Review: Amazing Spider-Man #681 – Landing a space station looked easier on TV

Amazing Spider-Man #681
Writers: Dan Slott & Chris Yost
Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli [Pencils], Klaus Janson [Inks], and Frank D’Armata [Colors]

Orbiting Earth in the Horizon Labs Apogee I space station, Spider-Man and the Human Torch have big problems. The space station has been compromised by Octobots, which have turned its crew–with the exception of Col. John Jameson (son of Jonah and former Man-Wolf)–into “space zombies” that Doc Ock can control from the ground.

Oh, and they’re running out of oxygen, making the Human Torch’s powers virtually unusable lest they should all suffocate in the infinite vacuum of space. No big deal, right?

Dan Slott and Chris Yost conclude the “Ends of the Earth” prelude they began last week in Amazing Spider-Man #680 by hitting all the same points that made that issue great.

More of Jonah yelling at people in a blind fury because he’s still reeling over the death of his wife and might now lose his son? Check.

Enough back-and-forth between Spider-Man and Torch to fill the International Space Station? Got it.

Obligatory “…and now, you will die!” super villain speech from Doc Ock? There’s one of those here, too.

Simply put, this story has everything that made the classic books classic without feeling too self-referential and, as I mentioned last week, that’s really kind of been par for the course with the Slott run of Amazing Spider-Man.  The Human Torch team-up is timely, given that the first person a guy’s probably gonna go on an adventure with when he comes “back from the dead” is his best friend, and the idea-so-crazy-it-could-only-work-in-a-comic-book resolution is fun.

What I question more than that is how Torch could “flame on” while carrying Spider-Man and John Jameson without burning them, or why people would be preparing for a manned mission to Mars in a world where the Fantastic Four regularly go to other galaxies. Is Reed Richards really that bad about sharing his toys with others?

All jokes aside, I’m really excited to see where Slott goes with “Ends of the Earth,” which starts next issue. Ever since Marla Jameson was killed on Spider-Man’s watch, Spidey has had this whole “No one dies!” schtick, and how that carries over to Doc Ock’s current condition will be interesting to see play out.

If only we could get an interview with the guy so he could tell us himself…

STORY: 9.5/10
ART: 9.5/10

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Roger Riddell
Roger Riddell
Essentially Peter Parker with all the charm of Wolverine, he's a DC-based B2B journalist who occasionally writes about music and pop culture in his free time. His love for comics, metal, and videogames has also landed him gigs writing for the A.V. Club, Comic Book Resources, and Louisville Magazine. Keep him away from the whiskey, and don't ask him how much he hates the Spider-Man movies unless you're ready to hear about his overarching plot for a six-film series that would put the Dark Knight trilogy to shame.