After 31 issues, Superior Spider-Man is gone for good. And as they say, once a door closes, another one opens as The Amazing Spider-Man is up for another run.
For the unacquainted, Superior is set after TASM #700-ish where the dying Doc Ock swaps his consciousness with Peter Parker’s. As such, Peter “dies” inside Octavius’ body and Octavius lives on inside Peter’s. Of course, a lot of Spidey fans gasped at this outrage of a plot twist, giving Superior a rather rocky start. A lot of Spidey purists couldn’t accept the fact that Peter is dead and that Otto is taking over his existence, even playing in his shoes as Spider-Man. Some fans even went so far as to not buying another Spidey comic ever again. If you’ve read the letters section of Superior’s first issue, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
I, on the other hand, was excited with the concept. It was a very, very risky move for the creators, that’s for sure. Because really, who draws and writes 700 issues just to kill off the main character? And to top it all off, you’re going to put the villain in the hero’s shoes? Please, crazy-ass comic guys.
But that is precisely the point. The prospect of having a villain play the part of a hero, having him finally see how it was at the other side of the fence was, for me, the selling point of Superior. All this time, villains get this idea that heroes have it easy, what with all the adoration and support that they get from the people. One would get the idea that since heroes are loved by the public, the villains are forever underdogs and perpetually pitiful. As Spidey, I believe Doc Ock realized that this was not always the case. In Parker’s shoes, he finally understood how with great power, comes great responsibility.
Yes, it hurt to see Peter Parker shouting at Aunt May or leaving Mary Jane behind. Yes, Superior was ruthless, he still had the vestiges of being evil. SpOck cared for his city but his methods were rather questionable, going so far as to blackmail Jonah Jameson and, most of the time, looking down on his colleagues.
But the development of Superior also showed us the side of Otto Octavius that was human. He found love in Anna Maria Marconi and he truly cared for her. At the end of the day, Otto discovered the value of sacrifice and, in a sincere act of heroism, was able to sacrifice himself for the greater good.
The premise of Superior was, without doubt, outrageous. Perhaps not unprecedented but still flat-out crazy. However, Otto’s journey as Spider-Man was one where we saw him mature, in a sense. As Spidey, he finally accepted the fact he will never win against Peter Parker. He discovers that heroes don’t always have it easy, and that it was not always about himself. It was a sad road as Superior Spider-Man, if you think about it. But in the end, Doc Ock was the unspoken hero who saved the day.
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