In Case You Missed It #1

The Column in which Jake tells you to pick up a comic, all you need to know in order to catch-up, and why you should be doing just that. All comics detailed can and should be purchased from your local comics retailer or Comixology

Superior Spider-man Part 1: The Buildup

The death of Peter Parker in the main Marvel U was the best thing to happen to superhero comics in a good long while. 
Keep that sentence in your mind for a good long while because it’s going to take me about 4 of these to come back around to it.  Let me quickly silence cries of “Parker-hater” and “Otto-phile,” among the myriad of other epithets you are about to sling my way (Quick to anger, you lot are).  I am a huge Peter Parker fan.  Some of my earliest memories come from watching the Spider-man Saturday morning cartoon (the 90s one, not the 60s.  I’m not Charlie).  Any time I read the words “Mary Jane,” I can only here the voice of Christopher Daniel Barnes screaming it in my ear. Spider-man was the first comic I ever bought.  I was young and I don’t really remember what happened but I know he fought the Sandman and the cover was awesome.  The point is Peter Parker to me is personally, my favorite superhero (comic character is another issue).  So it’s a big deal when I say that him dying was the best thing to happen to super hero comics in a long while.

You may be asking yourself, “The hell is this guy talking about?  Peter Parker’s dead?”  Fear not, I’m going to catch you up.  That’s why this is going to take multiple parts.  Let’s start with Amazing Spider-man #600. 
Peter sure is all tangled up with Ock, ain’t he? 

So #600.  Hold on, I should explain something before we go forward.  Part of what will make this article fun (easy) for me and fun (frustrating) for you is that I’m not really going to do any fact checking.  Because that’s far too responsible.  I like to think my comic knowledge, specifically Marvel knowledge, is akin to encyclopedic but akin just isn’t “is,” is it?  Think Max Landis’s History of the Robins or Vague Recollections of Watchmen.  Only without the clever visual representation.  Or the clever humor.  Got it? We all understand the rules or at least as close as we’re ever get?  Good enough.

So #600.  In this story all the machines in New York have been taken over by Doc Ock.  Because Marvel’s decided to upgrade just how much of a genius he actually is and has him controlling all the technology in Manhattan the same way he’s been controlling his robo-arms (I think.  Just imagine there’s an “I think” after every sentence from here on out).   Y’see, old Otto is dying.  Turns out, throughout his illustrious criminal career, Doc Ock got thrashed in the head several times over, most often by a certain someone with the proportionate strength and speed of a spider.  Such pulverizing performances of pugilism have given him…brain cancer or mortal head trauma or something.  See, this is me not checking my facts.  Isn’t this fun?

Where were we? Ah yes, after watching “The Room” one too many times, Doc Ock’s subsequent brain injury has left him now with less than a year to live.  So, with that in mind, Doc Ock, skewing from the Last Laugh, realizes all his criminal enterprises have been for naught and resolves to leave his lasting mark upon the world by helping people.  Because that’s originally what Doctor Otto Octavius was trying to do before the experiment went terribly wrong and left him possessed by a demon. 

No.  Wait.  That’s not right.

Unfortunately, Ock’s idea of helping people is forcibly taking over all of the tech in New York in Big Brother-esque fashion.  Because, to no one’s surprise, egotistical scientist Otto Octavius is a bit of a fascist (this is Jake using big words he doesn’t fully understand).  After strapping on a sinister new costume/coffin to shield his dying body, Ock does just that.  And, for a bit, it looks like it’s all gonna work out.  Spoiler Alert: it doesn’t.  Turns out Otto can’t get over his irrational (read: somewhat rational) hatred of Spider-man and his attempts to end the wall crawler putting innocent lives at risk.  Fortunately, Spidey and the Human Torch team up to stop him.  Otto gets away, as comic supervillains, as opposed to movie supervillains, are wont to do.

Let’s do a bit of backtracking.  I know, I know, you scream “Why?!” but it’ll be (relatively) short, I swear.  Y’see a couple years before Marvel had this big crossover event called Secret Invasion in which everyone was a Skrull and was plotting to invade the Earth in SECRET, hence the secret-y part of SECRET INVASION.  Luckily, the non-Skrulls managed to expose and murder the crap out of the wouldbe invaders.  Unluckily, one of the non-Skrulls who came out better than most was Norman Osborn, who had been made Director of the Thunderbolts program during the Civil War, which was essentially a team of villains who were authorized by SHIELD to capture (or maim and mutilate if Venom or Bullseye had any say) unregistered heroes.  Anyway, Normie managed to be the one to kill the Skrull Queen (very progressive, these Skrulls) on national TV.  Since Tony Stark totally flubbed the hell out of being Director of Shield, what with the whole alien-invasion, near-subjugation of the human race and everything, the Government decides to give Osborn a crack at the job.  Because that sounds like a good idea.  
Spoiler Alert: It doesn’t end well.

