Peter Parker has always been my favorite comic book character. Not Spider-Man, mind you, Peter Parker. Yes, Pete has the proportionate strength and agility of a spider, but it’s not his powers that make him cool, it’s his personality. When Spider-Man isn’t Peter, I’m just not interested. Ben Reilly, Miguel O’Hara, Miles Morales, Otto Octavius…I’m just not interested.
I haven’t been reading Superior Spider-Man for specifically that reason. I bet Dan Slott’s making some pretty good stories, because I’ve enjoyed almost everything he’s done, but I just don’t care. I have no idea what’s going on in the title aside from the advanced solicitations like the one to the left. But I think I figured out what the whole point of replacing Pete with Doc Ock.
Peter’s had it way too easy over the last few years. Sure, he had to give up his marriage with Mary Jane to Mephisto in order to save Aunt May’s life, but what else has really gone wrong? He’s become a respected hero as a member of the Avengers and the FF. He’s got his dream job working as an inventor at Horizon Labs. He has unlimited resources at his disposal, so he doesn’t have to worry about making rent on his sweet penthouse apartment, running out of web fluid or not having the tech necessary to take on anybody in his rogues gallery. He’s banged Black Cat and a sexy/nerdy police investigator, and it turns out his years-long relationship with MJ wasn’t blinked out of existence, only their marriage certificate was. Aunt May is happy and safe, his secret ID is well-protected…does this sound like Spider-Man to any of you?
And that’s what Superior Spider-Man is about. Pete will be back, it’s only a matter of time. But during that time, Do Ock is going to unintentionally bring Pete’s life back to what it was: one of heartbreak and regret and loss and disappointment, with Pete struggling to hold his personal and work lives together while finding the time to fulfill that great responsibility that comes along with his great power.
As of Superior Spider-Man #7, Spider-Man has been fired from the Avengers. Otto has already been macking on Mary Jane again, and there’s no possible way that will work out right. How long until Otto’s ego causes him to get fired from Horizon labs? How long until JJJ re-energizes his anti-Spidey campaign now that he doesn’t have the support of the Avengers? Everything is going wrong for Spider-Man, the way it always used to, because good guy Peter isn’t in charge anymore. And when Peter comes back, he’ll be left to pick up the pieces of the life that shattered while he wasn’t in control of it.
That’s the Spider-Man I know, and that’s the Spider-Man I love. I’ll just sit back and wait for it to happen, because no doubt Peter is the man behind the mask once May 2, 2014 comes around (the release date of Amazing Spider-Man 2, and coincidentally my birthday). If this little side trip with Doc Ock is just a means to achieving that end, than I’m all for it.