In Case You Missed It #2

 The Column in which Jake tells you to pick up a comic, all you need to know in order to catch-up, and why you should be doing just that. All comics detailed can and should be purchased from your local comics retailer or Comixology

Superior Spider-man Part 2: The Payoff

Previously, on this column…
Otto Octavius has swapped minds with Peter Peter and now Ock’s body is dying with Peter inside it.  Holy Santa Claus @#$%.  How did he do that? Y’see, ever since Ends of the Earth, this little golden Octobot has been popping up in scattered issues of ASM.  Small single panel/page affairs.  It turns out it contained a mental copy of Ock’s brainwaves.  In the previous issue, Spidey, during a fierce fight with two Hobgoblins (y’know, typical Peter Parker Saturday), had his Spider-sense amped up off the charts by a scientist working for the Kingpin.  How amped up you ask? For instance, a slow moving mail cart registered as a FIRSTCLASSGETTHEHELLDOWN emergency.  Spidey had to suppress the ever-living hell out of it in order to keep from splitting his mind in two.  Thus the Golden Octobot, normally a Grade-A Spidey-Sense Tingler was able to slip by unnoticed and perform the swap. 
…I almost don’t want to continue.  Simply because me summarizing these last two issues is a travesty to the material.  Seriously, if you’ve found any of this the least bit entertaining, please purchase the issues.  If you haven’t, it probably has everything to do with me and nothing to do with the actual creative teams who have created this awesome saga. 
That said, let the travesty continue.  So Ock has access to all of Peter’s memories, but luckily, Peter has access to all of Ock’s.  And a mastermind like Ock has to have several backup plans that he could easily put in motion in case he were ever dying and imprisoned right?  Right?!  Yes, the answer is yes.  Scorpion, Hydroman and *sigh* Paste-pot Pete break Peter Octopus out of jail.  Unfortunately, Ock’s body dies as they escape.
Luckily, Trapster aka Pastepot Pete isn’t totally useless and manages to resuscitate Ock’s body, buying Peter a few more desperate hours.  While he was out, Peter has a post-mortem experience.  Or a hallucination from lack of oxygen, it’s never really quite clear.  Anyway, he’s in this heaven-like place and he sees all these people in his life that have died.  Silver Sable’s there.  Jonah Jameson’s wife is there.  So is Captain Stacy.  So is Gwen.  So are Peter’s parents. 
At first, Peter’s distraught as he’s reminded of all of his failures to protect these people.  But everyone reassures him that he did the best he could and more importantly everyone is proud of the hero and the man he has become. 
Then, he sees Uncle Ben.  Uncle Ben smiles at him. 
 Give me a second.  I’ve got something in both my eyes and require COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF TISSUES.
Uncle Ben gently puts his hands around Peter’s face, presses his forehead to his, and says “No, no, there’s no score you have to balance with me.  I’m damn proud of you, son.  But you can’t let this madman ruin everything you’ve done, both as Spider-man and as Peter Parker.  You’ve got one last thing to do, my boy. One last fight to finish.  After this, you can rest all you want.  But you have to get up and finish this last fight!”  …That’s my rough recollection of the dialogue.  Imagine how much better the actual thing is.  So Peter awakens, gets a new set of Doc Ock arms for his rapidly dying body.  Seriously it’s legitimately giving out on him through these last issues.  “Yep, just lost vision in my right eye…and there goes my pancreas.”  Peter sets about repairing the damage to the Golden Octobot in the hopes of finding a way to switch back.
Meanwhile, Otto Parker is about to hook-up with Mary Jane, because Dan Slott wants to creep the @#$% out of everyone.
Go ahead.  Take a moment to retch.  I’ll be here.
