Part of Marvel Comics' Marvel NOW initiative, Superior Spider-Man is a Spider-Man series released in January 2013, taking the place of Amazing Spider-Man. After the events of the 700th and final issue of Amazing Spider-Man, Peter Parker and Dr. Octopus have switched bodies and Peter dies in the body of Dr Otto Octavius, but not before forcing him to relive Peter's life and force a Heel-Face Turn. Now there is a new Spider-Man in town—smarter, stronger, and SUPERIOR.The title ended in April of 2014, after which Peter Parker retakes his body and resumes his normal operations to a degree in a new The Amazing Spider-Man title, just in time for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, however, two more issues are released in August and September taking place in a time travel interval during issue 19, setting the stage for Spider-Verse in which Otto is set to play a significant part.
All storylines are written by Dan Slott.
Troubled Mind (No. 7-9) - Octavius has a lot of problems on his mind: the Avengers are worried about their friend Spider-Man, Cardiac is on the move again and, oh, yeah, Ghost-Peter is active in his mind. Time to clear his head of those problems.
No Escape (No. 11-13 — with Christos Gage) - Alistaire Smythe, the Spider-Slayer, is set to be executed for causing the death of Mayor Jameson's wife Marla. However, the madman isn't ready to go just yet and to stop him, Otto'll need to pull some smooth moves.
Run, Goblin, Run (No. 15-16) - Phil Urich, the Hobgoblin, is back in town and Otto's actions are set to make him a deadlier foe.
Necessary Evil (No. 17-19) - Miguel O'Hara, Spider-Man 2099, is sent back into the past to save his timeline. Will Otto's actions save him or will it send the Marvel Universe into a darker path?
Darkest Hours (No. 22-25 — with Christos Gage) - Flash Thompson, Agent Venom, is back in New York. However, no one told Otto that Flash is on the side of the angels, and he sees something even better with the Venom Symbiote. Something... superior.
Goblin Nation (No. 26-31, including prelude chapter) - The Green Goblin's army rises to claim New York City as its own. With New York hating Spider-Man for his recent actions, Otto can only watch as everything he's built is torn down. There's only one man who can stop this madness, and he's simply Amazing.
Edge of Spider-Verse (No. 32-33) - The untold story of Otto's missing time during Necessary Evil. Escaping from the far-flung future of 2099, Otto discovers that a new threat is attacking alternate Spider-Men. Can he and a ragtag group of web-slingers save the day?
Tropes used in The Superior Spider-Man include:
Alas, Poor Villain: When Otto deletes himself to give Spider-Man his body back. Peter clearly has some pity towards him, even after all that Otto has done.
Anti-Climax: In a sense, Issue #30. A lot of people were hoping that Ghost-Peter would get a rematch against SpOck to smack the Supervillain out of his body. Ghost-Peter even says that he's ready for round two to Otto's face. So, what does Otto do? He simply gives up and takes Peter to Parker Industries so he can get his body back, all while Otto is erased. What's particularly odd is that previous issues seemed to be building up to a showdown between the characters, but at the least there's still the Goblin King to deal with. However, it's obvious to see that Otto was reaching a Villainous Breakdown of epic proportions by that point.
Anti-Hero/Anti-Hero Substitute: The new Spider-Man is the formerly villainous Doc Ock's mind in Peter Parker's body, who's also not above killing villains, starting with Massacre. To the point that Frank Castle, the Punisher himself, approves. In addition, he's not so much on board with the "Great Power and Great Responsibility" mantra. Part of his reason for being a hero is to do it better than the original and leave behind a greater legacy.
Anti-Villain: Otto's motives are partially heroic (with great power comes great responsibility) and partially selfish (he wants to make sure everybody knows he's "superior" to Peter). He's also not above beating the tar out of anyone he faces, be they hero or villain.
Norah: Urich, you total *@%$! You drink my last beer, make me watch Expendables 2, and now this? We are so done!
Attention Whore: Otto's goal is to leave behind a legacy, and the steps he's taking aren't half-assed.
The Atoner: Otto takes up Peter's mantle as Spider-Man to atone for his deeds as Doctor Octopus but also to prove that he is 'superior' to Peter.
He views his relationship with Aunt May as this. After marrying her to gain her inheritance long ago, Otto tries to make it up to her by spending more time with her as her nephew than Peter ever did.
He later erases his own memories so that Peter wouldn't have any distractions, leaving only Peter behind.
Asshole Victim: The bullies that were picking on Anna Marconi for being a little person. Sure what Otto did was Disproportionate Retribution, but those guys were hardly innocents. Same goes for many of the bad guys that Otto has beaten up or killed.
In Issue #9, Doc Ock battles Spidey inside his mind and defeats him by delivering a stinging What the Hell, Hero? by pointing out that the villains he put away earlier came back doing even worse, ending in taking Peter to task to the fact that he nearly allowed a little girl to die just so Octavius couldn't find him in a Moment of Weakness. In the end, a defeated Peter can only watch in horror as Ock seemingly erases him.
In the end, this trope no longer applies, not because Peter defeats Ock, but because Ock gives up after a Heel Realization over what he has done.
Tiberius Stone got away with everything he had done in Issue #19, including ruining Horizon and killing Spider-Man (temporarily).
Bait the Dog: Initial stories in the comic make it seem like Otto is willing to change to become a better person. However, later developments in the story indicate that he's a particularly unflinching (and hypocritical) Well-Intentioned Extremist that is willing to use methods Not So Different from his stint as a villain.
