Amazing Spider-Man #700

Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos lead the charge into oblivion in the giant-sized "Amazing Spider-Man" #700 with fifty-two pages that settle the business between Pater Parker and Otto Octavius. As Slott has done all the way through his run, he writes an emotional, impactful and memorable Spider-Man story. While there are no secrets or surprises about the conclusion of "Amazing Spider-Man" #700 on the internet, that certainly doesn't preclude Slott from adding surprise twists and turns into the final chapter of "Dying Wish."

The lead story seeks to cement Otto Octavius in Peter Parker's life as the two characters pulled a "Freaky Friday" against Spider-Man's knowledge and wishes. Trapped in the withering husk of Doctor Octopus' body, Peter Parker struggles to return to his life, while Doc Ock further explores the benefits of becoming Peter Parker. Slott does a great job of writing the shock and astonishment both characters find as they learn more about their newfound bodies and lives. Further raising the intrigue, Slott sews just enough creepy, uneasy feelings into the characters around Doc Ock and Spidey to offer the reader hope that maybe, just maybe, the old Parker luck will find a way to change course in this most dire of circumstances.

The art from Ramos is lithe and expressive, cartoony and animated. While there are readers who might not enjoy Ramos' work on Spider-Man, there is simply no denying that his work here is some of the very best that he has brought to the wall-crawler's adventures. With a fantastic assist from Edgar Delgado, the Doc Ock version of Peter Parker has a much different appearance, posture and twinkle in his eye than the true Parker. The colorist really sells the sepia-toned fading memories and dreams and overall simply suits Ramos' drawings quite nicely. Some bits of Ramos' storytelling are murky, like Spider-Man's jaw-crushing punch to the heavily-armored Scorpion, but those areas are where Slott helps his artist through his writing, just as Ramos pours emotion into the expressions of Slott's characters.

The lead story, in and of itself, is wonderful, heart-wrenching and memorable. Slott leaves enough of the story open to interpretation and follow-up tales that readers are certain to find threads to cling on to or tie around their hope. After all, this type of adventure and the myriad possibilities stemming from the ending could only happen in comic books.

Beyond that lead story, however, J. M. DeMatteis teams up with Giuseppe Camuncoli and Sal Buscema to deliver the story of a man laying claim to Spider-Man's legend. There's proof enough present to make that believably plausible, but that really isn't the crux of DeMatteis' story. The long-time Spider-Man scribe is telling a story about the importance of family and responsibility, a story that rings true with the real legend of Spider-Man, inspired by Benjamin Parker.

Filling out the hundred-plus page comic book is a fun Spider-Man/Black Cat adventure that sports lovely retro artwork from Stephanie Buscema to match the story by Jen Van Meter. It's a light-hearted romp that certainly adds an emotional uptick to "Amazing Spider-Man" #700 right before the issue delivers a peek into the Spider-titles from the editors' desks and seven-page cover gallery that is followed by a six-and-a-half page letter column including answers from Stan Lee and tributes and recollections from entertainment professionals.

One of two books published by Marvel this week, "Amazing Spider-Man" #700 changes the face of Marvel Comics forever. Or, at the very least, for NOW! as the publisher is now set to roll out "Superior Spider-Man" following the epic conclusion of this issue and series. I'm glad Marvel scaled back their releases this week as this issue deserves a little more time and attention from readers and fans. Sure, there's going to be heartbreak and hostility at the outcome, but there is simply no denying this is an intense story.

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