Luckily for our stomachs, he’s interrupted by an alert on his…Spidey-phone.  Doc Ock has broken out of jail.  What does the confident, newly-young Otto do?  Book a ticket for Belgium immediately.  Craven.  If he can avoid Peter for just a few hours, Ock’s old decrepit body will shut down.  Otto will win.  While he’s at the airport, he sees J. Jonah Jameson (Mayor of NY now, btw) on the TV.  Jameson assures the people of NY that the escaped Ock will be easily caught.  Why?  “Because Ock’s a loser.  A failure.  Not one of his ‘master plans’ has ever worked.  He’s always, always, beaten by Spider-man.  Ock’s always been a loser and he’ll die a loser.”  The gate agent interrupts.  It’s the final boarding call for the flight.  Otto glares at the TV screen.   He’s got his ticket in hand.  He’s won.  If he gets on that plane, Peter will die and he’ll have vanquished his greatest enemy without even fighting.  “No,” he says as he storms out of the airport.  “The victory is too hollow.”  He has to beat Spider-man straight-up and prove he’s superior (FORESHADOWING) once and for all. 
Flash forward a bit.  Peter’s in one of Doc Ock’s old bases, repairing the Octobot when Spider-man appears on the screen.  “Sup, you in my old crib? Cool, self-destruct sequence activated.”  “Oh, you mean the self-destruct device I removed when I got here.  I know everything you know, n00b.”  “W/e, I’m calling the police to arrest you guys.”  “Wtf, mate.  You’re sending normal cops?  But we’re supervillains!”  “Screw teh rules, I have Spider-man’s body.” “Haxors!”  “Oh also, I’ve got all your friends and loved ones with me.  I’ll ‘take care’ of them when you’re dead.  U mad, bro?”  “FUUUUUUUU”  (Exact dialogue btw)
Anyway, Peter, Hydroman and Scorpion escape the hideout as the police burst in (Paste-pot Pete gets left behind due to Peter’s sudden but inevitable betrayal).  Left with no other options, Peter heads to Avengers Tower, hoping that he can convince one of the many brainiacs on the team to A) believe that he’s Peter Parker forcibly inhabiting Doc Ock’s body (slightly unlikely); and B) help him find a way to preserve his mind or something (slightly more likely).  Unfortunately, when he gets to Avengers Tower he finds it completely deserted.  Guess who’s responsible.
 This @@#$%$#
Y’see, apparently Otto Spider-man activated all of Doc Ock’s doomsday devices around the world which has caused the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and every other remotely helpful superhero in New York to leave the city in order to deal with them.  Otto appears and tells the Terribly Tasked Trio such after activating Avengers Tower’s defenses (Set to KILL).  He also lets slip that he has all of Peter’s loved ones in the Tower, one of whom is J. Jonah Jameson.  In case you know nothing (Jon Snow), the Scorpion, aka Mac Gargan, hates J. Jonah Jameson for forcing him to be trapped in the original Scorpion suit for life (before becoming the second Venom before becoming the Scorpion…again).  And by “hates,” of course I mean “wants to murder and/or ruin,” because that’s the only way you can hate someone in comics. 
 To be fair, I’d want to murder someone if I was stuck looking like that
Scorpion and Hydroman abandon Peter in order to find JJJ.  Otto Spidey, in return, leaves Peter to be demolished by the Tower’s security in order to save his “loved ones.”  Peter’s Horizon colleagues manage to defeat Hydroman but Scorpy bursts through a wall, intent on murderizing JJJ.  Good ole Jonah tries to draw Gargan’s attention so the others can escape.  Brief backstory: J. Jonah Jameson’s dad, John Jonah Jameson, Sr. (because comics), married Peter’s Aunt May, so he’s there too.  Knowing this, Scorpion threatens to harm Aunt May.  Luckily, Otto arrives on the scene.  Now, Otto Octavius is notorious for his affection for Aunt May. 
So the fact that Scorpion is threatening her makes Ock mad.  Like fighting mad.  Like punch-a-dude’s-jaw-off mad.  O. F. F. off.  Which is exactly what he does. 
 Critics called Spidey’s performance: “jaw-dropping”
Peter arrives on the scene and is appalled with Ock abusing his body’s power  and accosts him.  In an attempt to get away, Ock uses impact webbing—web bullets designed to affect super villains—on Peter’s escaping friends, so Peter will be distracted. With this act, Peter realizes that Ock will go to any lengths to get what he wants and will hold incredible power if he is allowed to remain in Peter’s body.  This drives Peter over the edge. Like literally he leaps out of Avengers tower. And he takes Ock with him. 
 Much to the infuriation of younger brothers everywhere