Battle Butler/Robot Buddy: The Living Brain, a Killer Robot battled twice by Spider-Man early in his career, reappears as a member of the wannabe Sinister Six. After defeating it, Otto reprograms it to be his assistant.
Averted in their rematch. Peter is ready for round two, but Otto simply gives up instead of fighting.
Becoming the Mask: In an attempt to bide his time, Ghost-Peter hides in Otto's memories, living through his enemy's entirelife until he completely forgets that he isn't Otto Octavius. It continues until the point where Peter-in-Otto died and he received all the memories he gave Otto to do a Heel-Face Turn, at which point Ghost-Peter realizes that he's the genuine article.
Bed Trick: Otto and Anna Maria. Anna Maria had no idea it was not the real Peter Parker. Although she had never met Peter prior and Word Of God is that it's Otto she fell for.
Big Brother Is Watching: Otto has set up numerous robotic spider drones to patrol the city, allowing him to watch over everything and determine which threats to deal with and which ones to ignore. Also to spy on people, like the CEO who hired Massacre.
Insecurity Camera: Not that it stops the Goblin King from hacking them to include a "Goblin Protocol" so that anyone with a Goblin tattoo or mask is ignored by Otto's bots.
Bittersweet Ending: Peter gets back his body, reconciles with Spider-Man 2099, the Avengers, Aunt May and Jameson Sr., stops the Green Goblin and saves Anna Marie, but learns that Anna did love SpOck, J. Jonah Jameson retires as mayor after the Spider-Slayer incident and Carlie and MJ get tired of being targets for Peter's enemies. Carlie even leaves New York altogether. Even worse, Liz Allan seems to be working for Norman Osborn to help him establish a new identity, now that his identity as the Green Goblin is no longer a secret, and Black Cat's defeat at SpOck's hands has transformed her into a revenge-obsessed psychopath. Still, even after all that's happened, he can't help but feel sorry for poor Doc Ock.
Break the Haughty: Otto does not take his own failures well. Especially with his loss of the Venom symbiote, which ends with him being interrogated by the Avengers and childishly quitting the team. The entire "Goblin Nation" war in New York finally succeeds in breaking him completely, causing him to commit Heroic Suicide so Peter can fix his mistakes, since he knows he's not able to fix them himself.
Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Otto successfully erases Ghost-Peter from his mind... but that has the unfortunate effect of erasing all the memories of Peter Parker, which was the main way he managed to pass as Peter in first place, making his job as a vigilante much harder than it was.
Once Otto sees Vulture — his old friend — using children to do his dirty work he flips out and realizes how bad a person the Vulture really is.
The Avengers started to see Peter as this, following his executing of Massacre - Wolverine makes the point that all of them have done something similar at one point or another. Once he brutally beats Jester & Screwball into a bloody mess, however, Wolverine agrees that the Avengers need to deal with him.
Kaine sees Peter as this as well.
Add MJ and Max Modell to that list too.
And now, we add Black Cat and J. Jonah Jameson into the mix.
And Flash Thompson and Spider-Man 2099 as well. It's pretty safe to say that Otto has been on one hell of a bridge-burning spree.
In the end, some of those are rebuilt, but not all - Captain America's still suspicious of Spidey's attitude and when Spidey drops in on Iceman and Firestar, Iceman's still sore over the incident with Wolverine early in the event.
Call Back: When Spider-Man uses his webbing to save Anna Marie from a fall, he comments that he improved on that skill so he won't have to "relive old nightmares".
Changed My Mind, Kid: Even though Peter technically never quit the Avengers (though "Peter" did), Peter races in to aid the Avengers in taking back New York, Captain America points out that he quit. Peter's response? "I did? Like I would ever do that. You know what they say: 'Once an Avenger...'"
Stunner's virtual reality equipment which is used by Otto to blackmail his colleague into revoking the plagiarism claims of his work.
Peter giving Octavius his memories back in Amazing #700. It ends up being what brings Peter back in full.
Otto is caught in a temporal explosion and goes missing for nine hours. This is a set-up for Spider-Verse in which Otto finds himself in the year 2099.
Chekhov's Gunman: Mason Banks, who mostly appears in the background with Liz Allan, is revealed to be Norman Osborn in disguise.
The Chessmaster: The Goblin King spends most of the series quietly amassing an army of the thugs and henchmen that Otto lets slip through the cracks, before finally declaring war in the final arc.
Comes Great Responsibility: Early on, Otto takes this idea up from Peter. This is later subverted as he takes more extreme stances on crime along with a Never My Fault mentality. It takes the Goblin King to take everything from him to get him to realize why Peter went this way.
Covers Always Lie: With the cover to Issue #20, you would think that Black Cat would play a significant role in the story and have a small romance with Otto. Instead, he just punches her in the face after meeting her, webs her up, and leaves her confused, bitter, and really pissed off, for the cops.
Crazy Enough to Work: When Spidey attempts to reconcile with Miguel during the finale, he uses the whole "Doc Ock hijacked my body" spiel. Miguel points out that it's so stupid that it has to be true and buddies up with him.
The Kingpin has a Body Double whose only purpose is to sit around until he needs to fake his own death by killing the double and leaving the body to be found by the authorities. Furthermore, his double had his code genetically altered to match Kingpin's exactly, in order to convince everyone that the body really is him.
