Everything You Need to Know for 'Superior Spider-Man Returns' (2024)



October 10, 2023

Ahead of 'Superior Spider-Man' #1, revisit the era where Otto Octavius, AKA Doctor Octopus, took over Peter Parker's body and became the Superior Spider-Man.


Sam Stone

The most fiendish Spider-Man of them all will resurface for his 10th anniversary in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN RETURNS (2023) #1. Joined by superstar Spider-Man artists Ryan Stegman,Humberto Ramos,Mark Bagley, andGiuseppe Camuncoli, SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN (2013) writer Dan Slott returns to the era when Spider-Man's arch-nemesis Doctor Octopus seized control of his body and set out to prove himself the superior Spider-Man in every way.

Here's how Doc Ock was able to pull off the ultimate victory over Spider-Man by becoming him, what he did while in control of Peter Parker's body, and how Peter eventually reclaimed his body from Doc Ock's twisted clutches.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN (2013) #1 cover by Ryan Stegman


In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1999) #600, the toll of fighting super heroes finally caught up to Otto Octavius and his body began steadily deteriorating from repeated physical trauma. After multiple attempts to prolong his life and save his crumbling body failed, Doc Ock decided to take revenge on Spider-Man, who he viewed as the primary force behind his ailing condition and the numerous humiliating defeats that left his reputation in shambles. This vendetta started in earnest in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1999) #698, where Octavius' failing body prompted him to summon Spider-Man under the pretense that he wanted to impart his dying wish.

In reality, Doc Ock had designed his fleet of Octobots to interface with Spider-Man's mind and steal his brain patterns across several previous schemes. With this data now complete, Doc Ock programmed an Octobot to switch his mind with Spider-Man's when the hero came to pay him one last visit. This trapped Peter's consciousness in Octavius' rapidly declining body, while Octavius—posing as Peter—made his escape. Peter confronted Octavius in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1999) #700, but failed to regain control of his body in time.

As Peter died in Octavius' body, Octavius was suddenly flooded with his nemesis' memories, while Peter's life literally flashed before his eyes. Overcome with emotions and empathy for the man he condemned to his dying body, Octavius agreed to follow Peter's dying wish to continue defending the Marvel Universe as Spider-Man. However, Octavius had no interest in replicating his enemy's strategies as a hero and vowed to become a Superior Spider-Man in every way.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1999) #700 page by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos


Early on, Octavius made it clear he would be a much more vicious Spider-Man than Peter. He went so far as to execute the serial-killing super villain Massacre in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN (2013) #5, an action that left him on shaky ground with the Avengers.

Upgrading Spider-Man's usual arsenal with his own inventions, Octavius took a much harsher stance on fighting crime—something that didn't go unnoticed by Peter's old associates, especially after he killed the devious super villain Alistair Smythe under secret orders from J. Jonah Jameson.

Otto's brutality even extended to Spider-Man's usual frenemies. He treated Black Cat like a common criminal and even blackmailed Jameson, creating serious rifts that lasted beyond Octavius' initial turn as Spider-Man.

Octavius' time in Peter's body naturally extended to the Web-Head's personal life, with both a professional and romantic impact. Octavius completed Peter's outstanding doctoral work in order to be publicly recognized as a doctor and set out to create his own tech business, Parker Industries. As he completed his doctoral studies, Octavius struck up a romance with his tutor Anna Maria Marconi, who held a key position in Parker Industries as the fledgling enterprise flourished.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN (2013) #1 page by Dan Slott and Ryan Stegman


Relatively early into his super hero career, Octavius erased all lasting traces of Peter's consciousness from his mind to assert total control. However, when Octavius was faced with unique challenges Peter was more familiar with—including the return of Spider-Man 2099 and Venom—he was forced to tap into Peter's latent memories to save the day. As a result, Peter's consciousness quietly began to reform, with Octavius unaware that his control over Peter's body was gradually eroding.

The resurgence of Peter's consciousness coincided with Norman Osborn rise as the Goblin King, which saw him build an army of followers that spread terror across New York City. Aware that Octavius took control over Spider-Man's body, Osborn demanded that he submit and follow him, but the obstinate Octavius refused.

In retaliation, Osborn and his followers razed Octavius' legacy, including his research center, the Heart Clinic, as well as the location of his first heroic act as the Superior Spider-Man. Realizing only Peter could save his beloved Anna Maria, Octavius returned control of Peter's body to the true Spider-Man just in time for Peter to save the day.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN (2013) #30 page by Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli

Since Peter reclaimed his body, Doctor Octopus has been fully resurrected. Subsequently, he launched an attempt to become a Superior Octopus, as well as a separate bid to become Superior Spider-Man once again.

