I explain the events that led up to Superior Spider-ManPosted: 12/30/2012
By now you must know that Marvel’s current longest running series Amazing Spider-Man ended on Wednesday with Peter Parker’s death and Doctor Octopus taking over the Spider-Man role. I can already hear the groans from millions of comments on Yahoo! News. And yes, without knowing anything (and an attitude smeared in bile and rage), it’s a strange and frustrating idea. I’m here to reassure you that nope, this will be fantastic — quite possibly one of the best things to happen to Spider-Man in a long time. The Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott has only written genius, and as I explain it all to you from the beginning, I hope your fears will be abated as well.
The very first seeds of this switch were planted way back in Amazing Spider-Man #600, written by Slott and drawn by John Romita, Jr. Y’see, turns out that Doc Ock’s supervillainy career hasn’t been all moneybags and maniacal laughs.
As you figured, Otto Octavius has been pummeled quite a bit in his 50 year history. Click on the next picture for a larger version:
Doctor Octopus is dying. Nothing can be done about it. But unfortunately, a man of that ego won’t go peacefully. Nope, time to skip robbing banks and put forth more ambitious plans.
Now, why is this important to Superior Spider-Man? It’s what happens next:
Notice what happened? Using Doc Ock’s own device, Spider-Man used his brain waves to overtake and control the Octobots.
In Amazing Spider-Man #672, written by Slott and drawn by Humberto Ramos, he uses it again in the conclusion of Spider-Island:
A few issues later, Octavius makes one final destroy-the-world scheme. Luckily, Spider-Man planned ahead complete with a new Doctor Octopus-proof suit as shown here in Amazing Spider-Man #687, written by Slott and drawn by Stefano Caselli:
As you might expect, Spider-Man saves the world because Marvel comics have still been produced since this issue.
That cool Spider-Man outfit? One neat little addition was a device that tapped into Doc Ock’s brain waves, similar to the helmet Spider-Man has already used twice. Normally, that’s just one more reason why Spider-Man’s so resourceful and intelligent. Except for one simple fact: Doctor Octopus is smart too. Like a super genius.
Cut to Amazing Spider-Man #697, written by Slott & Christos Gage and drawn by Giuseppe Camuncoli. The main story’s about two Hobgoblins running around, but that’s not important. Notice anything special on this next page?
See that golden Octobot? It’s shown on many of the pages, but never actually focused on. A delightful part of the background. I, like most readers, brushed it off until the next issue written by Slott and drawn by Richard Elson.
It’s been 98 issues since Doctor Octopus was told he had a year (at most) to live. Time’s up.
Honestly, I don’t think anyone saw that coming. And they’re lying if they say they did. Octavius’ final plan was to switch bodies with Spider-Man, taking with him all his memories and talents. How? Well, that’s what all this previous stuff has been about. Click the picture below for a larger version:
Don’t you see the amazing part? Spider-Man’s own genius backfired on him. His scientific knowledge and ability allowed him 50 years of defeating opponents tougher, stronger, and more numerous — and now, it’s that same skill Doctor Octopus exploited to open up and switch with Peter Parker’s mind. Beautiful!
Now we cut to Amazing Spider-Man #700, written by Slott and Ramos. Parker as Doctor Octopus has broken out of jail to get his own body back. Unfortunately, he has minutes before he dies. And despite all his best efforts and plans, he loses. Doc Ock wins.
Octavius’ body has given out and Spider-Man’s in prime condition. No metal arm waving or last minute bursts of strength. So, in Parker’s final act, he uses the memories the two of them share to force Octavius to relive Parker’s most important memories. Why? To teach Doc Ock the one thing he’s been lacking all these years: empathy.
And more. Look, Octavius will live on as Peter Parker — that’s already been decided. All Parker can do is make sure his legacy as Spider-Man and Spider-Man’s role in the world lives on in the right way.
Please understand this isn’t some cheap ploy or gimmick. Superior Spider-Man will be around for a few years at least judging from the interviews with Slott. We get to see Doctor Octopus with a second chance on life, and more importantly, as a superhero. A better superhero.
Trust me, Spider-Man is my number one favorite, and now we’re getting Spider-Man stories that have certainly never been told before in Marvel history. How can you not be excited? If you want more, check out Avenging Spider-Man #15.1 for the first issue starring the Doc Ock Spider-Man, and Superior Spider-Man #1 goes on sale in January. And finally, get your panties out of a bunch.