Otto is this in regards to fighting Spider-Man's enemies. When preparing to fight Carnage, he equips his Spiderlings with sonic emitters, and arms himself with a wrist-mounted flamethrower to kill Agent Venom.
Darker and Edgier: The new Spider-Man is a dangerous and self-serious Anti-Hero, a far cry from the fun and quippy original. Then Spider-Man executes Massacre and the Spider-Slayer, after he beats Boomerang, Screwball, and Jester to near death.
Demoted to Extra: Mary Jane, one of the most prominent characters in Spider-Man's entire mythos, is given a backseat in most of the action and is barely involved in any of the plots, to the point where she largely interacts with Peter via phone messages, and one of her biggest story arcs revolved around whether or not she listened to a message on her cell. Many other established supporting characters in Spider-Man's world have also been shuffled offstage.
Dirty Old Man: Otto initially comes off as this, leering at MJ's cleavage during a dinner date.
Otto: Is that really how I sound? Like an underwater walrus.
Do Not Adjust Your Set: Otto hacks all the displays in New York to tell the citizens to be on the lookout for Phil Urich, the man behind the Hobgoblin costume. He even shows pictures of the two to make sure.
Also, Stunner trying to kill Spider-Man for killing her beloved Otto... do we really need to say it?
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #7 has SpOck trying to talk Sandman out of going berserk, only for Sandman to reveal that he'd used to believe in Spider-Man... but that Doctor Octopus was right all along.
Easily Forgiven: Many of Peter's friends do end up forgiving him for his asshole-ish actions, though it's shown that Mary Jane and Carlie are utterly tired of being in the crossfire of Peter's enemies.
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Phil Urich was prepared to kill everyone in the Daily Bugle with his deadly sonic laugh. He stopped when he realised he was also hurting his uncle Ben (Leaving him open to Otto's counterattack).
Evil Counterpart: The title character serves as this to Kaine, Peter's self-describedevil clone, especially as shown in their "Sibling Rivalry" Bat Family Crossover. Kaine is legitimately trying to help on his own, distinctly separate from the many heroes in New York, and does use lethal force on occasion for deliberately benevolent reasons, denying being a hero the whole way through even as he works as The Atoner. Otto instead uses lethal force as a simple means to an end instead of an unfortunate consequence, and aims to make a legacy instead of help out. Kaine even points out how much of a Broken Pedestal he is in the crossover.
Evil Gloating: Superior Spider-Man doesn't do the jokes and quips so much as the original. He tends to ramble about how brilliant he is, and how he's outthought whichever foe he's up against. It's still the trope, just being used by kinda-sorta-reformed-evil.
Evil Tastes Good: Averted. The symbiote Venom notes that Peter's taste is horrible compared to before because of Otto and quickly tries to go back to Flash.
Evil Versus Evil: As Otto slides more and more into his old habits, ways, and viewpoints, the comic quickly descends into this, making him only slightly better than the villains he fights.
Exact Words: Ock!Spider-Man asks J. Jonah Jameson to be extremely explicit when he tells the hero that he wants to make sure the Spider Slayer dies. He records it to blackmail Jameson into giving him the Raft as a superhero base.
Eye Scream: Otto ended up shattering a spotlight into Vulture's eyes, blinding him, and then mini-Spider-Slayer bots burrowed into them.
Though the latter was to restore the damage caused by the former.
Massacre gouges out one of Dr. Kafka's eyes to trick the recognition system.
Failure Hero: For all of Otto's boasting that he was the "Superior" Spider-Man, the series was a case study as to why an arrogant man like him will never be superior to Peter Parker - blackmail, murder, spying, attacking and alienating his friends and family, recklessly using his powers and smarts for personal gain all came back to bite him in the rear come the end, ultimately leaving Otto to give up and die peacefully, giving Peter back his body and memories.
Roderick Kingsley sends a brainwashed minion to fight the Green Goblin to die in his place and, having been assumed dead, escapes to Paris.
"Freaky Friday" Flip: The entire story comes out of one between Doc Ock and Peter, where Peter died in Ock's body. Alistair Smythe, the Spider-Slayer, also tried, but Otto had prevented it the same way he did it when Peter tried in Amazing 700.
From Bad to Worse: It starts out as bad when Otto tries to get rid of Peter once and for all, and he stoops lower and lower from there. And things start going bad for him once the Avengers start trailing him and the Goblin King makes his move.
Gadgeteer Genius: Every issue shows how Ock uses technology to make crime-fighting easier. In particular, his Spider-Bots, which monitor the city for him, and allow him to catch crime he would normally be unaware of.
Genre Savvy: Otto during his second fight with Cardiac.
Otto: You don't get it, do you? This is the rematch, and Spider-Man always wins the rematch.
Heel Realization: Otto realizes that the real Spider-Man was the superior one all along when the Goblin King brings everything down around him. Thus he sacrifices himself to give Peter his body back so that Spider-Man can do what Otto failed to do; protect Anna and stop bad guys the right way.
Spider-Man 2099 attempts one, deciding that a future without Alchemax is more important than his own existence. Doesn't work, however, once he realizes this could have a negative impact on his loved ones or even lead to a worse future.
Don Lamaze throws himself between Octavius and his hacked waldoes, getting speared by them. And he ends up dying, believing that the Spidey he's looking at is the real hero.