Director Osborn renames S.H.I.E.L.D. as H.A.M.M.E.R. (I’m pretty sure no one figured out what it would stand for, even Normie), gets some sweet Iron Patriot armor, and has the bad guys run the show for awhile in a thing called Dark Reign (suck it, Forever Evil).  As is the case with comics, nothing so non-standard and awesome can last and he was eventually ousted in another event called Siege (which was not nearly as awesome).  The point of all this being that Norman Osborn is now an Avengers-class villain.  He’s out of Spider-man’s wheelhouse to take on alone. 

 They were nice enough to give him the last punch though

So with that said, the Green Goblin, the man who killed Gwen Stacy, the man who made Spider-man’s career hell more so than any other villain, is now off the table.  Who can possibly step up to take the coveted spot of Spidey’s main adversary?  Well, Venom’s a great villain, but he’s not mastermind level like Gobby was.  The answer is obvious. Two words: 

 Doc Ock.  So after his defeat in #600, Doc Ock kinda skulks around in the background.  He’s got a bit part in Origin of the Species, but he doesn’t take part in phenomenal storyline combo of The Gauntlet and Grim Hunt, which featured many of Spidey’s classic foes.  Meanwhile, Dan Slott takes over as sole writer of the Spidey title.  Learn this man’s name well for he is the one to CHANGE EVERYTHING. 

 The one on the right.

So Mr. Slott realizes what every Spider fan should have years ago: Peter Parker is a scientist.  Seriously, this kid manufactured this revolutionary web formula when he was in high school and just decided to say, “Yep, that’s it. No more amazing inventions from me (Spider tracers are GPS trackers and not amazing). “  So Mr. Slott gives Peter a new job at the invention think-tank Horizon (Peter had been fired from the Bugle and blacklisted as a photographer during The Gauntlet).  Therein, Peter uses his problem-solving skills as Spider-man to create inventions for Horizon and vice versa.  He goes through some pretty cool temporary costume shifts and overall is more or less on top of his game.

Re-enter Doc Ock.  So while Slott has been establishing Peter as a legitimate brainiac, Ock has been establishing himself in the Marvel U as one of the best.  He reforms to the Sinister Six (Sandman, Electro, Mysterio, Rhino, and Chameleon(o)), and with their help he manages to outwit Reed Richards, Hank Pym, and even Tony Stark, in order to steal a specific tech from them and/or make them look like nimrods.  More importantly, they also thumped Intelligencia, a team of the self-described smartest super-villains in the Marvel U (M.O.D.O.K, Mad Thinker, Red Ghost, the Wizard etc).  Unfortunately for them, they forgot to invite Otto.  Let’s do the math here: Intellegencia is multiple (4 or 5) super-smart supervillains acting as a unit; Doc Ock is ONE super-smart supervillain with 5 goons.  And Doc Ock hands them their collective butts through a master plan.  Damn Ock, you scary.

Ocks hijinks culminate in a Spider-man arc called Ends of the Earth (which, much like the all of Slott’s run, is phenomenal.)  Remember #600 where Doc Ock told everyone he was going to help them as his last act?  Well now he’s gone global and he’s got the U.N.’s attention.  Y’see with all the crap he’s stolen and some meticulous planning, Ock’s got these satellite thingamawhatsits (mirrors? Something like that) orbiting the Earth which means he can block global warming or UV rays or something. Anyway, I’m pretty sure he’s actually asking for money this time or something villainous like that.  Point is Spidey and the Avengers don’t believe him but the U.N. isn’t so sure.  The Avengers and Spidey in a sweet Samus cosplay go toe-to-toe with Ock and the Sinister Six.  And they lose.
I’ll let that sink in a minute.
I’m not messing with you: the Sinister Six beat the Avengers.  The A-Team, not some West Coast scrubs (no offense Moony).  Well specifically they get mind-controlled by Ock’s Octobots (yeh those are a thing) but, still, it happens.  The SS only lose Electro, who’s shot into space by Thor.  Meanwhile, Spidey is left with heavy hitters like Black Widow and Silver Sable (sarcastic, not misogynistic) and even starts getting hunted by S.H.I.E.L.D. for interfering with the U.N. bureaucracy or something. Despite this, Spidey still manages to outwit Ock and save the day.  Also, its revealed that Ock’s satellites never could have helped save the world.  He was just being a super dick.  But he’s in a coma now and dying rapidly so everything’s ok. 

 Except it’s @#$%ing NOT OK AT ALL!

#698.  698. 6. 9. 8.  Dying Wish.  Peter Parker wakes up and is really happy to be Peter Parker.  Everything’s going really good.  He’s being a bit of a jerk to some two-bit thugs but sometimes Spidey’s a bit of a jerk.  Then, the Avengers show up.  Doc Ock’s awake.  And he keeps rasping two words.  Over and over.  “Peter Parker.”  Peter goes to Riker’s.  The Avengers go with him.  Everyone’s on pins and needles because this guy blackmailed the entire world and controlled all of NY’s machinery with his mind.  Spidey asks to see Ock alone.  He walks in the room.  Then this happens: 

Part 2 Coming Soon!!!

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