Though these attempts proved unsuccessful, Octavius is ready to take his scheme to new heights in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN RETURNS (2023) #1. With a villain as cunning and conniving as Doctor Octopus involved, Peter is about to see which iteration of the web-slinger truly is superior.

Revisit Doc Ock's reign as Spider-Man in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN RETURNS #1, on sale now!

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In this article: Spider-Man (Peter Parker), Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius)


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What is 42 in Spider-Man? ›

Trivia. The Oz Experiment Arachnid No. 42, the spider which bit Miles Morales in Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 had a 42 on it representing its experiment number. On Earth-1610B, the number on the back of the spider that bites Miles Morales represents that it's from Earth-42.

How many issues was Superior Spider-Man? ›

The series ended with issue #31, which determined the fate of Parker's mind, and was followed up by a relaunch of The Amazing Spider-Man series, with the new volume depicting Parker regaining his body and the Spider-Man mantle.

Why is Superior Spider-Man so strong? ›

The radioactive, complex mutagenic enzymes in the Parker's blood that were transferred at the time of the bite triggered numerous body-wide mutagenic changes within Osborn, granting him strength, speed, toughened flesh, and numerous arachnid-like abilities.

Is Superior Spider-Man good or evil? ›

While Otto Gunther Octavius is known famously for being the Marvel villain Doctor Octopus, he occasionally had his more heroic moments before eventually replacing Peter Parker as the superhero Spider-Man in the mainstream Marvel comics.

Who is Spider-Man 999? ›

Peter Parker was one of the many iterations of Spider-Man there existed within the multiverse, existing on the 999th Earth created by Gar. Born in Queens, New York, the iconic wall-crawler would don the mask of his vigilante alter-ego to fight crime and serve justice to the people.

Why did spider 42 bite Miles? ›

This radioactive spider, originally native to Earth-42, was originally destined to bite the Miles Morales of its world, transforming him into its Spider-Man.

Is Superior Spider-Man 616? ›

Otto Octavius, AKA the Superior Spider-Man (Earth-616)

Why was Superior Spider-Man so controversial? ›

Given how accepted he is today, it's easy to forget the Superior Spider-Man (aka Doc Ock) was controversial when he originally debuted. This was because Doc Ock literally stole Peter's life and body by transplanting his mind into the latter's. Doc Ock then proceeded to prove himself as the "superior" Spider-Man.

Who defeated Superior Spider-Man? ›

The Green Goblin outmaneuvered Otto, so he had to admit that the real Superior Spider-Man were the remains of Peter's identity clinging onto dear life in their shared brain and Otto ended up deleting himself from the brain, so Peter could reassert himself and rescue Otto's girlfriend Anna Maria.

What did superior Spiderman do to electro? ›

Electro returns to Earth and attempts to avenge himself on Thor by forcing an A.I.M. scientist to convert him to generate protons instead of electrons, but he is defeated when Superior Spider-Man (Doctor Octopus' mind in Spider-Man's body) manages to convert him into a stream of protons and traps him.

Who is the most weak Spider-Man? ›

50 Powerless Peter Parker (Earth-40081)

He compensates with enough heart to be heroic throughout the Powerless series, but as someone who's more man than spider, it should come as no surprise why he's the weakest "Spider-Man."

Who is the most powerful version of Spider-Man? ›

Peter Parker is the classic Spider-Man, known for his nobility and strength, and remains a fan-favorite superhero. Cosmic Spider-Man is the most powerful variation, gaining god-like abilities after absorbing the Enigma Force.

Who is Spider-Man's worst nemesis? ›

The Norman version of the Green Goblin is usually regarded as Spider-Man's archenemy. The second Goblin, Harry Osborn, is Norman's son and Peter Parker's best friend.

What earth is Superior Spider-Man? ›

Otto Octavius (Superior Spider-Man) (Earth-12131)

What is the significance of 42 in Marvel? ›

The number 42 appears in key scenes throughout "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," and it's also present in the original comic book. Some fans believed it was a nod to Douglas Adams' book "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," but it's not. It's a reference to baseball legend Jackie Robinson's jersey number.

What is the symbolism of 42? ›

In Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 42 is the number from which all meaning ("the meaning of life, the universe, and everything") can be derived. However, its actual significance is open to interpretation.

What is the lucky number in Spider-Man? ›

Miles Morales was bitten by a spider bearing the number 42, causing him to become a Spider-Man. The number was later heavily referenced in the film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

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