Arm-in-Arm-in-Arm-in-Arm-in-Arm-in-Arm with Doctor Octopus
Writer: Len Wein
Illustrator: Ross Andru
Embellisher: Mike Esposito
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Originally published: August 1976
Well, the explanation for Hammerhead is that the nuclear explosion made him “out of phase”. Fine. That’s terrible, but I guess no more insane than a radioactive spider giving somebody super powers. I just hate when characters come back to life when they really, truly should be dead. It would be more palatable if either Doc Ock or Hammerhead to return, but for both to survive a nuclear explosion — in completely different ways, mind you — is just annoying.
Hammerhead is supposedly killed off again in this issue, but I definitely don’t believe it.
The one kind of cool thing was seeing Spider-Man and Doc Ock team up a little bit to fight Hammerhead and protect Aunt May. Unfortunately, this was stretched to a somewhat incredible point. Doc Ock is Spider-Man’s arch-enemy. He killed Capt. Stacy, he’s kidnapped Aunt May (and in the past, intended to kill her), and he’s fought Spidey a number of times. Having them help each other in a fight is one thing, but having them actually become a team is ridiculous. Especially against a villain like Hammerhead who, despite what Len and others try to tell us, is really not that intimidating. Spidey should easily be able to take him out alone. It just pissed me off.
On the upside – the Kingpin has and is restoring the Spider-Mobile!
I think I’m going to add the first Spidey/Superman crossover story in here, treat it as canon and part of the whole Amalgam thing. It features Doc Ock, and would kinda/sorta give an explanation for why we don’t see Ock for ages after this.