Fortunately, Ock is not a penguin with a jet-propelled hammer and delusions of grandeur.  In a move Peter admits he’s never thought of, Ock creates a web stunt-bag.  Kinda like the one in that Fruit of the Loom commercial with the stuntwoman running around in her underwear.  You did notice the air-bag in that commercial, right?  Of course you did.  Ock’s brilliant move manages to save them both.  But Peter’s at the end of his rope.  He literally has seconds to live.  A last desperate ploy of using the Golden Octobot to re-switch their minds fails thanks to Otto’s foresight in lacing his suit with carbonadium.  So this is it, Peter’s been defeated.  Otto, car in hand, prepares to crush his nemesis once and for all.  Out of ideas and his body on the cusp of death, Peter experiences a flash of Uncle Ben, telling him to get up…which Otto experiences too.  Y’see, there’s still a mental link between the two and, while Peter can’t use it to put his brain back in his body, he can use it to force Otto to relive Peter’s entire life through memory.  Previously, they both had used each other’s memories to glean information they needed, but they’ve never actually lived in them.  Because, memory, the total sum of all our experiences, is how we establish ourselves in our minds.  It, in fact, is who we are. 
  There is a 100% chance that this is a Red vs. Blue reference.
In a sequence fantastically illustrated by Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazba and Edgar Delgado, Otto Octavius is shown experiencing every single crushing moment in Peter’s life.  Uncle Ben’s death, Marla Jameson’s death, the death of both Stacys, playing host to an alien symbiote.  He also experience’s Spider-man’s impossible triumphs like overcoming the Venom suit and facing down the Juggernaut.  Before this, no one, not even Mary Jane Watson, has ever truly known the immensity of the burdens laid on the life of Peter Parker.   The only people who truly know are we, the readers behind the 4th wall.  And now, Doctor Octopus, the crazy megalomaniac hell-bent on stealing the life of his arch-nemesis, is experiencing every single heartbreak of that life first-hand.  For the first time in his life, Otto is truly humbled: how can someone go through such tragedy, such struggle, and keep moving on, how can he live with this enormous guilt. And Peter tells him that he—we—have to because with great power, comes great responsibility.  Uncle Ben’s credo gets tossed around a lot, so much so that the pervasiveness of it has dulled its impact, but I think it regains some of its old verve here.  Doctor Octopus was a man bereft of a moral compass, abusing his power as he saw fit to elevate himself and satisfy his own desires.  Sound like someone you know? 
 Remember when cops wore hats?  Jerkwad Spider-man remembers.
Throughout Slott’s run on Amazing Spider-man, the parallels have been drawn between Peter Parker and Otto Octavius.  Both brilliant men granted extraordinary power through a science experiment gone wrong.  One had the guiding hand of a loving father figure to teach him lessons about duty and consequence.  The other did not.  Until now.  Otto desperately asks the dying Peter, “How can I possibly do this?”  And Peter with one last wisecrack says, “You have to.  You wanted to be Spider-man, remember?”  And Otto understands because he does have to be Spider-man.  After seeing everything Peter has done with his power, how could Otto not? Because that’s what a true hero is: someone who inspires others to be better than themselves.  That’s what Peter Parker is.  That’s what he always will be.  And he proves it with his dying breaths, making Ock promise to protect his friends and family.  “Good,” Peter gasps, “that’s all I ever wanted…”  And with that a hero passes.

Otto stands over his lifeless and crippled former body, his greatest foe vanquished by his own hand.  In awe of his rival’s life of heroism and sacrifice, Otto vows to carry on the legacy set forth by Peter Parker.  …But better.  Peter, paragon though he was, ultimately lost.   Otto will succeed where his former foe failed.  With his unparalleled intellect and boundless ambition, he will be…
…wait, er, no
 There we go

Part 3 Coming Soon!!!


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