Heroic Suicide: Eventually Otto decides to just erase himself so that Peter isn't distracted while dealing with the Goblin King, killing himself since he admits that Peter Parker is the actual Superior Spider-Man.
Hero with Bad Publicity: Inverted; despite being a total douchebag at times, Otto's won over most of the police (minus Carlie Cooper and J. Jonah Jameson after Issue #13), especially after he killed Massacre. This goes so far that just about all the cops are willing to lie about him killing Massacre to Captain Watanabe in order to avoid him getting in trouble.
Of course things change as the series goes on due to his later actions, culminating to the people watching the Venom-possessed Otto fighting Captain America and finally speaking their mind how "big brother" is finally getting annoying.
He's Back: Thanks to the Venom symbiote, Ghost-Peter comes roaring back. This time, though, he's playing it safe, and keeping a low profile while he plots to fully resume control unless Ock decides to completely and utterly screw up. Eventually comes back for good when Otto gets pushed into a corner and decides to just give Peter his body back.
Peter also takes great pleasure in taunting the Goblin with this:
Otto is able to blackmail Jonah into giving him the Raft by recording his Exact Words in killing Smythe.
Otto is subject to many of these himself. According to Dan Slott, the main reason Otto's plans always failed wasn't because they were ones that Parker would have come up with, but Octavius. The events of this series really hammer that point home.
In Issue #19 his deletion of Peter's memories ends up leaving him unable to stop the destruction of Horizon, and by trying to surpass Peter he ended up caught in the blast. It would have been a permanent death, if not for Max Modell. In addition, his desperate attempt to remember something in Peter's past allowed Peter to reemerge from deep within Otto's subconscious.
In Issue #25 We find out that Ock had erased the files over Spider-Man's diagnostics way back in issue #7... except for the security camera installed by Iron Man, who was Properly Paranoid thanks to Secret Invasion.
Issue #28, we find out that the police are looking for Carlie and Peter's the prime suspect in her disappearance since he was the last one to be really seen with her.
How is the Goblin King finally defeated? Spidey pulling off his mask, defeating the "Goblin Protocol" that allowed him to evade detection.
Holding Back the Phlebotinum: One of the reasons this storyline lasted as long as it did, beyond the complained usage of Idiot Ball, is the fact that the storyline happened during a time where a number of big-name heroes and characters who would have blown the lid off of this almost immediately are taken out of the picture through their own storylines, such as Avengers vs. X-Men, the then-current run of Fantastic Four and the Iron Man storyline "The Secret Origin of Tony Stark". A conversation with the Human Torch in the rebooted Amazing Spider-Man comic confirms this.
At the start of Issue #1, Otto swears to become a hero and leave his past behind. A couple of pages later, he gets quite angry at the "unmitigated gall" of a bunch of C-List villains using the name of "his" old group, the Sinister Six.
Otto constantly brags how he's a Superior Spider-Man to Peter. He's also the guy who called the X-Men arrogant for using superior in homo superior.
Throughout the Ends Of The Earth, Otto bemoans the fact that he's been effectively crippled by Spider-Man, even though this was because he'd been breaking the law and running into Spidey so many times instead of receiving a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown like he claimed. What does he do when he becomes Spider-Man? Deliver excessive beatings to all criminals.
One of his major arguments against Peter is that he's too selfish to be Spider-Man. Yes, this is coming from the egomaniac that's trying to Attention Whore his way to fame.
In Avenging Spider-Man he scoffs at Scott Lang's past in thievery as if he hasn't done anything as petty. In another issue, his monologue concerning the Hobgoblin is about how the villain's smugness and thoughts of being better then everyone else grates on him.
In Issue #11 he cuts himself off from doing this while going on a rant about how the Spider-Slayer couldn't be a changed man since he was a lifelong criminal and murderer... which he was up until he bodyjacked the original Spider-Man. It's for this reason, in the "Sibling Rivalry" arc, his criticism of Kaine falls short considering they've done some of the same things. He's just mad because he was killed by Kaine.
In the "Sibling Rivalry" crossover betweenSuperior Spider-Man Team-Up & Scarlet Spider, Otto complains about Kaine "stealing [his] life". Obviously, he's not really in any position to complain about people doing that.
Similarly, during the Infinity tie-in to Mighty Avengers, Otto freaks the hell out when he sees Ronin (known at the time as "Spider Hero") wearing a knock-off Spider-Man costume. He has the gall to get indignant at another hero "ripping him off" despite, y'know, having killed Peter and stolen his life.
Idiot Ball/Took a Level in Dumbass: A common complaint is that most of Peter's friends, family, and allies have become total idiots in order to keep from derailing the plot. Some people were relieved when Carlie found evidence that Otto is pretending to be Spider-Man until she gets kidnapped.
This is especially bad when you realize that Mary Jane was able to spot a fake Peter within two pages during Kraven's Last Hunt. Though to be fair, Otto has (or had) Peter's memories, which helps him keep up the facade.
Take Daredevil, Wolverine, and Captain American. All three of them have considerable history with Spider-Man. All three of them are both very experienced and very observant, two of them have enhanced senses, and Captain America is second to none when it comes to observing patterns and finding strength and weaknesses. They've all had to deal with allies who have been mind-controlled, had personalities swapped between bodies, etc. Despite repeated encounters with Otto/Spidey, none of them thought that Spider-Man's drastically altered behavior, sadistic brutality, alteration in speech patterns, completely different body language, reliance on technology to a level he'd never displayed before, unfamiliarity with people and places he should have been very familiar with, and indifference to the thoughts and feelings of others was anything other than Spidey being under stress or having a bad day. The Idiot Ball was almost worn out after this story arc, even more so than in the terminally bad One More Day/Brand New Day abominations.
