As the “Battle of the Atom” rages on, it appears that Marvel wishes to give us at least one more story arc involving our heroes, the All New X-Men, before they are returned to their own time. To do this, they have released the first of a three part special mini-series featuring the X-Men, the Indestructible HULK, and the SUPERIOR Spider-Man. However, this story arc may have more to do with our SUPERIOR friend than we think, as this story arc is called “ARMS OF THE OCTOPUS.”
Our story begins with the All New X-Men making their way into midtown Manhattan via subway. The young Hank McCoy, aka Beast, provides intriguing introspective text boxes. He tells the reader about how he has learned to associate information with memories of people, places, and things, a form of recognition known as the LOCI method. He even goes as far as to give a short history lesson about the Native Americans and how the LOCI method was associated with their culture, how their landscape represented more than just a place but memories and stories. He states how when they lost their lands, they lost their culture. This is how he feels as he is overwhelmed by the vast changes in Time Square as compared to the Manhattan he was familiar with.
Amidst their confusion and disorientation, the group decides to split up and attempt to find a quieter place to collect their thoughts. Iceman and Beast make their way to Central Park, while Scott and Jean remain in Times Square, hoping to see a movie.
While in the park, Iceman takes a great interest in a women’s yoga class taking place on the lawn, leaving Beast to fend for himself. Thankfully, he has taken an interest in the “scenery” as well. He notices a young woman sitting on a park bench reading from a poetry book, recognizing the author, he begins to recite one of that author’s more famous poems, quickly gaining the attention of the young lady. While this scene may seem quite cheesey and practically plucked from a sickening romantic comedy film, it seems appropriate for the naive young McCoy.
After the pair share a pleasant conversation, they are brought to an abrupt stop as a purse snatcher steals the bags of all the women in the yoga class. Hank excuses himself as he unveils his mutant feet, and leaps into the trees to give chase. After catching and stringing up the thief in a tree, he is rejoined by Iceman and the young woman he was speaking with. Hank reveals himself to be a mutant to the girl, expecting to be immediately rejected by her; however, she does not appear to hate and fear him as he had learned to expect, but she in fact thinks his abilities are quite “COOL!”
Impressed by his abilities and physical prowess, she decides to take Beast back to her professor’s laboratory at Empire State University. While there, Hank is introduced to a future version of the professor he learned under during his time at the school. This makes for something of an awkward moment, but not nearly as awkward as what happens next, a surprise appearance by DOCTOR OCTOPUS!
A retro looking Doc Ock breaks into the professor’s laboratory, screaming that he demands to see him. Beast engages the mad scientist, only to be thrown downward to the city streets. This is where he re-encounters Scott and Jean, and he pulls them into this fight. The fight continues to escalate, now with the powers of Cyclops and Jean Grey in the fray, to the point where it draws the attention of Iceman, who was still in Central Park, and even the attention of the SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN.
Spider-Man appears furious at the sight of Doctor Octopus, stating that he could not exist (for those not in the know, this is because Doc Ock’s body died earlier this year). Spider-Man fights alongside the X-Men, insulting them every step of the way, even insinuating that they are clones of the original X-Men. Not a far off assumption to be honest, considering how many clones Spider-Man has had to deal with recently, including his own.
When the group finally manages to subdue Doctor Octopus, they bring him back to the laboratory he had broken into in order to dis-“arm” him and find out exactly what it was he wanted. The professor has no clue why he would want him, unless he was a time traveler, considering that is the field of study the professor works in. Spider-Man replies that would be impossible, and that time travel itself is impossible. Yeah, he really said that. Thankfully Hank McCoy retorts, explaining that HE and the rest of his X-Men are time travelers, and the possibility is quite high that Doc Ock is a time traveler as well. With this solved, only one problem remains. The retro Doctor Octopus appears to be soaked in massive amounts of gamma radiation, more than enough to kill a man QUITE easily. Unsure of how the radiation has affected his body, Spider-Man calls in the only Avenger with enough expertise in gamma radiation in order to help him, THE INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK.
This issue is fast paced and crams a lot of story into a single issue. We receive some nice character development from classic Beast and reveal that their time in the present has caused much stress amongst the team, especially Jean and Scott. This issue also sets up an interesting mystery with the appearance of the classic Doctor Octopus and could prove to help advance the revelation of the true nature of the SUPERIOR Spider-Man to the public. The artwork is simple without turning our characters into stick figures, and for the lighthearted nature of the former half of the book, I believe it works.
-a good mystery is set up
-the story moves at a brisk pace
-natural pubescent comedy from Beast and Iceman
-I dont see why they need to include the Hulk in this storyline. The gamma radiation seems like it will just be something thrown in at the last minute in an attempt to generate interest in the Hulk books.