Superior Spider-man #2
Otto Octavius/Spider-man continues to prove that he can be a better Spider-man than Peter Parker ever was. In the last issue, he did so by craftily dealing with the newly formed Sinister Six. In this issue, his focus turns to Peter Parker's love life and the inevitable Otto Octavius and Mary Jane Watson coupling.
The issue of Otto romancing Mary Jane while in Pete's body is touchy. If he succeeds in "wooing her" and "sealing the deal," that would be tantamount to rape. After all, it is not Otto Octavius but Peter Parker who she wants and who she believes she is dating. No deception on Otto's part can get around that fact. Slott deals with the issue carefully. With the help of ghost-Peter-Parker, the reader is alerted to the disturbing moral situations of Otto touching Mary Jane, flirting with Sajani, and even of Otto washing his current body in the shower. The moral ground is laid out so well that the reader is disturbed when Otto makes use of Peter's memories to "experience" Mary Jane fully.
Despite failing completely at every attempt to get invited up to Mary Jane's apartment, Octavius is able to gather some important data from his scientific trials concerning his sex life, namely that there is a logical conundrum with dating Mary Jane. Peter Parker cares about Mary Jane and wants to date her, but his presence in her life puts a target on her head, so Octavius concludes that he cannot pursue Mary Jane. At least on the surface, this appears to be yet another way in which Octavius is superior to Peter Parker.
Here's where a little reading between the lines might be able to reveal a prevailing theme in Superior Spider-man. I think that in every individual way, Otto Octavius is going to be able to prove that he is better than Peter Parker at being Spider-man, and yet overall he is going to fail at being Spider-man. What we're going to see is that being better has far less to do with the content and arrangement of ones actions as it does with the motivation behind the actions one commits. Octavius defeated the Sinister Six with ease, but he should have stormed their headquarters and prevented any possible harm that they might have done before they got to his trap. He decided to push away Mary Jane, but a super hero who has no connection to the people of the world will fail at seeing them as anything other than collateral damage in an all-out brawl.
Otto Octavius will fail because being Spider-man is less about intellect than it is about compassion. While Peter Parker has a great head on his shoulders, you put down Spider-man and pick up an issue of Fantastic Four if you want to read about what the smartest people in the world are doing. You pick up a Spider-man book because Peter Parker is all heart, something that Octavius will always fail at.
The future of Superior Spider-man looks bright. We can look forward to more quirks, like Peter Parker with a robot lab assistant that whirs when it speaks and spider-surveillance drones. Despite the surprising lack of witty dialogue from the vulturettes, Otto's run-in with the Vulture should be pleasing. And who can forget the fact that Carlie Cooper may have figured out that Otto Octavius has inhabited Pete's body. Like I said, future, bright!
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