This is even lampshaded in a post-Superior comic where Peter successfully manages to bluff the Black Cat into thinking Otto's still in control of his body by going into his usual brand of hammy ranting. After it's over, Peter has a "Do I Really Sound Like That?" moment and mentally wonders how not a single person could have not noticed the drastic difference in his behavior while Otto was still in charge.
Ignored Epiphany: In spite of his intelligence, Otto doesn't seem to learn from his mistakes.
It also seems this way concerning what memories Otto decided to save: Ghost-Peter realizes that many of them are memories that defined who he is, but Otto obviously doesn't make any connections, as evident when he decides the memory of Gwen Stacy's death would just merit "further study".
I Hate Past Me: After being threatened by a pre-recorded tape of himself in one of his old bases, Otto quickly decides his past self was a joke, constantly self-sabotaged by pointless vanity.
I'll Never Tell You What I'm Telling You: Superior Spider-Man, in a fight with the Spider Slayer, "lets slip" that his Spider-bots are powered by the Raft's power grid. The whole thing was a ruse to trick the Spider Slayer into going for that.
Incest Subtext: Played with at first and then dropped with Otto's relationship with Aunt May while in the body of her nephew. Otto spends a lot more time with her than Peter used to and Ghost Peter is weirded out by the implications. The annual clarified that Otto's actions were a result of him trying to A.) make up for taking advantage of her with his inheritance scheme and B.) rectifying Peter's past behavior in never spending any time with his family as opposed to any romantic intentions.
Innocent Bigot/Racist Grandma: Aunt May, upon discovering that Anna-Maria is a little person, expresses her concern over potential grandchildren being like her.
What is the first thing that destroys everything Otto has worked for? "Stealing" his own work for his doctorate thesis, putting himself, his step-uncle and co-worker in the mercy of the bank. This gets resolved with a bit of technological trickery.
The Venom symbiote jumps at the chance to rebond to its original host, but is disgusted by "Peter's" new psyche and attempt to return to Flash, only for Otto to force it to stay bonded to him.
In Issue #27, Goblin Knight (recently the previous Hobgoblin) mentions that the storming of Spider-Island is just like his storming of Shadowland... except it's Otto's turn to see how it feels to have everything come crashing down.
On more then one occasion Otto referred to his former self as "Spider-Man's greatest enemy." In the end, it took Spidey's true greatest enemy, the Goblin, to destroy everything Otto worked for.
In the early days of Spider-Man's career, Jameson would often accuse him of being "in cahoots" with the villains he fought. When SpOck follows his taking down of the Shadowland by declaring on live television that he had Jameson's backing, Jameson bemoans the fact that (Due to SpOck blackmailing him) they're "in cahoots".
When SpOck bursts into the Daily Bugle to apprehend Phil Urich, Robbie Robertson demands proof that he's the Hobgoblin.
SpOck: Unbelievable. The Daily Bugle is asking me to prove someone's a menace. You do see the irony here, don't you?
It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Otto ends up breaking up with MJ after she got captured by some of Vulture's goons realizing that she'd never be safe. Even Peter is impressed that he had the guts to finally break it off.
Knight Templar: He thinks anything he does is superior to the rest of the Hero Community (especially to Peter), from blackmailing to outright murder, going by crippling, and that he can't ever be wrong because he is a genius.
Let's You and Him Fight/Friend or Foe: Otto's attitude puts him into conflict with a lot of the superheroes Peter was good friends with or who admired him, including the Avengers, Spider-Man 2099, and Agent Venom.
Love Cannot Overcome: Ultimately, even after finding out about the whole "Freaky Friday" Flip situation with Peter, Carlie Cooper and Mary Jane Watson both realize that being one of Peter's love interests is just too dangerous.
Love Triangle: A really confusing one Mary Jane still loves Peter and dated "Peter". Ghost-Peter still loves Mary Jane, and is pretty pissed about Otto dating her in his place. Otto has feelings for MJ due to having Peter's memories and reliving parts of his life, but broke up with her since he didn't want her to get hurt. Seeing as Ghost-Peter gets wiped and Otto is avoiding her, it's resolved by MJ getting fed up and finding a new boyfriend named Ollie. It's reinforced in the finale when Peter returns, she believes his mind-swapping story immediately, but she doesn't care.
The Mafia: Goblin King is setting one up to deal with Superior Spider-Man. As of Issue #14 he controls over 52% of all crime.
The Man Behind the Man: Issue 31 reveals that under the alias of "Mason Banks", which Liz Allan knew to be a front, Norman Osborn funded the creation of Alchemax-616 in order to leave a legacy for his grandson, Normie, with Liz Allan approving of his involvement.
Ironically, that very same child that Peter endangered is the same one who convinces Otto that he is not Spider-Man, when Ghost-Peter forces him to save her rather than keep searching for Anna Maria.
Morality Chain: Ghost-Peter is really trying to be this, forcing Otto to pull a Heel-Face Turn before he died, and preventing him from killing Boomerang. Unfortunately he isn't very successful at keeping Otto from killing Massacre and eventually gets erased himself.
