Spider-Man vs. Doctor Octopus rewind, Pt. 2Posted: 01/03/2013
Thrilled for part two? Look, if this is the man that’s replacing the most popular superhero in the Marvel universe, we should spend a few days on him. Maybe one more day after this. Then Doc Ock versus Iron Man. There’re a lot of options with Otto Octavius. I mean, he used to be a big deal in comics, and now he gets to be the biggest. Though to be fair to every other character, writer, and company, I’m really biased.
Today, let’s take a look at Amazing Spider-Man #43-45, volume 2, written by J. Michael Straczynski and drawn by John Romita Jr. I’m picking up a little ways into the story, but Peter Parker’s marriage to Mary Jane is in trouble (not demonic problems, just normal marital strife) and Octavius has been kidnapped. See?
I like this Doc Ock look. He drops the bowl cut and adds in some Mr. Fantastic temple grey-ing to his hair. Combine that to his fancy sunglasses and that’s the kind of flair we expect from a supervillain in his mid-50s.
So a young entrepreneur stole Octavius’ tech. As far as copying supervillain powers go, Doctor Octopus is not a bad choice. First, no weird magic spells or experimental serums to inject. Plus, giant flailing arms intimidate civilians, they can’t be disabled like laser beams or computer systems, and they can reach the top shelves of cupboards. Fake Doctor Octopus commits the most basic of supervillain crimes, as expected from a man who can’t think of any original ideas of his own:
Good deal, especially the whole robbing Los Angeles thing. He’d be whacked with a billy club before he made it a step into the New York City bank vaults. Only one little problem with robbing a supervillain.
What’s the first thing bad guys do when they escape death traps? Hint: it starts with an “r” and ends in “evenge.”
Before the fight, here’s an old-timey joke:
For the next picture, click on the double-spread page for a bigger version of the fight montage.
I should mention that Spider-Man’s actually in town. Y’see, to repair his marriage to Mary Jane, Peter decided to fly to LA where she’s currently the lead actress in a big budget superhero movie. Tough break for the bad guys, because the West Coast Avengers abandoned the city years ago. I think California as a whole only has like, Moon Knight defending the entire state.
The fake Doc Ock decides to be bolt, which is the only smart decision he’s made the whole arc:
Do you see that? Doctor Octopus exhibited decency and a sense of value for human life! Combined with Peter’s forced empathy blast in Amazing Spider-Man #700, maybe there’s hope for a real change once Octavius gets back in his old body a few years from now. We got to see a real moment of selflessness in the above picture. Doc Ock can be a good person!
Well, maybe not that good. When fake Doc Ock mentioned the studio, you know who’s there, right?
Okay, let cover some brief back story. About 500 issues before this, Aunt May and Doctor Octopus almost get married. I’m serious — something about Aunt May inheriting an uranium-rich island the evil doctor wants. So despite how we all know and feel about Doctor Octopus, Aunt May actually holds a soft spot in her heart for the man and vice versa. Though I would call it more of a knowing glance of compassion than a disgusting-to-imagine full-blown romantic passion.
If you buy the issues we covered today, Spider-Man has a long and well-written escape from the rubble of the collapsed building. You’d love it.
Witness the embarrassing end for the fake Doc Ock:
Beaten by cotton candy or science goo or whatever that is.
At least the danger’s past. Just not the danger in poor Peter’s heart. By the way, it’s been confirmed that Doctor Octopus Spider-Man will be dating Mary Jane again. That’s a step in the right direction, though definitely an icky direction.