Doctor Octopus: Who is the Superior Spider-Man?

The Die is Cast

Otto Octavius: “I survived. And more to the point, I have improved. I am now one with my arms. Oh, you failed, Spider-Man! And your failure has given me new life.
Norman Osborn: “Otto…
Otto Octavius: “Otto Octavius was weak. Call me… Doctor Octopus!

The Spectacular Spider-Man “Reactions” (Season 1, Episode 8)

A SWAT team gathers near a door. A tip has led them to a derelict factory that has been repurposed into a supervillain’s lair. With no ID on the villain, they open the door and toss in a flashbang grenade. As they take cover, the grenade is thrown back at the team and explodes, stunning them.

Four tentacles emerge from the door and yank their guns away. One of the tentacles crushes an officer’s head against a wall. A second impales a cop. Two more wrap around a third officer and snap his neck. Three bodies simultaneously hit the floor. The final officer sees his assailant as four tendrils envelop his limbs. Doctor Octopus gives the officer a dismissive glare as his tentacles quarter the intruder.

Doctor Octopus is one of Spider-Man’s greatest enemies, rivaled only by the Green Goblin for the title of archnemesis. He is one of the smartest people in the Marvel universe, has defeated some of the most powerful Avengers, and has explored the multiverse. So who is he? Why does he have four metal arms? Why is he the Superior Spider-Man? Let’s find out.

Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Doctor Octopus’ Backstory

Dr. Octopus:Glib.. does not… equate… with clever, Spider-Man!
Spider-Man: “Yeah, well, the ratio of arms to sanity hasn’t exactly been established either.
Dr. Octopus: “Do you ever shut up!?
Spider-Man: “Sorry, no. My fans expect a certain amount of quippage in every battle.

The Spectacular Spider-Man “Reactions” (Season 1, Episode 8)

Doctor Octopus debuted in The Amazing Spider-Man #3 in 1963. He was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

Even as a child, Otto Octavius knew that he was superior. Smarter than his abusive father, braver than his battered mother, and more capable than the mindless peons surrounding him. He excelled in school and grew up to be a respected nuclear physicist and lecturer.

Doctor Octavius’ magnum opus was inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s painting The Vitruvian Man. He devised a harness connected to a quartet of metal tentacles that could manipulate dangerous chemicals and radioactive materials. The harness fused with his spine in a lab accident, and his brain re-wired itself to control the new appendages.

The accident and neural rewiring drove Otto berserk, leading him to hold hostage the hospital where he was a patient. He began to call himself Doctor Octopus, repurposing a name that his colleagues had mocked him with. Spider-Man defeated Doctor Octopus, leaving the now disgraced scientist to seek revenge.

Doc Ock started robbing banks to fund his experiments and lure Spider-Man into fights. He has tried everything from gang warfare to terrorism in order to eliminate the wall crawler. On one notable occasion, he even attempted to marry Aunt May to steal a nuclear facility she had unknowingly inherited.

Ends of The Earth: Doctor Octopus’ History

Doctor Octopus:P-Peter… Parker.
Spider-Man: [unmasking] “Yes. I’m Peter Parker.
Doctor Octopus:No… I’m Peter Parker.
Otto Octavius: [in Peter’s body] “Not anymore, Spider-Man.

Spider-Man: Dying Wish

Doctor Octopus is tough, but his battles with Spider-Man took their toll. Realizing that he was dying, he began a final plan to defeat the arachnid in the event Ends of the Earth

Doctor Octopus formed a new incarnation of the Sinister Six, hijacked several satellites, and used them to simulate an Earth without an ozone layer. Pleading for a chance to redeem himself, Doc Ock convinced the UN to support his satellite network, which would supposedly eliminate global warming.

Doc Ock framed Spider-Man for terrorism when the wallcrawler investigated the satellites. Spider-Man soon discovered that the anti-global warming tech would instead be used to immolate nearly everyone on Earth. If Doctor Octopus was going down, he was taking most of humanity with him. Spider-Man defeated Doc Ock, who lived his last days in a hospital.

Unbeknownst to the world, the satellite network was a diversion. Doc Ock used advanced technology to swap his mind with Spider-Man’s, leaving the hero trapped in Octavius’ decrepit, dying body while Otto took over his life. Peter Parker died, and Octavius became the Superior Spider-Man.

Superiority Complex: Doctor Octopus’ Modern Stories

Doctor Octopus:  “Farewell, Peter Parker. Know this, I will carry on in your name. You may be leaving this world, but you are not leaving it to a villain. I swear. I will be Spider-Man. Better yet, with my unparalleled genius and my boundless ambition…I’ll be a better Spider-Man than you ever were. From this day forth, I shall become… The Superior Spider-Man!

The Amazing Spider-Man #700

The Superior Spider-Man, or SpOck as fans quickly dubbed him, soon learned the hassles of Peter’s life, specifically the difficulty in juggling work, friends, and superheroics. If that wasn’t enough of a hassle, Peter Parker’s ghost began haunting SpOck.

Despite the problems, Octavius managed to turn Peter’s life around. He started a company called Parker Industries that worked on cutting edge science. Otto also began dating a coworker named Anna Maria, who kept him grounded and brought out his better qualities.

The Superior Spider-Man’s reign ended when the Green Goblin went on a rampage. Realizing that he couldn’t beat the Goblin and that Anna was in danger, SpOck erased his mind so that Peter’s ghost could regain control of the body. As he faded from existence, Doctor Octopus admitted that Peter had always been the superior Spider-Man.

A failsafe was activated by Octavius’ death. The drone that had swapped his mind into Peter’s waited for a chance to do so again. It eventually discovered a mindless clone of Peter Parker and implanted Ock’s mind. With a new superpowered body, Otto became an anti-hero. Doctor Octopus and the Superior Spider-Man are dead, but the Superior Octopus is just getting started.

Sinister Cephalopod: Doctor Octopus’ Powers and Personality

Spider-Gwen: [surrounded by enemies] “Octavius, you’re a supervillain! Haven’t you got some sort of self-destruct for this place?
Superior Octopus: I am a hero! A superior hero to any of you cretins-
Octopus:Yes, of course I do.


You wouldn’t think much of a pudgy guy with a fancy harness, but Doctor Octopus is a major threat. He is able to telekinetically manipulate his four extra arms. He can punch through solid concrete, deflect gunfire, and has even torn apart Iron Man’s armor. Doc Ock also has a set of tentacles made from Adamantium that is powerful enough to K.O. The Hulk and a set made from Carbonadium to weaken foes with healing factors.

As the Superior Spider-Man, he has superhuman strength, speed, agility, durability, and Spider-Senses. It took Octavius a while to master his new powers and cope with the realization that Spider-Man could have killed him at any time. As the Superior Octopus, he has all of the above powers, plus an upgraded version of his harness and arms.

Pride is the name of the game Doctor Octopus plays. Nothing irritates him more than people he considers less intelligent (read: everyone) mocking him or his work. Doctor Octopus is a charismatic leader and expert tactician when he reins in his arrogance and ruthlessness.

The Actors Who Play Doctor Octopus

Vernon Chapman – Spider-Man (1967)
Stanley Jones – Spider-Man (1981)
Michael Bell – The Incredible Hulk/Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. – Spider-Man the Animated Series
Peter MacNicol – The Spectacular Spider-Man
Tom Kenny – Ultimate Spider-Man/Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.
Scott Menville – Marvel’s Spider-Man
Alfred Molina – Spider-Man 2
Kathryn Hahn – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Didya Get All That?

Spider or Octopus, he’s happy as long as he has eight limbs.

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