The Arms of Doctor Octopus!
Script: Stan Lee
Art: John Romita
Inking: Jim Mooney
Lettering: Sam Rosen
Originally published: September 1970
Well folks, this is the beginning of a pretty huge event in Spider-Man’s history: the death of Captain George Stacy! The story opens with Doc Ock’s mechanical arms on display in a museum. Unbeknownst to anyone, Dr. Octopus – miles away in solitary confinement – has been practicing to extend the range of his mental control over the arms. Back in the museum, the arms suddenly spring to life under Ock’s mental commands and make their escape. Outside Spidey tries to stop them, but is forced to let them escape when a damaged building threatens the lives of some innocent bystanders.
Later, Peter sees Gwen at school and gets chewed out by Professor Warren for missing so much class and letting his grades slip.
Also later, Doc Ock’s arms reach his prison, break in, and bust him out.
Also later, J. Jonah Jameson and his son Col. John Jameson prepare to board a Pentagon 747 flying a General Su from Chicago to the UN in New York. As the plane takes off, it picks up an unexpected guest – Doc Ock, who clings to the exterior and then forces his way in through the luggage hold. He busts in, quickly incapacitates the MPs stationed on the plane, and captures a miscellaneous ununiformed woman – I guess she’s a flight attendant or something, which seems weird on a military flight.
The thing is, Octopus didn’t even realize the significance of the flight he hijacked. It’s only when one of the pilots slips up that he realizes General Su (a terrible stereotype, BTW) is even onboard. When he does find out, though, visions of ransom start dancing through his head. He demands to be met with $10 million upon landing.
Upon hearing the news, Robbie Robertson and Peter rush to the airport – to get the scoop, but also concerned that harm to the General Su could start a war. When they get to JFK airport they find none other than Capt. Stacy. To make matters more complicated, the airport is also filled with demonstrators protesting both for and against Su.
Pete knows that he must do something. He changes into Spider-Man and manages to make his way on top of the landed plane. He’s able to quickly sneak aboard and blind Ock with some webbing. It’s enough for him to briefly release his hostages, but it also really pisses him off. While pummeling Spider-Man, Ock manages to get some of his tentacles into the cockpit, and begins to actually pilot the plane down the runway. Realizing how crazy dangerous this is, Spider-Man bails – jumps right out of the moving plane – right before the plane explodes in a huge ball of fire!
Almost everyone assumes Doc Ock died in the blaze, but Spidey questions whether they can actually be certain of that.
Great issue! Even without my foreknowledge about how this is all going to end, you do get this sense that everything’s building up to something big. Sure, this issue could be a stand-alone, but there are enough loose threads that you get a feeling something bigger is in the works.
(BTW, there’s nothing in this that contradicts any of my order from my last post.)