In Case You Missed It #3

 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 3: The New Era

Previously, on this column…
So, Doc Ock now inhabits Peter Parker’s body, but he’s taken an oath to be a hero, to live up to his nemesis’s legacy.  Well, “live up to” isn’t really the right phrase.  “Exceed” is a better one.  We’ve seen villains act as heroes before, but, at least as far as I can remember, we’ve never seen one go about it as a villain would.  There’s an inherent difference in the way most heroes operate versus the way most villains operate.  Heroes are very reactive: going on patrols; solving problems that they encounter but generally just taking things as they come.  Villains, on the other hand, are very proactive.  Such is the nature of the villain.  Hatching schemes, observing collating data, planning for the perfect time to strike.  And that’s what we’re getting here.  As Spider-man, Ock’s bringing his full scientific genius and villain OS to bear.  He’s given the suit claws that transmit nano-tracers through the wounds they inflict, thus removing the clumsy and last ditch effort of throwing a Spider-tracker on a fleeing bad guy.  The nano-tracers also can be detonated, and while the effect is non-lethal, it’s still pretty shocking. 
 Nano-tracers: apply directly to the bad guy.
All Marvel characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are Trademarks & Copyright ©2012 Marvel Characters, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
He’s also created Octo…uh I mean Spider-bots that allow him to monitor the crime in the city, in a very creepy Big Brother way.  But Otto “Bit of a Fascist” Octavius’s methods are actually working: crime goes way the hell down.  The Spider-bots allow Ock to reroute and report smaller incidents (fires, muggings, drug deals) to the authorities, allowing him to focus on the super-villainy.  Had this been Peter Parker, his guilt and unnecessary loner-creed would have forced him into either agonizing over the choice between the two or stopping to stop the smaller crime at the risk of continuing the greater disaster.  This somewhat authoritarian approach puts him in the good graces of Mayor Jameson and we get one of the few times where Spider-man and the law are not in constant tension.  In fact, Ock regularly communicates with the police in order to help him resolve situations, something Peter did infrequently at best.  Right or wrong, this new approach is, objectively, an interesting change in the way Spider-man operates. 
This also changes the way Peter Parker operates.  The Spiderbots allow him to be more efficient on his patrols, taking less time while fighting more crime.  Which allows him to spend more time with the people who matter to him.  This also allows him to go back to get his doctorate (which, admittedly, Ock does out of sheer hubris, but, still it betters Peters life).  Relatedly, Ock, after several date nights of no success, realizes the Mary Jane problem isn’t solvable.
 All Marvel characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are Trademarks & Copyright ©2012 Marvel Characters, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Something that Peter admits he would have never been able to do, despite the fact that it was the wisest course. 
Oh, that’s riiiiight, I should probably mention at this point that Peter Parker’s spirit(?) is still around.  And by “around” I mean “stealth cohabitating his old body.”  Y’see, Peter Parker’s memories (which Ock still retains) has given rise to a consciousness, because what are we if not our memories?  So this copy(?) of Peter Parker has to sit and watch Ock’s brand of Spidey justice.  Well, he can interact in a limited fashion.  He stops Ock from brutalizing Boomerang, the leader of the new Sinister Six.  His voice, though often unheard, sometimes comes to Ock as a “nagging voice” in the back of his head.  This interference increases until Ock hears him as a disembodied voice.  When Peter tries to physically stop Ock from obtaining a brain scan helmet by saving a young, brain-damaged girl, Ock realizes something is wrong.  Utilizing a scan info the Avengers had taken of him because they suspected something was off as well, Ock realizing exactly what is going on. 

In one of the coolest comics of the run (#9), Ock engages the Parker copy in pitched mental battle for dominance.  Brace yourself for a prose butchering of a fantastic comic illustrated by Ryan Stegman and Edgar Delgado.  After realizing a simple memory wipe (kill the memories, kill the fragment) won’t work, Ock inserts a mental avatar of himself (in classic Doc Ock form) to engage the fragment personally.  Outmatched, Peter Parker summons the positive aspects of his life, which take the form of his loved ones and bravely swarm Ock.  Which makes it all the more heart-breaking when Ock summons the negative aspects of Peter’s life, which of course, take the form of his greatest foes.  
All Marvel characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are Trademarks & Copyright ©2012 Marvel Characters, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 
Who promptly proceed to slaughter the positive aspects of Peter’s life and also wipe them from his memory.  After both men change into their Spider-man personas, Ock gains the upper hand when he guilts Peter into acknowledging that he endangered the life of the young girl from earlier in an attempt to stop Ock from learning about his presence.  He guilts Peter because Peter’s always tried to be likable, to be the guy who doesn’t punish his enemies.  And what has that gotten him? More people have died because Peter took the lenient route.  Ock twists the “power and responsibility” motto like the proverbial knife: all along, Peter had the power to stop these villains to a much harsher degree, therefore he had the responsibility to do so.  Ock’s been putting down bad guys like he’s at the whack-a-mole and it’s closing time at the arcade: he’s vanquished the Vulture, who’d been using child soldiers to pull heists, by blinding him and smashing him into a spot-light…from about twenty stories up; he’s massacred Massacre, an unfeeling gun-toting psychopath who’d murdered thirty more people after Peter had simply turned him over to the authorities.   In light of these victories, glories such as these, Ock beats it into the Peter fragment that he, not Peter, is the one who is worthy to be Spider-man.   The superior edition.  The Peter fragment, broken and humbled in the mindscape, is crushed under the resulting mind wipe.  And finally, Otto is free.

