Comics
Published October 10, 2023

Everything You Need to Know for 'Superior Spider-Man Returns'

Ahead of 'Superior Spider-Man' #1, revisit the era where Otto Octavius, AKA Doctor Octopus, took over Peter Parker's body and became the Superior Spider-Man.

The most fiendish Spider-Man of them all will resurface for his 10th anniversary in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN RETURNS (2023) #1. Joined by superstar Spider-Man artists Ryan StegmanHumberto RamosMark Bagley, and Giuseppe Camuncoli, SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN (2013) writer Dan Slott returns to the era when Spider-Man's arch-nemesis Doctor Octopus seized control of his body and set out to prove himself the superior Spider-Man in every way.

Here's how Doc Ock was able to pull off the ultimate victory over Spider-Man by becoming him, what he did while in control of Peter Parker's body, and how Peter eventually reclaimed his body from Doc Ock's twisted clutches.

HOW DOCTOR OCTOPUS BECAME THE SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN

In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1999) #600, the toll of fighting super heroes finally caught up to Otto Octavius and his body began steadily deteriorating from repeated physical trauma. After multiple attempts to prolong his life and save his crumbling body failed, Doc Ock decided to take revenge on Spider-Man, who he viewed as the primary force behind his ailing condition and the numerous humiliating defeats that left his reputation in shambles. This vendetta started in earnest in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1999) #698, where Octavius' failing body prompted him to summon Spider-Man under the pretense that he wanted to impart his dying wish.

In reality, Doc Ock had designed his fleet of Octobots to interface with Spider-Man's mind and steal his brain patterns across several previous schemes. With this data now complete, Doc Ock programmed an Octobot to switch his mind with Spider-Man's when the hero came to pay him one last visit. This trapped Peter's consciousness in Octavius' rapidly declining body, while Octavius—posing as Peter—made his escape. Peter confronted Octavius in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1999) #700, but failed to regain control of his body in time.

As Peter died in Octavius' body, Octavius was suddenly flooded with his nemesis' memories, while Peter's life literally flashed before his eyes. Overcome with emotions and empathy for the man he condemned to his dying body, Octavius agreed to follow Peter's dying wish to continue defending the Marvel Universe as Spider-Man. However, Octavius had no interest in replicating his enemy's strategies as a hero and vowed to become a Superior Spider-Man in every way.

DOC OCK'S ACTIONS AS SPIDER-MAN

Early on, Octavius made it clear he would be a much more vicious Spider-Man than Peter. He went so far as to execute the serial-killing super villain Massacre in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN (2013) #5, an action that left him on shaky ground with the Avengers

Upgrading Spider-Man's usual arsenal with his own inventions, Octavius took a much harsher stance on fighting crime—something that didn't go unnoticed by Peter's old associates, especially after he killed the devious super villain Alistair Smythe under secret orders from J. Jonah Jameson.

Otto's brutality even extended to Spider-Man's usual frenemies. He treated Black Cat like a common criminal and even blackmailed Jameson, creating serious rifts that lasted beyond Octavius' initial turn as Spider-Man. 

Octavius' time in Peter's body naturally extended to the Web-Head's personal life, with both a professional and romantic impact. Octavius completed Peter's outstanding doctoral work in order to be publicly recognized as a doctor and set out to create his own tech business, Parker Industries. As he completed his doctoral studies, Octavius struck up a romance with his tutor Anna Maria Marconi, who held a key position in Parker Industries as the fledgling enterprise flourished.

THE RETURN OF PETER PARKER

Relatively early into his super hero career, Octavius erased all lasting traces of Peter's consciousness from his mind to assert total control. However, when Octavius was faced with unique challenges Peter was more familiar with—including the return of Spider-Man 2099 and Venom—he was forced to tap into Peter's latent memories to save the day. As a result, Peter's consciousness quietly began to reform, with Octavius unaware that his control over Peter's body was gradually eroding.

The resurgence of Peter's consciousness coincided with Norman Osborn rise as the Goblin King, which saw him build an army of followers that spread terror across New York City. Aware that Octavius took control over Spider-Man's body, Osborn demanded that he submit and follow him, but the obstinate Octavius refused. 

In retaliation, Osborn and his followers razed Octavius' legacy, including his research center, the Heart Clinic, as well as the location of his first heroic act as the Superior Spider-Man. Realizing only Peter could save his beloved Anna Maria, Octavius returned control of Peter's body to the true Spider-Man just in time for Peter to save the day.

Since Peter reclaimed his body, Doctor Octopus has been fully resurrected. Subsequently, he launched an attempt to become a Superior Octopus, as well as a separate bid to become Superior Spider-Man once again. 

Though these attempts proved unsuccessful, Octavius is ready to take his scheme to new heights in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN RETURNS (2023) #1. With a villain as cunning and conniving as Doctor Octopus involved, Peter is about to see which iteration of the web-slinger truly is superior.

Revisit Doc Ock's reign as Spider-Man in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN RETURNS #1, on sale now!

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