Morality Pet: Anna-Maria functions as this for Otto. It's his love for her, and his inability to save her, that causes Otto erase himself and give his body back to Peter.
Mood Whiplash: Happens from time to time, but Issue #6 really sums it up. "Oh hey, Jester and Screwball are playing pranks on JJJ! That's pretty funny! Oh, and they're doing it to Spock too! That's hilar—oh wait, now he's beating them to death."
Issue #10 has it shifting between Otto on a date with Anna Marconi and MJ caught in a fire, waiting for him to save her.
Mooks: Otto turns the Raft into a base and gathers an army of Mooks at the end of Issue #13. They help him take down the Shadowland.
Mook Carryover: After Otto starts killing members of his Rogues Gallery, their surviving mooks seek employment and protection from the Goblin King.
In the weirdest of places. As Ghost-Peter is getting mind wiped, his attempt to remember his name comes out as "Peter... Palmer?", a name Stan Lee's narration mistakenly called him a few times during the superhero's early days.
While possessed by the Venom symbiote, Otto declares that the city has a "lethal protector". This is a nod to the Venom: Lethal Protector miniseries from 1993.
In the final issue, a panel has a slightly altered version of the iconic panel in which Mary Jane first appeared.
So, Spidey and his army has liberated the Shadowland from the hands of Wilson Fisk and the Hand and forced Fisk to flee. That's good and all. Too bad the Goblin King has decided he was going to take over, swooping up the remaining members of the Hand from that area and rebranding himself the Goblin Kingpin of Crime.
Nice job knocking out Spider-Man 2099, the only guy who could save Horizon after you deleted Peter's memories.
Nice job using your old tech as Peter Parker, Ock. Now you got everyone thinking he's a fraud, a thief and worse!
As a whole, the "Goblin Nation" arc seems to be reaching this conclusion - Otto's actions end up making things much worse in the long run instead of better. He finally realizes this, and commits Heroic Suicide to let Peter fix what he can't.
Ghost-Peter runs into this. Having lost most of his memories after Otto tried to purge him from his consciousness, he hides within Otto's own memories in order to wait until the opportune moment to strike to take his body back. He ends up becoming so lost in the memories that he starts thinking that he's Otto. Then, the trope is inverted when he reaches Otto's last memory, when Peter Parker/Doctor Octopus forced his memories onto Otto Octavius/Spider-Man's mind, which causes Peter to snap out of it and get all of his memories back, giving him the strength to confront Otto.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Hard to track, but the Goblin King technically leads to the redemption of Spider-Man, since his breaking of Otto leads him to give the reins of the body back to Peter, giving back the one thing that he believes can stop the Goblin Nation.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Otto's using Peter's strength to the fullest when he fights. While Jester and Screwball got beat badly, he blinded Vulture, knocked Scorpion's jaw off, and nearly killed Boomerang.
The series opens with a new Spider-Man, and Peter Parker dead.
The series ends the same way. Although many of the relationships with Peter's friends and family are repaired, and Peter gets his body back, Peter still has Otto's memories melded with his own, the Shadowland has been freed from Kingpin's influence, Otto is dead, J. Jonah Jameson retires as mayor after the Spider-Slayer incident, and Carlie and MJ grow tired of being targets for Peter's enemies, with Carlie even leaving New York.
When the Goblin King calls Spidey "Otto". A little bit later, Otto's soldiers flip out when the Goblin Army attacks Spider-Island and they have no idea how they slipped by.
Goblin King himself has one in the finale, when a single, solitary quip in the old familiar tone of voice lets him know that Otto is no longer operating as Spider-Man, which means the one who knows and has beaten him repeatedly is back in charge of his own body.
Our Ghosts Are Different: Peter, though he doesn't use any ghost like powers. He just follows Otto around, webslings with him when Otto is out as Spider-Man, and gets access to Otto's memories.
Parenthetical Swearing: In the last issue on the part of the Goblin King. One quip lets him know he's no longer dealing with the would-be "Superior" Spider-Man, but is now facing the genuine article. He says "It's you," but the obvious thrust of his expression and phrasing is a rather stronger Oh, Crap.
Peter:(when Ock throws down the gauntlet at the Avengers) Oh, what I wouldn't give for some ghost-popcorn right now.
Pet the Dog: Though Otto performs morally questionable actions, he does have his moments where he acts as a hero should.
Otto performs successful brain surgery with Cardiac on a girl who was brain-damaged by one of previous attempts to take over the world, having felt guilty and trying to atone for it. This was after he tried to take the helmet off of her for his own use while she was alive before Cardiac stopped him and explained the situation. In return, the girl gave Otto her personal doll and got a Spider-Man doll for herself.
Also, he was the one who made the armor that Wolverine currently uses, so that Wolverine could have a fighting chance now that his healing factor is gone.
Poorly Disguised Pilot: Issue #19 serves as one for a new Spider-Man 2099 series, set in the present day after Otto strands him in the past.
Psycho Serum: The Goblin Formula. Those who take it go insane, even though they can convincingly act sane. Carlie is transformed by this into "Monster" but she is given an experimental cure by Sanjay later on that seems to have worked.
Rage Quit: When the Avengers attempt to get information out of SpOck, with the reasoning that they think that they can do so just because he's an Avenger, he throws himself out the window and screams "I QUIT!"
Red and Black and Evil All Over: Superior Spider-Man's costumes are red and black rather than red and blue, and Otto becomes increasingly antagonistic as the series goes on.
