Artist: Ryan Stegman
Color Art: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Publisher: Marvel Comics (Dan Buckley)
Release Date: May 1st, 2013
"Troubled Mind Part Two: Gray Matters"
We are now nine issues in and they just keep getting more exciting. This issue specifically has been flagged as something that will either anger fans much like ASM #700 or paint a picture of what is to come. With that said, this is going to be impossible to do without spoilers so be warned now, this review is riddled with spoilers. There, I said it...run away if you haven't read it yet. If you have (or don't care) read on.
This issue picks up exactly where issue #8 left off. Ock is sitting in a chair with the Neurolitic Scanner he acquired on his head ready to go into his brain to wipe out the traces of Peter's mind. Peter lashes out using the right hand that he has control over to try to stop Otto from doing anything. From here the issue dives into the brain of Otto/Peter and the battle ensues.
The concept itself is pretty hard to read. Not in a it was written badly sort of way but in a I have been reading Spider-Man for the span of my life and Slott is showing Otto making it crumble. Peter of course does not stand by and just let it happen. Because he is in his own brain he is able to bring forth all of his memories, his friends and family, to help fight back Otto. Sadly, that meant that Otto was also able to call forth his friends, every villain Peter has ever fought, to murder all of his friends and family in front of him.
The climax of the battle had The Amazing Spider-Man squaring off against The Superior Spider-Man which seemed to be the struggle of the whole series so far. Which Spider-Man is the better Spider-Man? Who is doing the better job and who deserves to wear the mask. Otto points out during this fight that Peter almost allowed him to kill the girl he was operating on in the last book just so that he never found out that Peter was actually in his head. This seemed to be the final blow forcing Peter to his knees and letting the mind-wipe of Peter's memories to happen.
In the end Otto sat in a chair free of Peter's memories claiming to be free. I am convinced this will be a mixed bag for Otto considering a lot of the things he does with Spider-Man and Peter's life he does while referring to those memories he has now deleted. I think the main grief for everyone also is that Peter is now totally gone.
To that I say, is he? Slott has been doing a wonderful job layering this story and he got rid of the one easy out. That is not a bad thing. There are plenty of ways for Peter to come back. Remember, Otto is in Peter's body and has his brain (technically), Peter can always resurface. Also, what about the golden Octobot that Otto asked to be destroyed. We never actually see it happen and Peter's mind is still contained within it. Please don't give up hope and go along for the ride. This book has been great and full of moments that make it insanely interesting. I am a huge Spider-Man fan and I am not calling foul. To that I say bravo Slott, just keep up the good storytelling.
Lastly I have to say that Ryan Stegman's facial work in this book was spot on. Every moment that needed to bleed emotion physically he made happen. The pages felt alive with action and just felt right. I think he was a great choice for this much darker book.