Superior Spider-Man vs. MassacrePosted: 09/17/2013
I love the Superior Spider-Man series. Not just because we’re getting brand new Spider-Man stories never told before, but because though Doc Ock loses the joking and gains the ego/abrasiveness — he really is a better Spider-Man. And it’s fascinating the way writer Dan Slott shows that.
If you aren’t caught up, Peter Parker and Doctor Octopus (real name Otto Octavius) switched bodies. Doc Ock’s body died with Peter’s mind still in it, giving the former supervillain Peter’s body, memories, and life. If you want more, I chronicled the whole one-hundred issue lead up in a previous article. Think of if Doctor Octopus decided to devote his entire genius and massive ego to fighting crime instead of causing it. Just with Spider-Man’s tools, friends, and resources.
Yes, Otto’s better at being Spider-Man, but that doesn’t make him a better person. Or team player. Or basic all-around nice guy. Still, can’t really argue with results:
And then Massacre shows up again in Superior Spider-Man #4-5, written by Slott and drawn by Guseppe Camuncoli. If you read Monday’s article, he’s pretty much the same dude today. Amoral, violent, and totally okay with murder. Oh, and for clarification purposes, at this point in time, ghost Peter still haunts his old body. Slott called it an easing in process to fans taking in solo-Otto stories.
Notice the big difference between Peter and Otto? Besides the goggles? I know the argument between morality versus practicality rages on continually in comics. Peter argues simply that good people must not kill, because that’s what makes someone good. Superheroes are role models after all. But Doc Ock, never one for sentimentality or a guilty conscience, figures that New York would be better if Massacre exploded or got caught in an industrial accident or whatever, and safety of the citizens (not personal morality) should be the main goal of superheroes. Both make good points, they really do, and before you take sides, let’s see what Massacre’s up to:
Yeah, bad day. I wouldn’t go so far as to blame those innocent deaths on Spider-Man’s failure to contain Massacre. Moral misgivings aside, supervillains can’t be killed — to reuse them in future plots mainly — and who knows which baddies’ll catch on with readers?
More importantly, time for Spider-Man to re-capture this madman.
With that technology, sort of like the end of The Dark Knight, when Massacre’s face pops up on a spider-bot, Doc Ock swings into action. Lives are at stake and privacy can’t outweigh the safety of the people. I think that last sentence just qualified me for the Republican party.
Peter’s main flaw relied on him succumbing to emotion far too often. Massacre’s shooting people in Grand Central Station and the faster that Spider-Man swings there, the more people he can save. We love Peter for that, and honestly, superhero fights usually rely on speed and power. But y’know, a quick logical assessment of the situation could be quite helpful. Massacre has no superpowers, just a dude with shrapnel in his head and a lot of rifle ammo. While the police control the situation immediately around Massacre, Spider-Man can take care of any supervillain back up plans. Big success! I mean, almost.
Not a tough fight. Spider-Man wins, if just because his full strength could crush an SUV. Spider-punches in the jaw would take down the toughest human fighters (except Captain America with his superpower of patriotism — no one knocks out the United States in a sucker punch).
Now, as Spider-Man stands over his beaten opponent, I present to you the most significant difference between the two Spider-Men.
While the supervillain lies wounded and defeated, he exhibits that one trait Peter and the other Avengers appreciate more than any other: that glimmer of redemption, the idea that a bad man could become a shining example for others. And as we end the article today, I want to believe that Peter’s bleeding heart speaks far stronger than the cold, logical gift of safety. Just not today.
Yes, Spider-Man: killer. Look, we know Peter Parker’ll return within a year, because the new Spider-Man movie comes out next summer. Until then, we should appreciate the storytelling ride. Plus, Doc Ock’s doing some interesting stuff — giant prison fortress, huge spider-army, wrecking every friendship Peter ever gained, etc.
Friday marks the end of Spider-Man stories for a while, but they’ll always be ongoing in our hearts.