Promising a scintillating confrontation between the titular character and “our favourite eight-tentacled Spider-Foe” as part of editor Nick Lowe’s “Secret Empire tie-in arc”, Issue Twenty Nine of “Amazing Spider-Man” certainly suggests that “the Marvel Universe is [indeed] in deep doo-doo at the hands of a Cosmic Cube-changed Steve Rogers” with its entirely successful infiltration of Parker Industries London-based Headquarters by a score of undercover Hydra operatives. But such a fantastic feat and show of manpower probably wasn’t enough to completely satisfy the expectations of this comic’s 59,464 strong-audience in June 2017, considering that Web-head apparently readily defeats “Doc Ock” by just hurling some hot drinks in his face; “Here’s a new one — Want regular or decaf?”
Of course, so simple a distraction was hardly going to stop Otto Gunther Octavius for anything more than a few seconds, especially with him inhabiting a “far superior” cloned body. But it did seemingly put Peter Parker’s alter-ego in a winning position where he would have applied a very satisfying coup-de-grace upon the “brilliant engineer” if not for Tony Stark’s urgent message for “any and all Avengers that are left” to assist thwarting an “all-out assault on Washington.”
Sadly Dan Slott and Christos Gage’s script for “Rightful Ruler” arguably ‘goes right off the rails’ at this point by subsequently depicting Spider-Man just running away from his ‘bested’ foe in order to pilot “a supersonic Pogo Plane” and attempt to help his “poor friends”. Obviously, time is clearly of the essence in such a situation, and one can almost hear the urgency in Iron Man’s voice during his plea for the wall-crawler’s immediate services. Yet surely the masked crime-fighter would first incapacitate his mechanically-armed arch-nemesis rather than allow him to roam free, especially when the maniac has “the Borough of Manhattan… engulfed by a bubble of Ebon energy” and is threatening to destroy his corporation?
Potentially pedantic quibbles as to this twenty-page periodical’s “shaky ground” storyline aside though, this opening instalment of “Secret Empire” is undoubtedly worth it’s cover price alone due to Stuart Immonen’s excellent pencilling, with the Canadian illustrator’s storyboarding of Spidey’s fist-fight against the Superior Octopus proving as exhilarating as it is disappointingly swift. Indeed, the former “Legion Of Super-Heroes” artist imbues his figures with so much life and emotion, that even Peter’s televised interview concerning the Chief Executive Officer’s “action to stop terrorists and the spread of a deadly virus” provides a mesmerising treat for the eyes.