Let’s face it: The Superior Spider-Man only works for as long as you accept that there’s a megamaniacal supervillain who talks like Ming The Merciless on a coke bender and kills more people as Spider-Man than he did with his pre-body switch Death Satellites pretending to be Peter Parker… without anyone noticing. Including the readers. I have been able to suspend my disbelief on my that plot point for a while, but the entire time I have been reading this book, I have known in the back of my mind that if I called someone a “dolt” more than three times in a month, my friends would demand to know what was wrong… and if I used the term “pilfering parasite” more than once in, well, ever, my own parents would hold me at pitchfork-point until the DNA results came back clean.
The cracks in this whole Doc-Ock-As-Spider-Man conceit are already beginning to show. In the current Marvel crossover event Age of Ultron, which was written by Brian Michael Bendis months ago, Spider-Man is pretty clearly Peter Parker… which caused writer Dan Slott to have to produce last week’s The Superior Spider-Man #6AU (AU for “Age of Ultron”), which tried valiantly to shoehorn Ock’s version of Spider-Man into the event… even though only a reader who uses the cover of an issue of Age of Ultron to roll a fat one would believe that Otto Octavius has a wisecrack in him that doesn’t include the word “pusillanimous.”
Thankfully, Slott seems to know the limitations of the body-switching gag. Because just over three months into the whole deal, he is simultaneously showing Peter beginning to show a modicum of control over his Otto-infested body, and Spider-Man’s teammates on The Avengers are finally convinced that something isn’t right with the guy. And while all this is happening with what feels like a fairly contrived situation just to show the extent of Doc Ock’s newly-found moral relativism, it’s good to finally see the noose tightening on this whole gimmick.