Well, Spider-Man has done it again. The recent news of Marvel losing the rights to the character has left many faithful fans distraught. Even when Marvel announced its new shows (She Hulk, Ms. Marvel and Moon Knight) this weekend at the D23 Expo, the comments on Instagram were littered with cries for Spider-Man to be back. As usual, with the reboot question hanging in the air, the debate rises up again: Who did it best? Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield or Tom Holland? Personally, it’s a close tie between Tobey and Tom, with a slight lean more towards Tobey…but that’s just me. In the mix of all this Spider drama there is another Spider-Man we are forgetting. One who goes unnoticed and unknown by the masses, yet he is far more superior.
Doctor Octopus is one of Spider-Man’s greatest foes. Not only was he well known in the comics and the television cartoons, but he also made his big screen blockbuster appearance in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 as the main villain. In 2013, Dan Slott’s ten year run on The Amazing Spider-Man concluded with his story arc of the death of Peter Parker and the rise of Doctor Octopus, who had taken over Peter Parker’s brain. A twenty-minute nerdy YouTube video is available out there to explain the inner workings of how this occurred exactly. However, Doctor Octopus, now rid of his brain damaged mind and extra metal arms, decided to become something better. With the identity, memories and thoughts of Peter Parker now, he created a plan to be greater than him. He chose to become: The Superior Spider-Man!
Jump from 2013 to today and The Superior Spider-Man is back again, only this run is being written by Christos Gage. It’s the same idea, except Doctor Octopus is now in a clone Peter Parker body. He was given a new identity but still feels the past gripping on to him. He now has the body and mind of a superhero, yet still feels like he is a villain. He had his Damascus Road name change like Paul, yet still feels like he is waiting for the scales to fall off. He can’t see who he has now become. His enemies, who used to be his villainous friends, bring up his past to mock him. Superheroes harken back to failed attempts at world domination to prove their reason for distrust. Not unlike Paul, who had recently found his new identity and attempted to speak to the Christians he was previously trying to hunt down. It’s likely they weren’t so trusting at first either.
Other superheroes like Doctor Strange and Hawkeye show up and make it known they don’t have faith in Doctor Octopus’ new identity. But he is quick to remind the both of them, they started out as a drunk and a criminal. The power of a new identity changed them, why couldn’t it change him? As the series develops, so does The Superior Spider-Man. In the beginning he is phoning in the ‘right’ decisions he has to make in order to fit into the identity of ‘superhero’ or Peter Parker. It literally is phoned in through his suit. Over time the identity grows on him and without trying he finds himself leaning into his new identity and becoming the superhero he already was.
From Doctor Octopus to Peter Parker, villain to superhero, hated to loved, destroying the city to saving it. A new identity is what comes before any type of change. Even when the law reminds of past trespasses. A relationship that could have been reconciled. A comment that could have been left unsaid. The marriage you walked out on. The family you shattered. Or maybe the world you tried to destroy and would have, if it weren’t for The Avengers. The gospel truth is still present and waiting for you so you can web sling through the city freely, wearing your new identity proudly.