Amazing Spider-Man #20
Writer – Dan Slott, Christos Gage
Artist – Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inker – Cam Smith, Giuseppe Camuncoli
Colours – Jason Keith
Letters – VC’s Joe Caramagna
Continued from the first issue of The Clone Conspiracy which was recently released, this story is more like an interlude than anything else. That is not to say that Dan Slott and Christos Gage makes this a throwaway tale, quite the contrary, it is essential for those that want to know how Doctor Octopus came back into the picture. One can obviously guess, after all, the story is called The Clone Conspiracy and the main feature of this book for the past number of issues has been cloning. The last time we saw Doc Ock, he was without a body of his own and now all of a sudden he has one and it is here that we find out how. Otto is obviously an angry man, one who has enough hatred in his heart for any ten people and all of it directed towards Peter Parker. That might be enough motivation for some people, but Otto also wants to get back to the love of his life – Anna Maria, even though she will most likely want nothing to do with him and his villainous ways. Though Otto knows that getting a new body will be something of a task, he has faith in his genius to do so and yet when options start to come up short, he decides to visit New U where he gets a little more than he bargained for. Like every chapter leading up to this story, Slott and Gage makes certain that he grabs your attention and he succeeds for the story of Otto Octavius has been a compelling one for the last few years now. The man is all kinds of ego and madness and yet, there have been times where you have rooted for him because in many ways, he has been the underdog and if there is one thing that is relatable in life, it is the guy that just cannot get a break no matter what he does. Still, just because a man gets a bad lot in life does not automatically erase all of the crimes that he has committed over the years and the Doctor Octopus that we see in this story is in full villain mode, determined to end the life of Spider-Man. Giuseppe Camuncoli continues on the artistic front and whether due to the demands of the shipping schedule or something else, his pencils are not quite as slick as usual, but everything considering, they still look quite good. Overall, this was a great chapter in the latest Spider-epic and one which will hopefully lead to more Doctor Octopus in later storylines.
4 out of 5
Death of X #2
Writer – Charles Soule, Jeff Lemire
Artist – Aaron Kuder
Inker – Jay Leisten, Cam Smith, Scott Hanna
Colours – Morry Hollowell, Jay David Ramos
Letters – VC’s Joe Sabino
The first issue of Marvel’s latest mini-event gave us the death of Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man, and Cyclops the latest in a long line of threats to fight against. Some would say that the man is jumping the gun and perhaps he is, for after all, he simply does not have all the information needed which is why he gave it to Beast in the first place. Be that as it may, the man essentially declares war this issue and things as we already know, are never going to be the same again. Charles Soule and Jeff Lemire do pave the way for a little team-building exercise between the mutants and the Inhumans and Medusa is willing to do whatever it takes to see that the cloud does not harm anyone, but on the flip side, she is still a queen and like any good queen, she has to be ready for any eventuality, even should that mean a war. Despite that, Cyclops is ready to do whatever it takes to protect his people and to that effect, he has already started making alliances and publicly declared his intentions the world over upon the Inhumans. As a reader, though some of these events have not been made privy until this moment, you can surmise quite accurately where they are going due to the state of the current slate of ongoing books. It makes this series somewhat anti-climactic and at this point, almost unnecessary. One issue would have sufficed to see the final fate of Cyclops instead of the four that we are getting, but such as it is, perhaps there are some bigger revelations to come. At the moment, it is a little underwhelming as nothing of note has really happened except for the death of a favourite character. It is almost like we are just being put through our paces before they finally show us the goods and to that effect, it is slightly frustrating. The writing is good and the artwork is okay, but this book should feel like it matters and it really does not. There is no urgency about it, no excitement and it fails to create any need to read it at all even. That in itself is a shame because Marvel could have had a big hit on their hands with this one and so far, it is just a dud. There are two issues to go and two issues for it to redeem itself if they play their cards right.
3 out of 5