Good Ol’ Peter Parker

So it looks like Otto Octavius is ending his vacation inside of Peter Parker’s body and Pete’s gonna be back soon.  I haven’t been reading the series (I prefer to wait for trade paperbacks), but I’ve been intrigued by the whole idea.  From what I’ve heard from my fellow geekerlings, it’s been a great run.

Superior?

Otto’s always been a complex villain, and the idea of him taking over Spider-Man’s body to prove himself a “superior” hero is great.  He doesn’t have the emotional hangups that Peter does (he has a different set of hangups) and in many ways, that makes him better at fighting “evil.”

My friend Marc Buxton does a great analysis here, and if Marc says it (and it’s about comics) it’s probably true.

The thing about Otto is that he is a creature of cold logic, free of encumbering emotions.  This allows him to make the hard decisions, stuff that Peter could never do.  But in the end, he lacks Peter’s humanity, and that’s the spark that makes a true hero.

If you don’t read The Middle Spaces yet, you should.  It’s a great comic resource, and the author, Osvaldo, is one of my best friends.  He wrote an article some time back about how Marvel has embraced a gray area of justice, where heroes will do unheroic things, such as use torture villains or exile The Hulk to a far off planet.  Even Spider-Man beat a suspect to get information out of him at one point, which is completely out of character for him, and in my opinion makes him less heroic.

I think that establishing the contrast between Peter and Otto will return Pete to his previous state, though that depends on the writer.  They could have him go the other way and incorporate some of Otto’s methods, which I think is a terrible idea.

In the forthcoming novelized version of my serial, The Watchmage of Old New York (free with registration, blah blah blah), the main character suffers through a similar crisis of faith.  If you have near unlimited power, how do you avoid overusing it to mold the world in your image?  How do you punish evil without succumbing to it? The Superman comics have dealt with the same thing over the years, the latest example being the video game Injustice, which I enjoyed very much.

So let me be the first to welcome Peter Parker back into his own body.  Otto’s good, but not “superior.”

Also, I got a new phone today and all the fancy shit on it is overwhelming me.  I’m not computer illiterate, but I compute on a 4th grade level.

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8 thoughts on “Good Ol’ Peter Parker

  1. I’ve got a post about Superior Spider-Man brewing – wrote the first couple thousand words, but then decided to wait until the series ends before finishing it. I am not as enthusiastic about the series as your friend Marc seems to be. I do think there is a possibility that Otto’s version of Spidey is a culmination of a direction the character was (unfortunately) already going in and that the return to the “status quo” will pull the reigns in a bit on the cold dickish Peter Parker, which admittedly has always been part of the character, but needs tempering. With Dan Slott still writing him, though, it is hard to to know – but regardless of his intention, I think Superior Spider-Man can be looked at as a critique of the so-called “pragmatic” superhero and its parallels to the abuse of state power.

  2. Oh and for the record, I would not say that they’re embracing a “gray area of justice” – I would say there is nothing gray about it. They are making decisions on their own in ways that clearly violate the rights of others and undermine the very liberal democratic ideals of individuality (which are in my estimation, laughable) they purport to uphold.

    • The thing that made Otto Octavious an interesting Spiderman, (in my humble opinion at least) was that he was more proactive whereas Peter was always more reactive. If Peter takes anything away from this experience and he chooses to take that one aspect of Doc Oc’s time in his body then Peter will be a far “superior” Spiderman than Doctor Octopus ever was because Peter Parker has in abundance the one thing Otto lacked which is heart.

      • Here’s the thing (and the central idea I plan for my piece on The Superior Spider-Man to revolve around). I think a lot of comic writers and readers don’t understand what the phrase “With great power comes great responsibility” means – or at least in full. Usually it is interpreted to simply mean, if you have great power it is your responsibility to use it to help people. But that it is not quite it – great power means the likelihood (if not inevitability) that you will fuck up greatly – that even with the greatest of intentions the results will harm people. Regardless of your intentions, you are _responsible_ for that. That means that being proactive is a tricky proposition. Doc Ock is justifying everything he does based on this twisted sense of the greater good and his sense of his own deserving and greatness and it leads to bad things. The point is not that Parker’s decisions don’t lead to bad things, but that he feels guilt b/c regardless he is responsible for them. Otto on the other hand makes excuses.

        Parker is not as proactive because he knows (or senses) that in real life there are no good decisions, there are only less bad ones. Things do not break down as easily in terms of “making the tough decision” for the best outcome. “Outcomes” are artificial stopping point.

      • So a fuller meaning would be something like “if you have power, you are responsible for doing the right thing, but your attempts to do the right thing will cause pain too, and you will have to deal with those consequences.”

        Man, being a hero sucks.

  3. Pingback: New Thor, New Captain America, and a Sinister Six Movie: Marvel and “Worthiness” | casandersdotnet

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