Doctor Octopus is the all-new Spider-Man - and nothing will ever be the same again!

(Panini Books)

THE unthinkable has happened. Peter Parker, the spectacular Spider-Man, is dead.

Unwittingly subjected to a body-swap by his dying foe, Doctor Otto Octavius, Peter found himself trapped in the rapidly deteriorating form of his arch enemy, while the supervillain was running free with his youthful body, powers and memories.

But following a final confrontation between the long-lasting enemies, Peter bestows Octavius with his moral compass and sense of responsibility, before finally succumbing to his frailties and dying at the conclusion of the landmark issue #700 of the Amazing Spider-Man.

Otto vows to use his second chance at life to be a better Spider-Man than his predecessor ever was, a “Superior” breed of hero who will use his immense genius for good. It is the dawn of a new era, and nothing will ever be the same again.

This first volume in the new Superior Spider-Man series begins in the wake of Peter’s death, as Octavius begins his crusade to make up for his past sins and leave a worthy legacy in his wake.

Although he can access Parker’s memories of his friends and family, and his body’s innate ability to use his spider-powers, for Otto it’s a journey of discovery as he learns how to interact with Peter’s loved ones and find a new role as a hero.

But in case he oversteps the line and reverts to his former villainous self, an echo of Peter’s consciousness remains active deep within his mind, keeping a close eye on the one-time Doctor Octopus, and steering him away from doing anything too extreme.

This initial collection of stories is really an opportunity for both Octavius and the reader to come to terms with the shift in status quo, as to all intents and purposes this is the beginning of a new era for the self-professed Superior Spider-Man.

More focused, determined and ruthless as a super-hero, more attentive, responsible and loyal as a friend and relative, Otto Octavius vows not to waste his second chance at life, or the opportunities presented by his newfound position.

It’s a daring move to change a much-loved character in such an extreme fashion, yet long-term Spidey writer Dan Slott knows what he’s doing, and obviously has a long game in mind. Peter Parker is surely set to return to life in time for the second instalment of the Amazing Spider-Man movie series, but for now it’s a case of sitting back and enjoying the ride as we’re treated to a refreshing new direction for the 50-year-old superhero.