Is he agnostic? What is he? It would shed some more light as to why these questions are so vague and, like you said, not likely to be answered.

    2. I think the aspect of Mind stuff is that Otto did not “Transfer” Peter’s mind into his body, He simply made a copy of Peter Parker’s brain and put in Otto’s body and Otto did the same with Peter’s where Otto put his mind inside of Peter’s thus having two minds in the same bodies.

      Also, Thompson is becoming more of a damage control of Dan Slott because of how much better he handled Silk, Black Cat, JJJ, Spider-Man and Venom after Slott had his way with them.
      And I think I would like for either Thompson or Charles Soules to take over ASM when Slott is done breaking up his “toys” so that the next writer can fix everything.

      PS : Regarding the mind transfer shenanigans I would highly recommend to anyone watch or play the game SOMA who deals with this sort of thing (Mind Transfer Stuff or Cloning Stuff if you look in a different perspective) much better than Slott has and will handle.

    3. “Regarding the mind transfer shenanigans I would highly recommend to anyone watch or play the game SOMA who deals with this sort of thing (Mind Transfer Stuff or Cloning Stuff if you look in a different perspective) much better than Slott has and will handle.”

      That sounds interesting. I’ll have to look into that. Thanks!

  9. It isn’t even consistent with the greater MU, since (as you know) Professor X, Dr. Strange, Dr. Doom, characters and others with “psychic” powers can do things without the need of their body’s capacities, and travel outside their bodies, Peter has talked with his Uncle Ben (in Queens heaven, I think it was), and etc.

    One way a writer can get around this is to say that Octavius is an atheist, so he would believe he was replicating the person by replicating brain patterns. But even that explanation would be weird, since Octavius in the past admits the existence of the paranormal, just as Reed Richards does.

    This is why it’s good to have an editor point out holes in story logic ahead of time. Otherwise you end up with stuff like Anna saying she had -never even heard of Otto Octavius- even though he was a renowned cyberneticist, and was an infamously wanted criminal. But Slott wanted to exonerate Anna’s taste in men, so he had her living in a life-long news blackout.

    1. “This is why it’s good to have an editor point out holes in story logic ahead of time. Otherwise you end up with stuff like Anna saying she had -never even heard of Otto Octavius- even though he was a renowned cyberneticist, and was an infamously wanted criminal. But Slott wanted to exonerate Anna’s taste in men, so he had her living in a life-long news blackout.”

      Thank you! I left that out of my review because I didn’t want to be accused of picking through the issue for things to hate, but I thought the exact same thing. I was like, “Wait, what? Why would she have to read up on Doctor Octopus?” That was really weird.

      That whole scene was Dan trying to justify his decisions. She said she didn’t know anything about Peter, but after meeting “him” (i.e., Doc Ock in Peter’s body) one time and thinking, “Hmmm. He’s cute. I wonder…” she would have Googled his name. We’re really supposed to believe that the mountain of information that would be available on Peter Parker didn’t influence her decision to move forward with the relationship? Okay, Dan. Nice try.

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