Spider-Man is one of the most recognizable heroes from the Marvel camp and he has entertained us fans for a long time. Whether it’s through comics, movies, or animated series, the wall crawler has been a part of our lives that it’s unthinkable that Marvel would decide to kill him off. But in late 2012, that’s exactly what Marvel did. Sort of. To summarize a long story arc, Otto Octavius, better known as Doctor Octopus, was dying and using a device of his own invention, he successfully swapped consciousness with Peter Parker as a last attempt to defeat Spider-Man. Stuck in Otto’s deteriorating body, Peter failed to get his body back to the shock of many. Just when it seemed that the villain was going to walk off into the sunset, Peter’s failed attempt to switch bodies actually allowed him to share his memories and tragic experiences with Otto. Through all the pain and trauma that Peter suffered through, Otto learned the lesson that with great power comes great responsibility. With his dying breath, Peter made Otto promise to continue his legacy as Spider-Man.
Retaining a touch of his arrogance, Otto swore to be a better Spider-Man than Peter was in every way. And with that, the Superior Spider-Man was born. Of course, Peter Parker is irreplaceable and will always be our Spider-Man, but that’s not to say that Doctor Octopus’s run as the Superior Spider-Man did not have its brilliant moments. Here we take a look at some categories where Otto was definitely superior to Peter as Spider-Man.
1. Superior Spider-Man Delegates Tasks To Trained Personnel
Nobody can deny that Peter’s heart is in the right place. He wants to use his powers to help everyone and he doesn’t think twice about jumping into every dangerous situation that comes his way if there’s a life on the line, despite the toll it takes on his body and the cost to his own personal time. Otto, on the other hand, feels that some mundane tasks are beneath his genius. Whatever your feelings about Otto, it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t have the right approach in dealing with the city’s civil workers. He doesn’t think twice about requesting for police backup to deal with a homicidal killer, or ordering security guards to maintain a perimeter before engaging in a super-powered fight. At one point he even used crowd-sourcing to find a super-villain! Even Peter, who was hovering beneath Otto’s consciousness, realized that the police could be relied on to handle dangerous situations. They were trained for the job afterall.
2. Superior Spider-Man Plans Ahead.
On his very first outing as a super hero, Superior Spider-Man was faced with a reformed Sinister Six. The clash ended with the Six getting away, but Otto managed to slip in a listening device on one of the Six and became privy to their next heist. Using this information, he turned the next heist location into a trap. He effectively nullified each of their powers and subdued them with ease in full view of the reporters he invited as an audience. Not saying Peter wouldn’t have stopped them on his own, but this is a huge difference to his usual on-the-spot improvisation. Arranging for live press coverage during your battle with super-powered villains requires advance planning and a huge ego.
Another example is the time Superior Spider-Man stopped the Spider-Slayer’s escape from the Raft. Having been incarcerated in the same prison in his time as Doctor Octopus, Superior Spider-Man utilized his knowledge of the prison to turn it into an air-tight deathtrap for his foe. He managed to counter every trick that the Spider-Slayer tried in his escape. As a testament to his preparedness, he even had a defense for brain-swapping similar to what he did to Peter Parker.
3. Superior Spider-Man Uses A Lot Of Science
Like Peter, Otto is a scientist, and it’s refreshing to see a Spider-Man defeat his foes using science, whether it’s applied sciences or inventions. Peter used to do so early in his career, but later on, more emphasis is placed on him solving issues with sheer grit, guts, and friendly banter. Otto, on the other hand, uses technology without shame in his crusade to rid New York of crime. It kind of feels like he forgot that he has super powers now and still relies on his inventions like his old villainous self. Spider-bots with facial recognition, an app that lets him do his daily patrols on his tablet within minutes, he even has his own giant robot!
4. Superior Spider-Man Broke Up With Mary Jane.
Peter’s been with Mary Jane for a long time, if you include the time they were married before it was retconned. It’s hard to calculate the actual length of their relationship, but I think we can all agree that she’s been through a lot just by being with Peter. Her life’s been in constant danger and she’s had a few close calls. When Otto become Spider-Man, he didn’t mind continuing the relationship with MJ at first. However, after saving her yet again from certain death, he finally did something that Peter Parker couldn’t do, and that was to break up with Mary Jane to keep her safe.
5. Superior Spider-Man Kills Hopeless Cases
Now this I expect would cause major controversy. In his stint as Spider-Man, Otto pushed the envelope really far. He dealt vicious and savage beatings to criminals that would make the Punisher blush in approval. He reached the final threshold when faced with the remorseless killer Massacre, who at that time had just finished rampaging inside a train station full of civilians. After subduing Massacre, Superior Spider-Man leveled the killer’s own gun at him and asked point blank what he needs to do in order to break the cycle that everyone is too familiar with: hero sends villain to jail only to have the villain escape and kill more people. For those not familiar with Massacre, he has a special condition where he is unable to feel any emotions and has lost his concept of morality. In this case, however, Massacre starts to feel fear and begins crying. Just when you think Otto would take pity, an angry bystander cries out for Superior to kill Massacre. Acting as judge, jury, and executioner, Superior Spider-Man shoots Massacre in the head.
How could killing be considered great, you may wonder. Otto tarnished Spider-Man’s name when he executed Massacre. But by the same token, he also rid New York of a remorseless killer who would definitely kill again given the opportunity. Consider this – Wolverine’s body count is probably the highest of them all, yet his public approval rating is just fine. The Superior Spider-Man also killed the Spider-Slayer even after the latter surrendered. Then again, he was already scheduled to be executed by the State of New York when he tried to escape.