Red Is Heroic: Tellingly, while the first Superior Spider-Man outfit has the normal amount of red, the second one, as Otto becomes increasingly villainous, has far more black in it.
The Reveal: In Issue 25, the Golbin King reveals that he is Norman Osborn, yet refuses to unmask himself. It isn't until the final issue when we find out why — he surgically altered his face for his guise as Mason Banks, the creator of Alchemax.
Ret Canon: Arune Singh confirmed at Comic-Con that the Superior Spider-Man's second outfit is based on the one Alex Ross designed for the first Spider-Man movie. The design ultimately went unused in the film, but was leaked online, has appeared in some of the video games, and Assassin Spider-Man in What If: The Spider that Came in From the Cold also used a costume based on the design.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: In a retcon of a 90's Spider-Man Unlimited story about Octavius trying to cure AIDS to save an old flame, it's revealed that it was Norman Osborn who had infected her with a deadly virus in an attempt to coerce him into teaming up with him. When Octavius learns the truth, he flips out and starts pummeling Osborn silly, trying to kill him.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: During his first fight against the new Sinister Six, Otto is pummeled so badly by Speed Demon, he decides to leave (But turns back to protect a police officer).
Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Otto briefly contemplates this at the end of the "Arms of the Octopus" crossover with All-New X-Men. He considers using a time machine to go back and guide his younger self onto the path of heroism. He quickly decides otherwise, acknowledging that altering history is far too dangerous.
Sexy Discretion Shot: Otto and Anna Marconi getting snuggly in her lab is being shown as two large jellyfish being close to each other.
Spirit Advisor: Subverted - Peter is technically still alive, but Otto has no idea that Peter's along for the ride and can't hear him when Peter talks to him; and the only influence Peter is able to exert over his body is stopping Otto from crossing lines he would never cross, until Massacre is killed. Then Peter gets a Disney Death, too.
Shaggy Dog Story: Carlie's storyline is effectively this. She deduces that Spider-Man is really Doc Ock and uncovers evidence to prove her claim, but as soon as she is to go public she is kidnapped by the Green Goblin and exposed to the serum. By the time she is cured, she confronts Spider-Man only to discover that Peter Parker had been restored to his body.
Ship Sinking: Peter/Mary Jane. Otto's jerk behavior towards Mary Jane might have been the trigger, but it's not the deciding point. After spending time away from him, Mary Jane decides that she prefers having a normal life that she can handle on her own terms, rather than being consumed by Peter's. Although she points out that she will always care for him, and considers him the best man she knows. Time will tell if it sticks or not (similar arguments have been used before for these two to be apart and it didn't), but the "sinking" scene is one of the most convincing ever, with a symbolic frame that reproduces Mary Jane's first appearance◊ to boot.
Mary Jane claiming that everything's "Crazy Town Banana Pants" and that it's something Peter used to say all of the time when questioned on it.note Peter never said that before, at least not that we know of, just in case you're wondering.
Otto tells the Living Brain, which he modded to be his assistant, to fetch him some tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
Something Only They Would Say: The Goblin instantly knows the original Spidey is back in town when the latter quips at him rather than talk like an evil scientist.
Goblin King: Aaand here he is at last! The hero of our little drama. Just in time for the thrilling climax! But wait— a twist! The "hero" isn't one at all. In fact, he never was. Really, Otto, you're just embarrassing yourself with this charade. Granted, you were never on my level, but being a bad guy suited you. Saving that little lady is your last remaining achievement as Spider-Man. When it all goes boom, you'll have nothing left! Hahahaha!
Spider-Man: Except the dignity of knowing I never carried a man-purse.
Status Quo Is God: An odd take, as the ending seems to shunt Peter back to pre-Big Time levels: Horizon Industries is gone (although he's still CEO of Parker Industries), he's still part of the Avengers, Mary Jane is once again out of the picture...
Stranger Behind the Mask: Subverted. For over a dozen issues, the Goblin King has been dropping increasing broad hints that he's Norman Osborn, but always refuses to take the mask off. At the climax, Spider-Man rips off his mask, only to discover it's... some redheaded guy with a mustache he's never seen before. It turns out it really is Norman Osborn - he'd gotten plastic surgery since his original face had gotten too well-known.
Taking Up The Mantle: Otto becomes the new Spider-Man after he's forced to experience Peter Parker's memories — good and bad — learning how and why Peter is Spider-Man.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Given by Otto to the ghostly version of Peter inhabiting his mind after he tries doing the same thing to him, essentially telling him that he doesn't deserve to be Spider-Man because of how ineffective and childish he is. He points out how Peter being so lax on villains like Massacre and The Vulture because of his moral code is foolish considering all the harm it ends up doing, and that Peter's earlier interference almost cost a little girl her life, all because Peter was afraid Otto would eventually find him.
Tempting Fate: After the bad publicity the Spider-Slayers bring him, Jameson tries to find comfort from the fact Alchemax will go down with him since he sees no way they could get a positive spin from that. The next scene features Tiberius Stone talking to several nation representatives who want to buy robots able to fight the Avengers to a standstill.
Terrible Trio: Monster, Menace, and the Goblin Knight; brains, beauty, and brawn, respectively.
Unexpected Character: Boomerang's Sinister Six included the Living Brain, which Spider-Man fought exactly twice, once in the 1960s, and again in the 1980s.