Unfettered by the ghost of Peter Parker, Otto sets about being the “superior” Spider-man.  After fatally stopping the Spider Slayer’s attempted breakout from the soon-to-be defunct Raft, he manages to blackmail Jonah Jameson into giving the island to him as a base of operations.  From there, he hires a veritable army of goons and begins constructing massive Spider-bots for them to pilot.  Seems kind’ve super-villiany, doesn’t it? Otto begins to lapse more into his old ways, with his “Superior” mindset having him believing that he is always right, and everyone else is beneath him.  This culminates in the destruction of Horizon labs when, after a series of accidents, Otto is forced to wrack the Peter memories he had already accessed in an attempt to find an answer to a theorem in order to stop a time-space bomb from exploding.  He fails but mysteriously survives.  However, this use of Peter’s memories resuscitates the Peter Parker fragment, albeit one with only the key moments of his former life.  Because there’s a new movie coming out and what a convenient way to make the character more accessible.  The fragment doesn’t do much for awhile, learning from its last experience what happens if it interferes too much so dangling plot thread is left dangling. 
These events lead to Otto getting fired from Horizon labs, which is not a setback in Otto’s mind, but, rather, an unfettering.  He creates his own company, Parker Industries which helps Dan Slott push the “power and responsibility” phrase to its dark conclusion—“might makes right”—as exhibited in this scene wherein a professor jeopardizes Otto’s chances of getting Parker a doctorate. 
All Marvel characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are Trademarks & Copyright ©2012 Marvel Characters, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Still, Otto does put a crimp in the New York crime scene.  He shuts down the Owl and the White Dragon’s gangs as well as a host of others.  In perhaps one of his most stunning coups, he obliterates Shadowland, a Hand fortress in the middle of Hell’s kitchen run by Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin.  While the Kingpin manages to fake his own death to throw Spider-man off the trail, but, utilizing his citywide eyes, Otto manages to take the Kingpin’s main lieutenant, the Hobgoblin aka Phil Urich, into custody.  Unfortunately, a trouble brews beneath the streets of New York.  A Green Goblin (identity yet unconfirmed) has been lurking in the shadows of the Spider. 
Remember when I told you way back in 1.1 how Norman Osborn, aka the Green Goblin, aka Iron Patriot, aka Who the Hell Thought This Was a Good Idea, took over the Marvel Universe.  Well at some point, a cult-like gang of Osborn supporters sprung up.  They all sported gaudy Goblin tattoos and were pretty much responsible for busting Norman Osborn out of jail.  It would appear that the Goblin cult has rallied around this “new” GG, whose set himself up as a Goblin King. He’s figured out a way to subvert the Spider-bots, letting anyone with a Goblin mark go undetected.  Every time Spider-man shuts down a gang by taking out its head, the Goblin swoops in to pick up the pieces.  He busts Phil Urich out of police custody and dubs him his Goblin Knight (because those are a thing).  With Urich and Menace (another Goblin-based Spider-man villain, don’t ask) at his side and the Kingpin gone, the Green Goblin has essentially wrested control over the New York Crime scene.  He captures Carlie Cooper (police forensics investigator and Peter’s former girlfriend pre-Ock who, after thorough investigation, has discovered that Doc Ock is possessing Peter Parker’s body and playing Spider-man…hmm, that seems rather important, doesn’t it, like it was something that should have been mentioned significantly before this and not just dropped in as a parenthetical that has grown far too long as this point) ummm, sentence end. 

 It got away from me, yeah.
Anyway, he doses her with Goblin Serum, the same thing that gave almost every Goblin their powers and drove them certifiably insane, lets Menace give her some theme park-esque face paint and a bag for her head and dubs her Monster.  (They just won’t man up and give me Demogoblin).  Having access to Carlie’s findings, GG knows everything about Ock, Spider-man, and his whole operation, except who is under the mask, which Carlie knows but fortuitously kept out of her notes.  GG asks her, but she plays coy, wanting to know who’s actually under his mask before revealing what’s under the Spider’s.  Dangling plot thread is left dangling.  After killing the Hobgoblin (a stand-in, not Ben Kingsley,) and taking control of his villain franchise operation (exactly like it sounds), GG is now poised to take the fight to Otto in what is likely to be the final storyline Superior Spider-man.  As he quit the Avengers after being controlled by the venom suit, Otto would appear to stand alone in GOBLIN NATION 

So, that’s kinda it.  That was a messy recap towards the end, but its essentially the big points you need to know about for the next issue, Superior Spider-man #27.  There are some other things, subplots and the like, as well as that first sentence I ever typed that I’ll be addressing in the next and final installment of ICYMI Superior Spider-man, but, essentially you’ve got the gist of it.  Congratulations on making it this far and I’m sorry, I’m so so sorry.  (Two Doctor Who references in one column, time to GTFO).  See you next week (hopefully).


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