Did I ever tell you I used to be a big comic collector? I had at least 12,000+ items (maybe 15,000): comics, sci-fi stuff, movie posters, movie programs, paperback books and more. Those guys in Big Bang Theory hanging out in the comic shop, that’s pretty much how it used to be; on Wednesday’s the new comics were out and on the weekend we might pedal our bicycles to one of the comic shops nearby. But I haven’t really been active in collecting in over 20 years. For a while I still picked up a few titles and the last dozen years I haven’t really read much at all; some Neil Gaiman stuff, a few recommendations (Invincible, Alias), and whatever they had on free comic day.
But there was a lot of talk on-line as the Amazing Spider-Man was reaching issue 700, so I started reading it. Be warned, huge spoilers follow: The short version is that Doctor Octopus was dying and he managed to swap his mind for Peter Parker’s mind (you do know that PP is the secret identity of Spider-Man?) but here’s the problem: before Peter could figure out how to swap back minds, Doc Ock’s body dies and Otto Octavious’s mind is in Peter Parker’s body (in Spider-man’s body). He is the new Spider-man and no one knows it!
I thought this was the dumbest thing ever, it’s not going to be any good and you know in a year or two somehow Peter is going to come back (somehow). This transitioned into a new title, the egotistically titled “Superior Spider-Man“, where Doc Ock decides he’ll “do it”, he would become a superior Spider-Man. I have to tell you, my doubts were banished and I thought this was a excellent story. Actually, I thought it was excellent until they revealed at the very end that Peter’s mind was still in there and I thought “argh! this was great and they ruined it”, but I was wrong again. It’s been five issues now and it has been excellent. Think of all the things you see in a movie (or a comic book) and think “why are they doing that?” and “why don’t they…?”, well this new Spider-Man does many things differently than the old Spider-Man and it’s working.
You need to remember, Spider-Man / Peter Parker is the “With great power comes great responsibility” guy (actually his Uncle Ben taught him that, the hard way), he takes this seriously and has always been “amazing”. But here’s the thing, Doc Ock is not only a “Superior” Spider-Man, in many ways he’s a being a better Peter Parker too. He’s not perfect, but he’s working pretty good on making his Peter a better Peter. It’s interesting the way that he does things, he’s as smart as Peter (maybe more) but it’s really the way he thinks (and that he has to pretend to be Peter) that gives him different insight into the roll.
At some point, I believe, Peter Parker will be back and it will make for some interesting adjustments for him. I don’t think I’m going to say much more about the current story, maybe you’ll want to read it yourself. (If you can’t find the issues at your local shop or find some kid to lend them to you, you can pre-order it from Amazon in The Superior Spider-Man, (Vol. 1: My Own Worst Enemy) trade paperback.)
The comments of this post are allowed to have spoilers (even more than I’ve revealed above) so if you feel like commenting…