Villain Exit Stage Left: In the finale, the Spider-Men have the Goblin King disarmed, de-powered and dead to rights - until Liz "accidentally" presses a spider-sense jammer. Osborn escapes into the sewers before Peter can recover.
Villain Protagonist/Nominal Hero: If you didn't already know this from the protagonist being a super villain who murdered the iconic hero, stole his life, and dated his girlfriend in his place, then SpOck is rapidly approaching this status as his morals decline further and further, being an Anti-Villain at best. He begins as an aversion of Peter's Hero with Bad Publicity status after his early acts of more extreme violence, but turns toward a Villain with Good Publicity by the end of the "No Escape" arc.
Team-Up revealed that at one point Otto and Norman Osborn had become friends during a partnership. It ends when Norman, in an attempt to prove a point, stages a car accident for Otto's ex-girlfriend and replaces the blood transfusion at the hospital with AIDS-infected blood.
Walking Spoiler: The identity of the new Spidey (Otto Octavius) is one for the end of Amazing Spider-Man.
We Can Rule Together: The Goblin King makes this offer to Otto, seeing how they'd never been enemies or even rivals before Otto swapped minds with Peter. Otto refuses, so the Goblin decides to tear down everything Otto has built up.
Issue #20: More of Parker's life is smashed up as Octavius beats up and arrests the Black Cat, who vows that she'll never forget what he had just done. While trying to obtain a doctorate by passing off technology he had invented as Otto as Peter's, he is exposed as a fraud by an old friend of his from when he was Octavius, and the woman whom Octavius allowed to become the Stunner (last seen in a coma after she helped bring him back to life the first time) returns and takes up her old identity vowing to crush Spider-Man.
Issue #21: All the problems brought up in the previous issue are solved (with the exception of the Black Cat problem), but the Goblin King has Carlie's evidence on Otto being Spider-Man after one of his goons kidnap her. Oh, and Peter Parker's grave is empty.
Superior Carnage #5: Carnage knows Spider-Man is Doc Ock and Cletus Kasady is no longer lobotomized.
The entire "Goblin Nation" arc, which basically screws Otto over in every way possible.
Issue #30: Ghost-Peter reveals himself, and Otto decides that Peter is the superior one, erasing himself and bringing Peter Back from the Dead.
Ghost-Peter: I am going to find a way back! Otto: No, Peter. You won't.
In Issue #19. This is less of one, since it was implied to be in progress, but the Wham comes from how it is solidified.
Liz Allan: Mr. Banks. Mr Stone. Let me be the first to welcome you to this bold endeavor. The foundation of this all-new mega corp, Allan Chemical, merged with my son's holdings in Oscorp... and the intellectual properties Tiberius helped us acquire from Horizon Labs. Gentlemen, I give you Alchemax. Long may she stand.
Wham Shot: Peter digging his way out of the rubble in issue #19.
SpOck is able to trap Agent Venom by giving him artificial limbs but separating the symbiote from Flash Thompson. Once Flash realizes what he's done, he reads him the riot act right before the symbiote breaks free, fuses with SpOck and turns him into the Superior Venom.
The next issue, Mary Jane finally confronts Peter and demands to know what's going on. When she finds out about the symbiote she sics the Avengers on him.
In Mighty Avengers #5, Jessica Jones is so livid that he brought his little army in in front of her kid, that she punches him hard enough to shatter his mask lenses.
In Issue #28, one of the workers in Parker Industries snaps at him when she finds out he's hiding Spidey Tech in the building, wondering why he's trying to draw out all of this attention to his building.
Otto: Write your stories, fools. Mark this day well. For today, I cast off the last of the chains Peter Parker saddled me with...and begin to craft my own legacy. I am no more bound by Parker's life than I am about my own former existence. I shall create something entirely new. Something wonderful. This shall be my legacy. ABrand New Day... No, A Brand New Age. The Age of the Superior Spider-Man.The Greatest Hero of them All. And nothing will stand in my way.
Would Hit a Girl: No matter if it's a criminal Femme Fatale like Black Cat - who, making it even worse, was one of Peter's girlfriends - Otto would rather just punch her in the face and leave her to the cops.
Worth It: Spider-Man 2099 punching Tiberius Stone in the final issue. He knows he can't change the future too much, but he absolutely loved being able to sock him in the face to save Spidey.
Xanatos Gambit: The Goblin King's entire plan. Norman Osborn and Liz Allen conspired to give Normie Osborn something to rule over and even though Spidey liberated New York, Normie's set to inherit Alchemax when he's older.
You and What Army?: In Superior Spider-Man Team Up #9, Otto asks this of a mole in his Spiderlings. The answer?
Mole: Your own! HAHAHAHAHA! (cue two page spread of him, Daredevil, and The Punisher surrounded by Otto's men wearing stolen supervillain gear)
You Are Too Late: When Peter attempts to convince J. Jonah Jameson to not quit as mayor, returning the Spider-Bot with the blackmail video from way back in issue 11, Jameson mulls it over before smashing the device, screaming that it would have mattered if he wasn't 30 minutes late. Though, considering how stubborn the man is, JJJ probably would've said/done the same thing even if Spidey came an hour earlier.
You Are Better Than You Think You Are: In Issue #30, Otto delivers this speech to Peter Parker. He claims that unlike Otto, a flawed man who overcompensates to hide his failings, Peter Parker was always superior but kept sabotaging himself because he didn't feel like he deserved to be superior.