In Marvel Comics' "Amazing Spider-Man" #698, Spidey's arch enemy Doctor Octopus ensnared him in a seemingly inescapable trap -- Doc Ock's own decrepit and dying body. By switching bodies with Peter Parker and leaving Parker's consciousness trapped in his own moribund physical form, Octavius has beaten his old foe, but he's in danger of making a common mistake made by many of Spider-Man's rogues gallery; that Peter Parker will just give up and die.
In "Amazing Spider-Man" #699 by writer Dan Slott and artist Humberto Ramos, Peter tried to turn the tide, using Doc Ock's memories, powers and connections to put a series of events in motion. This all leads to a climatic showdown in "Amazing Spider-Man" #700, the series' final issue. CBR News spoke with Slott about these events and how they'll impact Spidey's battle with Doc Ock in the milestone issue.
CBR News: "Amazing" #698 had a lot of people upset because they assumed Peter Parker died at the end --
Dan Slott: He flat lined! He flat lined! Of course he died.
-- But in #699, a team of skilled doctors managed to bring him back to life. Have you paid attention to fan reactions regarding this turn of events?
The general consensus seems to be that the people who were very upset because they thought Peter was dead are relieved [Laughs]. There's a feeling of, "OH! Well what do you know?" So now I'm hoping everybody is excited to see how it all plays out.
In issue #699 you revealed how Doc Ock switched bodies with Peter Parker -- is this maneuver a back up plan he's had in the works since issue #600?
The way I see it is Peter unintentionally gave Doc these great little breadcrumbs. It's not until "Ends of the Earth" when Peter put the brain pattern tech into his armor -- as a way to take over Doc Ock's arms -- that Doc realized he could have the upper hand. That's when he turned the tables and used it to take control of Spidey's armor.
It's that moment when he realized all the data he has and thinks, "Look at this open door Spider-Man's given me!" "Ends of the Earth" is where we see him constructing the gold Octobot he used to perform the body switch.
That was a "Hail Mary" plan because you have to wonder with his spider-sense, how do you ever get the drop on Spider-Man with this gold Octobot? When Kingpin was using technology that forced Peter to ignore his spider sense, that was a huge windfall for Doc Ock.
Would switching bodies with Spider-Man ever occur to Doctor Octopus if he wasn't in such dire straits with his health?
This is the life boat. This was a last ditch gambit and it probably wouldn't have occurred to Doc if he wasn't on his way out the door.
Right after Pete discovered how Doc Ock pulled off the body switch, he learned some shocking news about the Lizard. How does Peter feel about this news and does he believe what he's hearing?
He has a moment where he might, and then he stops and goes, "I don't believe this. And if I don't believe it, how are the Avengers ever going to believe me?" That realization is what gets him to put the brakes on going to the Avengers.
Remember -- he knows that Doc Ock has all of Peter Parker's memories. Doc Ock can easily say to any Avenger, "Hey it's me Peter Parker! And here are the 12 different secrets I know that let's you know I am really Peter Parker."
The Lizard's dialogue makes it seem like his biggest concern right now is punishing himself. Is he suicidal?
How would he even pull that off with his regenerative abilities? That's a very good question, though. For him, being trapped in the body of the Lizard is very much a living hell, and one he feels he deserves for everything that happened to Billy and Martha.
We haven't really broached the question of suicide with the Lizard. We'll have to see if that's a place he would go to the next time we check in on him.
Pete uses Doc Ock's control over the golden octobot to put a plan in motion that will free him from prison. After he does that, the golden octobot appears to give out -- is the golden octobot truly out of commission?
You'll have to wait and see.
Should the opportunity present itself, will Spider-Man face any ethical dilemmas in placing Doc Ock back in his dying body? Will he have trouble with that scenario due to his heroic "nobody dies" vow?
Doc Ock was dying before the switch, so Pete might just look at it as restoring the natural order of things. Plus, Pete has to stop Dock Ock from running amok in his body, because if he doesn't find a way to get his brain back in its rightful place, that's what will happen.
So the clock is ticking. Doc Ock's death is imminent and Peter is desperate to get out of his failing body.
Peter will get a chance to try and make that escape thanks to Trapster, Scorpion and Hydro-Man -- the villains who freed him/Doc Ock from the Raft in "Amazing" #699. What made you want to include those guys in this story?
I really wanted it to be a motley crew because the more impossible the odds, the more you'll be at the edge of your seat. I also wanted one of them to be the Scorpion because he's someone we built up at the beginning of the "Big Time" era. So it was fun to touch base with him.
