Thursday, December 31, 2015

Booknote: Spider-Man/Doctor Octopus: Year One

Zeb Well, Spider-Man/Doctor Octopus: Year One. New York: Marvel, 2005.  ISBN: 0-7851-1532-3.

Genre: comics and graphic novels
Subgenre: superheroes and villains
Format: trade paperback
Source: Bought at Half Price Books. 

I found this on a discount cart at Half Price Books. Though I am not a huge fan of Spider-Man, the fact that this was a Year One type of story drew me in. The book was an interesting discovery; the volume really focuses on Otto Octavius, the genius who will become the villain Doctor Octopus. This is his origin story.

The story takes us from Otto's childhood. He was brilliant even then, but he was constantly bullied at home by his father and by other students in school. His mother was his fierce protector, which does create some mommy issues down the road. Some of this is a little reminiscent of Norman Bates, just a tad. Otto makes it college, graduate school, finishes  doctorate early, and gets a lucrative defense research job. But that is not enough as he is obsessed with his vision of exploring his mind's passions freely. Then comes the lab accident that graft the tentacles to his body and also alters his mind.

The comic fully focuses on Otto; we get the story from his point of view. We do see Spider-Man, initially in brief moments then later when he has to confront Doctor Octopus. Otherwise, it is Otto's story. It is a deep and dark story, which is reinforced in large measure by a good amount of shadows and darkness in the art. The art is excellent in this volume by the way as the artist is able to use those shadows to great advantage and there is also great use of small details such as some symbolism in Otto's glasses. The story does move along at a good pace, and in the end, it was a story I really liked.

4 out of 5 stars.

This book qualifies for the following 2015 Reading Challenges:

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