[SPOILER WARNING: Contains spoilers for Superior Spider-Man #1, on sale now.]
When Otto Octavius swapped bodies with everyone’s favorite wall-crawler, he received a second chance on life, but also made it more difficult. The swap opened Octavius up to the memories of Peter Parker so by experiencing all Spider-Man’s triumphs and tragedies, Octavius learned the same lessons which drove Parker as Spider-Man: “With great power must also come great responsibility.” Before Peter passed away, Octavius vowed to follow in Parker’s footsteps as Spider-Man and as a hero. Earlier this month, readers got to experience Octavius’ initial outing as Spidey in Superior Spider-Man #1, written by Dan Slott and the first of three rotating artists, Ryan Stegman. CBR recently spoke with Slott after coming out of hiding from the recent events of Amazing Spider-Man #700 to talk about Superior Spider-Man #1, its surprise ending and his upcoming plans for the series to include the recently announce Fired storyline, which will feature the return of Cardiac. When asked why Peter Parker was revealed as a ghostly version of himself this early on compared to further down the line, Slott said, “We did it this way because no one was expecting it.
Everyone out there assumed we’d have a big reveal later. People thought we’d bring Peter back in a year’s time — or right before the next Spider-Man movie. Everyone was so savvy with how this all works that I thought the best way to keep people off their game was to just put that card on the table right from the get go. You’re all so sure it was coming — Well? Here it is! But if you think that’s all there is, get ready to be wrong.” When talking a bit about the control Peter seemed to have over his former body, Slott was coy by mentioning it was too early to assume anything, but when asked when answers will be given regarding what Parker has become, the writer mentions that will happen sooner than later. “Because remember, the last time we saw Peter — even though he wasn’t passing away in the best circumstances — he was kind of at peace knowing he was leaving the world to an Otto Octavius who’d be a hero instead of a villain,” says Slott.
“That was Amazing Spider-Man #700. Then cut to the end of Superior Spider-Man #1 — and when Otto Octavius tries to kill someone, Peter is suddenly there to stop him. That’s a big change. As for how and why that’s happened? That’s part of the story. You’ll have to wait and see.” Slott also remained coy as to whether not Peter is a ghost or psychic entity by telling readers they’ll just have to read the story. When Octavius returned to rescue a cop from Boomerang’s nitro-rang after leaving his fight with the new Sinister Six, the question was asked if Peter was forcing him back and Slott just stated Octavius was probably wondering the same thing. “That incident could be seen as a hint that Peter was still around, but this is an Otto Octavius that wants to be a hero,” states the writer. “This is an Otto Octavius that realizes that he’s thrown away most of his life on villainy He wants a second chance, but being a hero is great in theory… and something completely different when you actually have to do it.”
Slott then related to Octavius’ behavior to a New Year’s resolution where everyone always has the best intentions, but reneges later down the road. “There’s a world of difference from that big, wonderful moment when we make our grand oaths — and the day-to-day discipline of following through with them,” Slott states. “If following your dreams and making major life changes were easy — we’d be living in a world chock-full of Nobel Prize winning, altruistic tri-athletes. Good intentions only get you so far.” Focus was then moved towards the New Sinister Six and as to why they were picked with Slott saying, “I wanted a team that when they started running around calling themselves the Sinister Six — and Otto heard — he’d immediately think, ‘HOW DARE THEY TRY TO CARRY ON IN MY NAME!’ And the sweetest part would be Otto’s inability to see the irony of the ‘Superior’ Spider-Man thinking that.” Also according to Slott, Octavius will be doing his best as Spider-Man but in a very “Doc Ock way.” As for Octavius working at Horizon Labs, the writer states it’s the best place for him to work but, he’s not used to a boss.
“He’s not used to being the middle cog,” states Slott. “Doc Ock usually runs the show, but now he has to report to people. That’s very frustrating for him.” In regards to the relationship between Octavius and Mary Jane, the writer mentions it will be started in issue #2…especially after the dinner scene where readers suspect MJ may have caught onto something. “It’s easy to pick up on the clues when we are in on the secret,” Slott says. “We wonder why the characters don’t see it. But it’s going to take them a while to go to this crazy place. Because every day they’re seeing someone who looks and sounds like Peter. All of the stuff they’re used to is still there. So it’s kind of a strange leap to go, ‘He’s been mind swapped!’ That’s not the first place you go to. It might be easier to go – ‘He’s still rattled by Silver Sable’s death.’ Or ‘That time he crossed a line and tried to kill the Lizard.’ Or ‘When his Aunt almost died in that plane crash.’ Or “’When he was kidnapped and tied up by the Kingpin.’”
Slott then started talking about Ryan Stegman and gave the artist praise with him hitting every issue “out of the park.” “We’ve been joking because we’re all so stunned by the pages we keep saying to him, ‘This is the book that’s going to make you a rock star,’” the writer jokes. “ The words rock star seem to get used every time he turns in a page. I can’t wait for people to see more of his work. This is the book that’s going to make people sit up and take notice of Ryan Stegman. This is a game changer for him and he’s totally owned it. He’s doing an amazing job.” Initially, the series will only be one-shot stories each issue until Giuseppe Camuncoli starts his artist rotation. From that point, the first two-parter will be introduced and Massacre will be the first larger story. If readers are worried about the humor and fun usually implemented within the Spidey Universe, Slott guarantees it will still be seen. “Doc is not prone to… silliness or wackiness,” says Slott.
“He does have a sense of humor, though. It’s just a very mean and petty sense of humor. The Jester and Screwball story is the first time where Doc faces somebody who’s more Spider-Man-like than… well… he is. He’s up against two witty, wacky characters. Usually if Spidey was up against these guys he’d be cracking jokes and being funnier than them. That’s not the case this time. Otto just doesn’t have that gear in his gearshift.” The discussion then moved toward the Fired storyline and talked about how Octavius interacts with the Marvel Universe, but its mostly going to be dealt with in Avenging Spider-Man. As for his role on the Avengers, “So Doc Ock’s behavior as Spider-Man has angered the Avengers and they’re going to boot him off. Or will they,” asks Slott. “Think about all the people they have on the Avengers. Wolverine is on the Avengers. He kills like 12 people a week. You’ve got Thor on the Avengers. How long can he go without smiting somebody? And you’re going to kick the Superior Spider-Man off the team because he’s a jerk?”
The upcoming Fired story arc plans to be a two-part story which will feature both the Avengers and Cardiac who has a small, but vocal group of fans. “I think of him more as a Robin Hood,” Slott states. “He’s out there fighting for the little guy and, very specifically, for people who have been screwed over by the medical system. Whether it’s the insurance companies screwing someone over — or the FDA for not approving a certain drug — Cardiac is the guy who thinks he’s the answer.” Although most people aren’t happy with Slott’s direction on everyone’s favorite web-slinger, he’s still a great writer with a vast knowledge of Spider-Man so it’ll be interesting to see where this goes. More than likely though, Parker will be back in his body before too long and as a long time fan, it’ll be great when it does happen.
Superior Spider-Man #2 is on sale now, and #3 arrives February 6 from Marvel Comics.