Hydro-Man has been there at some key moments in the "Big Time" era, too. He was there at "Amazing Spider-Man" #600, and right before "Spider-Island." So it's fun to see him back as well.
Plus, I needed a genius in the group. I needed a tech guy to orchestrate the breakout and figure out how to keep Doc Ock's body on a life support machine. To have it be Paste-Pot Pete, even though we call him the Trapster, was fun. Every time I've had a run in with him, whether it was over in the "Spider-Man/Human Torch" miniseries or in "The Thing," it's clear Spidey just thinks this guy is a joke. There's something wonderfully horrible about putting Spidey's life in his hands.
It's the Trapster! And Spidey of course is like, "No it's Paste-Pot Pete! Oh god..." [Laughs] That must be how someone feels when they're going in for surgery and suddenly Doogie Hauser walks in. It's like, "Oh god it's just a kid!"
Do you think Trapster's intelligence gets overshadowed by his frequent partnership with geniuses like the Wizard?
He can be unexpectedly smart. You'll have to wait and see how this goes.
When are we going to see the Lizard next?
I can say you'll see more of him in Joe Keatinge's "Amazing Spider-Man" #699.1, which sets up Joe and Richard Elson's "Morbius: The Living Vampire" #1.
"Amazing Spider-Man" #699 was drawn by artist Humberto Ramos -- how does it feel to be working with him on the final two issues of the series?
It's awesome! I can't wait for people to see Humberto's art on "Amazing Spider-Man" #700! The pages he did for that issue are some of the finest of his career. I'm so glad I got to do that issue with him -- it's an honor to work with Humberto. He's one of the definitive Spider-Man artists and issue #700 is going to lock that further into place.
What was fun about these past two issues is you didn't know it at the time, but #698 was all from Doc Ock's point of view. Then issue #699 was all from Peter's POV. So now with issue #700, we've set the stage for the final conflict between two arch-enemies, and boy do we mean final! "Amazing Spider-Man" #700? Last issue!
So the bell for that final conflict to begin rings with issue #700, and according to a caption in #699, the number of minutes on the clock in that fight is 700?
Yes there is a clear ticking clock and that clock is Doc Ock's ticker. The main thing for "Amazing Spider-Man" readers to know now is when December 25th hits, GET OFF THE INTERNET! Put yourself in a bubble, because in this day and age spoilers will be flying fast and furious.
The book comes out December 26th -- so have a wonderful Christmas! Have a great holiday. Enjoy life. Spend time with your friends and family. Then stay off the internet until you get your hands on a copy of "Amazing Spider-Man" #700 and have read it cover to cover. Then go on the internet and read everything! Read every message board and Tweet on Twitter. Surf Facebook to your heart's content. Feel free to open up every newspaper in the world [Laughs], but until then stay in the bubble.
If anyone even says the words "Spider-Man" put your hands over your ears and go "LA LA LA LA LA!" If Spider-Man shows up on a television screen, close your eyes and look away. Any mention or whisper you hear of Peter Parker, Spider-Man, or Otto Octavius between now and the 26th? Just block it out. You have been warned!
I also want to mention Chris Yost's first issue of "Avenging Spider-Man" comes out that same day as well. It's awesome, so pick it up! But know this: the reading order is "Amazing Spider-Man" #700 and then Chris' "Avenging Spider-Man" #15.1 takes place shortly thereafter. So if you read "Avenging Spider-Man" #15.1 first, it will spoil the surprises of "Amazing Spider-Man" #700.
"Amazing Spider-Man" #700 boasts a cover price of $7.99 -- tell readers what they'll find inside to justify this price.
"Amazing Spider-Man" #700 is twice the price, but it's over three and a half times the content. You will get a 52 page story by me and Humberto Ramos, a 16 page story by Spidey legend J.M. DeMatteis with art by "Superior Spider-Man's" Giuseppe Camuncoli, and you'll get a wonderful eight page story with the Black Cat by Jen Van Meter and Stephanie Buscema. Additionally, there will be cover galleries, extras, and a special letters column with answers by Stan "The Man" Lee! We've renamed the column "Stanswers" for this installment. I'm so stoked for that. Spidey editor, Steve Wacker, and his assistant Ellie Pyle, went all out on this one, putting together one helluva a package for Spidey's Septuacentennial!
Plus, the covers we have are gorgeous. MR Garcin did a phenomenal collage cover and we have amazing covers from Humberto, Marcos Martin, Joe Quesada, and -- oh my god -- we have an unused cover from "Amazing Fantasy" #15 by Steve Ditko! This is the last issue of "Amazing Spider-Man," and we're not holding anything back!
"Amazing Spider-Man" #700 goes on sale December 26