Well Marvel recently caused quite a media frenzy with the “leaked” story plot points from the 700th issue of The Amazing Spider-Man eh? To save me from having to go through the story point by point, here it is a nutshell. Peter Parker’s mind is swapped with a dying Doctor Octopus. Peter is now in the dying body of Doc Ock and Doc Ock is the young, super hero body of Peter Parker. Peter dies in the issue and Doc Ock, who now has all of Peter’s memories and also experienced all the heart wrenching issues Peter had, decides to carry on as Spider-Man but to be a superior hero than Peter ever was.
This has many Spider-Man fans threatening to drop all Marvel books until this has been all addressed and Peter once again with the mantle of Spider-Man. While I can understand their feelings (My favorite character is Thor and he “died” twice due to his book being cancelled) I also think that there is a chance for some truly amazing and unique stories with the status quo as it is.
The chance to see Doc Ock struggling to do the right thing as a hero, to see him come to terms with how difficult a life Peter actually had in balancing everything and the chance to see Spider-Man have more of an “edge” than he had previously. These are all things that can be explored and not just evolve Doc Ock but also the mythos of Spider-Man.
The truth is, Spider-Man has needed a major change for the past few years. The character and his stories have become so convoluted, there had to be a major change to shake things up. There have been times in the past when a new person has stepped into a hero’s mantle and freshened up the book.
Here are some of my favorite examples:
I used to be a huge Batman fan growing up but something happened….I found the character becoming stale. That all changed with the introduction of the villain named Bane and the anti-hero Azrael. When Bane broke Bruce Wayne/Batman’s back, there was similar outrage from the fans of the character and DC Comics. That outrage grew significantly when Jean-Paul Valley not just received the cape cowl but reworked it into something new……and more deadly. “Az-bats”, as the fans dubbed him, would cross lines and do things that Bruce Wayne would never do as he did not have that same moral code. Jean-Paul was programmed mentally since birth to be a killer and that system would overtake him when he wore his costume. To be completely honest, once Jean-Paul was removed from Batman, my interest waned in the book big time.
After Thor killed Loki, Odin banished Thor but realized that Asgard and Midgard still needed a protector, so he passed Mjolnir and the powers of Thor to human Eric Masterson. Now Eric had previously had his essence merged with Thor’s,kind of like a secret identity, to save Masterson’s life. So he had experienced what it was like to be a Thunder God but this was different as he was now in control of the power directly. He did not gain Thor’s previous battle experience or comfort level with his powers and it was a difficult transition for Eric to be “Thor.” He did eventually get the hang of it and also tweaked the classic Thor costume to be a bit more modern and added the masked helmet from Thor’s battle armor. It was very entertaining to see how Eric struggled with wielding tremendous power, the enchanted hammer Mjolnir and the weight of Thor’s shadow.
So this is not the first time that Marvel tried to shake things up with Spider-Man and freshen up his world but hopefully at some point people will not influence the story arc. The last time this happened, Ben Reilly ( a clone of Peter Parker) was revealed to be the real Peter Parker. Fans howled in protest at the thought that the Peter that we had been reading about all these years was not the real one. This caused Marvel to panic and they shoehorned an ending to the arc that contradicted everything that had happened in the arc previously. Go to this blog and scroll down the page to see how the original story was supposed to play out. It is a shame that Marvel had knuckled under the pressure and failed to see the story through as it really sounded like it was an interesting idea.
I am seriously hoping that Marvel sticks with this new idea for a little while, as it allows them the opportunity to put this Spider-Man in situations that they could not let Peter Parker enter in to. Yes it will be difficult to win fans over but it is possible if the stories are good. That is the key really, for if the stories are good I truly believe that the fans will get behind the character.
I am willing to give the Superior Spider-Man a chance.
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