So, heard any good stories lately?
No, seriously, spoilers freaking abound from this point forward.
Yes, Dan Slott has done it and delivered – as promised, and reiterated for the last 100+ issues of Amazing Spider-man – a finale that hasn’t simply broken the Internet in half, but tore down its walls and let the roof collapse on the huddled masses within. Doctor Otto Gunther Octavius, better known to the masses as Doctor Octopus, has finally and undeniably defeated Spider-man.
That’s right, folks. Doc Ock’s middle name is Gunther. You Adventure Time fans out there may revel in your moment of narrative parity and justice.
For the rest of the non-Adventure Time fans, the impact is slightly more accentuated upon the multistage twists and turns that issue 700 has taken us through, as at each turn Spidey and Doc Ock play a game of one upmanship. Each of them has access to the other’s memories and resources, each of them laying down moves and counters at an alarming rate, until finally one is left standing.
And this time, people, the bad guy has won. As he should have. But at a terrible price – he is now so burdened with thousands of issues of continuity that he… er, that is, he is now understanding the full weight of what drove Peter Parker to be Spider-man that he, himself, has succumbed to the urge not only to be Spider-man himself, but to be a smarter, improved, and yes, Superior Spider-man.
Look for it in a couple of weeks at your local comic shop, fans.
For those that can’t wait for a taste of what the future holds, Avenging Spider-man 15.1 does a nice job of setting up the new status quo for our
protagonist antagonist main character. It is clear to we the readers that this is Doctor Octopus fully in charge of Peter’s body, powers, professional life, and (most alarmingly) his personal life. It is obvious at this early point that even as the Doc’s ego clouds his judgement that even if he were inclined to try to be exactly like Peter Parker he couldn’t do it – his voice, his needs, his priorities are still completely Otto Octavius. He still needs the goggles. He is most comfortable in the lab. His feelings for Aunt May are very strong, but for totally different reasons.
Things are going to get interesting from here for the duration of this part of the ride. How long will this go on? How long will we go without Peter Parker as Spider-man?
Well, let me turn my own intellect to that question.
The conventional wisdom seems to be that with the sequel to the (horrid) Amazing Spider-man film already in the works that Peter Parker will be back in time for that film’s release. After all, we’ve got to have the comic match up to the expectations set by the new movie, right? … right? Or have we seen this kind of thing go wrong before?
Heh. I can feel the shudders from those of our readers who are well versed in their comics history. It. Is. Tasty.
For those less steeped in comics lore, may I present The Life of Reilly in all of its 35 part glory. Or, if you prefer, we can call it The Clone Saga.
Yes, Peter Parker has been replaced before, and anyone who was reading it in the 90s can tell you that WOW did it go off the rails. And as it left the rails it jumped a school of sharks. And then it train wrecked. And then I ran out of abused cliches about narratives that went tremendously poorly. And then it kept going after that. For two years, across every Spider-man related title.
Why did it go so far off course, and last so much longer than intended? The Life of Reilly tells it better, and I’m sure our friend Arlen Schumer could get hours of really entertaining material out of it, but it comes down to Marvel’s marketing department begging for it to be stretched out because sales were so high.
And we all know history has a way of repeating itself.
Either way I find this all vastly entertaining, both as a reader and as a blogger. Will Ock-as-Spidey gain a following that merits a continuance of this take on the character? Will it crash and burn, forcing Marvel to return Peter Parker prematurely? That, folks, is likely more interesting than anything that will end up on the page, even with Dan Slott at the top of his game.
Ben “the EvilGuy” West