Superior Spider-Man

#6AU cover.

On the eve of Age of Ultron #1, we're continuing our series looking at some of the many players in the Brian Michael Bendis-written, Bryan Hitch/Carlos Pacheco/Brandon Peterson-illustrated Marvel event series.

In case you haven't heard by now, it picks up with the bad guy winning, as veteran Avengers villain Ultron — an artificial intelligence that hates humanity — has finally succeeded in taking over the world, destroying a good chunk of it in the process. This leaves the Marvel Universe in ruins and its heroes ready to take some desperate measures, which evidently involve time travel and look to have rather serious repercussions.

Previously, we pondered the story's titular antagonist, <a href=>Ultron</a>, plus the closest things he has to family: <a href=>"father" Hank Pym and "son" the Vision</a>.

Now, we turn to a character featured prominently in the <a href=>preview pages for Age of Ultron #1</a>: the Superior Spider-Man.


Interior art from  

Superior Spider-Man


You know Spider-Man's origin — if you didn't read it in , then you certainly have encountered it in the numerous retellings between movies, cartoons and the first arc of .

But since last December's , Marvel is dealing with a different Spider-Man. One that looks like Peter Parker, yes, but is controlled by the mind of Doctor Octopus, thanks to a consciousness switch that occurred right before Doc Ock's body — with Peter's mind trapped inside — expired. But the ol' Parker luck actually worked in the guy's favor for once (relatively speaking), as a part of Peter's is still inside Otto Octavius' brain, both struggling to steer Ock in the right direction while also working to regain control of his own body; all unbeknownst to the supervillain.

Yet whether or not "supervillain" still applies isn't quite clear. Thanks to an infusion of some much-needed responsibility to go along with all that power, Otto is actually trying to be the best hero he can be in the ongoing series, with a high(er)-tech approach and decidedly mixed results thus far.


"He's going to try to be a superhero," <a href=>long-time Spidey writer Dan Slott told Newsarama in December</a>. "He's going to try to take this new lease on life and use it for good. But he's Doc Ock, so of course he's going to do it through his own lens."


Spider-Man has been involved in plenty of events and crossovers, both of the sweeping, Marvel Universe-wide variety (the Venom symbiote was a souvenir) and within his own personal corner of the fictional world (like all 14 parts of "Maximum Carnage").


This is the first such story for Superior Spider-Man, but Doctor Octopus Classic was a part of 1984-1985's , where he was one of many villains transported to the Beyonder's Battleworld. Ock encountered Ultron in that same story, albeit an Ultron under the control of another megalomaniacal doctor, Victor Von Doom.

"We’ve all seen Peter Parker as Spider-Man facing an end-of-the-world scenario," writer Christos Gage told <a href= ></a>. "We’ve never seen Doc Ock — well, not from this side of things; he’s always been the one trying to cause it!"

Doc Ock has been at the center of several major multichapter Spidey tales, like the six-part early '90s stories "Return of the Sinister Six" and "Revenge of the Sinister Six," plus 2012's "Ends of the Earth," which led directly to the current Spidey status quo (and, as it turns out, also ran for six issues).



"He's in the first couple of issues pretty extensively," Age of Ultron editor and Marvel senior vice president of publishing Tom Brevoort told Newsarama. "If you're looking for Spider-Man stuff, there's a decent chunk in the first three for sure, and in the tie-in issue."

That tie-in issue is the one-shot , written by Gage and illustrated by Dexter Soy, scheduled out later this month. It's poised to explore the awkward position Otto finds himself in — working to save the world he's threatened on numerous occasions.

"All of a sudden he's on the other side, trying to stop it," Gage said to "What’s that like for him? Is he better equipped to handle the situation, or worse?"

While it seems apparent that the major developments in this saga will happen within the twice-monthly , it looks like Marvel is keen in exploring the intersection of two concurrent unique situations: Age of Ultron's rampant destruction and Doc Ock residing in Spider-Man's body.


"It's a different sort of place to put a character like that in," Brevoort said. "Presumably, Doc Ock was around and lived through, pick whatever event story that we did in the past. You just didn't really see him."

"Here, you've essentially got a Doctor Octopus who has cheated death," Brevoort continued. "Who has gotten a second lease on life, and is sort of trying to find a way to be a better person. And now suddenly, a bomb has gone off, and somebody has pretty much blown up his entire future. He's going to respond to that very differently, perhaps, than Peter Parker would, and it's going to strike him a different way, even maybe than you'd think a Doc Ock would. It's very specific for him. This is like a guy that won the lottery and then got hit by a car."

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