Otto Octavius vs Peter Parker - for the control of Spider-Man’s body!

(Panini Books)

WHEN writer Dan Slott had arch-Spidey foe Doctor Octopus (aka Otto Octavius) take control of the webslinger’s body at the end of last year, many fans welcomed the get-out clause he also introduced to protect the psyche of Peter Parker.

Peter maintained an existence as a spiritual moral compass for the reformed supervillain, preventing him from crossing any unacceptable lines of behaviour, and allowing Otto to tap into his memories in order to gain inspiration from the sort of man Parker actually was.

Of course, having Peter regain control of his body from Octavius would have been far too easy, so Slott takes the extreme decision to kill off Parker all over again and upset Spider-Man’s legion of fans for a second time.

In retrospect, it would have been a pointless exercise to introduce Otto as the new, “superior” Spider-Man for a handful of months and then revert to the previous status quo, as there are obviously a plethora of stories Slott wants to tell with the former Doctor Octopus in the driving seat. But what was surprising was the speed at which he addressed the matter of Peter’s ghostly presence in Otto’s mind, and took drastic steps to eliminate it.

Events come to a head (literally), after Otto first brutally assaults troublesome anarchists Screwball and the Jester, and coming as it does shortly after he executed the psychopathic Massacre, leads to the webslinger being placed on probation by his teammates in the Avengers.

But the trigger for a final reckoning between Parker and Octavius comes following a most unexpected development…

It’s certainly difficult to predict where Slott is heading with the new Superior Spidey. Is it a story of redemption? Of the changing face of heroism? Or something more? Whether we will ever see the real Peter Parker back in control of his body is something which remains uncertain for the time being, especially while there are such strong stories to be told with the allegedly-reformed Octavius, but whatever happens in the future, it’s certainly worth sticking around for the ride.