Doctor Octopus

From Academic Kids

This page refers to the first Doctor Octopus, Otto Octavius. For the second, see Lady Octopus

Template:Superherobox Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius) is a comic book supervillain in the Marvel Comics universe and one of the greatest foes of Spider-Man. Before his transformation into the megalomaniacal archenemy of the web-slinger, Otto Octavius was a brilliant and respected nuclear physicist, inventor, and lecturer.

"Doc Ock", as Spider-Man often calls him, has a harness with four super-strong mechanical arms of his own design, originally developed to assist his research into atomic physics. In an accident, the apparatus became fused to his body, and he gained the ability to control the movement of the arms using his thoughts alone. The accident also drove him mad, and the once timid scientist turned to a life of crime. Later, the harness was surgically removed, but he was still able to control it mentally, even at a distance. While wearing the harness, the arms are powerful enough to allow him to walk up sheer concrete walls and move quickly about. He has possessed a total of three different harnesses during his career: the original titanium harness, a more powerful adamantium harness, and the current harness, which was modified in 2004 to resemble the version seen in the movie Spider-Man 2. The original and adamantium harnesses were both destroyed in the Lethal Foes of Spider-Man miniseries.

Missing image
Amazing Spider-Man #3 (1963), the first appearance of Doctor Octopus. Art by Steve Ditko.
Doctor Octopus first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #3 (1963), and quickly became one of the web-slinger's most notorious foes. After the apparent death of Spider-Man's arch-nemesis, the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus became Spider-Man's greatest foe, with that position only being contested by Venom in the 1990s.

Though Doctor Octopus himself is not much to speak of physically, and is near-sighted to the extent that he is legally blind without the aid of his eye-glasses, with his harness attached he is physically more than a match for Spider-Man: in his first appearance he beat Spider-Man so badly that the wall-crawler considered giving up his heroic career until he was inspired to continue by the Human Torch.

Despite the obvious obstacles, Octavius was for a time on good terms with Peter Parker's Aunt May, who he first met in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 (1964) when he abducted her and Peter's then-girlfriend Betty Brant to attract Spider-Man's attention. In fact, in later years May Parker and Otto Octavius were briefly engaged to be married, during a period when the latter's madness had been cured (temporarily, as it turned out). Octavius' real motive behind marrying May was to gain control of a nuclear breeder reactor she had unknowingly inherited. However, the wedding was interrupted by Hammerhead, who then destroyed the reactor.

Doctor Octopus has worked with other supervillains on several occasions, most notably as the leader of the original incarnation of the Sinister Six. He has been a member of other versions of the Sinister Six, and founded his own short-lived version of the Masters of Evil when his teammates from the Sinister Six proved too difficult to manipulate.

During the Clone Saga, Doctor Octopus was murdered by the insane Peter Parker clone named Kaine. Octavus's student Carolyn Trainer took over as "Doctor Octopus" until the original was resurrected by a branch of the mystical ninja cult known as the Hand. Although Octavius had discovered Peter Parker's dual identity shortly prior to his death, he lost all knowledge of it upon his resurrection.

In other media

Missing image
(2004) Doctor Octopus portrayed by Alfred Molina in the 2004 film Spider-Man 2

Doctor Octopus is portrayed by Alfred Molina in the film Spider-Man 2 (2004). However, the story is very contracted, and Octavius seems to have become Dr. Octopus and died within a year. In the movie, Otto Octavius is originally a generally nice and likeable man (he is also married, which did not occur in the comics) and rather than working with nuclear material, he uses fusion to create a minature electricity-generating "sun", which he manipulates with his tentacles. The tentacles are also different - in the comics, Octavius controlled them with dials prior to his accident, but in the movie, they attach to his nervous system along his spinal cord and he controls them mentally from the start. They also have a degree of artificial intelligence in the movie - Octavius controls this with an inhibitor chip, but when the chip is destroyed in his accident (caused when the "sun" he creates becomes unstable, and a large "flare" from it strikes him in the back, giving him a huge electric shock that melts the tentacles' attachments to his spine), they are able to control his mind and drive him to rebuild his failed fusion device. The tentacles' influence is what makes Doc Ock evil in the movie, rather than him simply becoming insane due to brain damage from the accident as he does in the comics.

Doctor Octopus is first brought into conflict with Spider-Man in the movie when he robs a bank to gain money for buying parts for the new fusion device. Later, he completes the device, but requires precious tritium to fuel it, and turns to Harry Osborn to provide it for him. Harry agrees, if Ock will bring him Spider-Man (in the first movie, Harry was led to believe that Spider-Man killed his father, and is obsessed with getting revenge in the second movie). This leads to Ock tracking down Peter Parker and kidnapping Mary Jane Watson so Peter will get Spider-Man to meet him. This leads to another battle between Spider-Man and Doc Ock, which Ock wins (Spider-Man is forced to stop a speeding train after fighting Ock, and when Ock confronts him again afterward, he is too weak to fight back).

After delivering Spider-Man to Harry, Doctor Octopus gets his tritium and creates another, larger "sun", which also becomes unstable, threatening to either drag its surroundings into it with its powerful gravity and magnetic field, or explode. Having escaped from Harry, Spider-Man arrives on the scene and fights Doc Ock again - he knocks out Ock by giving him another electric shock with the wires attached to the fusion device. When Spider-Man unplugs the device, however, the "sun" is not destroyed, having become so large it is self-sustaining. The second electric shock appears to free Octavius from the influence of his tentacles - after some mental effort fighting them back, he becomes good again (this also did not happen in the comics) and destroys the "sun" himself by pulling down its supports so it sinks into the river and cools down. Doctor Octopus sinks down after it, and presumably drowns.

Doctor Octopus appears in almost every Spider-Man video game, many of which feature him as the game's primary antagonist. In the Spider-Man game for the PlayStation, he and Carnage are the main bosses. After both are defeated, the Carnage symbiote attatches to Octavius to form the hybrid villain "Monster-Ock". Direct confrontation with this combined foe results in the player character's death; after the player flees from him, his base explodes and the two villains are separated and subdued.

Ultimate Doctor Octopus

In Ultimate Spider-Man, Doctor Octopus was a lab assistant to Norman Osborn. He was caught in a lab accident, grafting morphing metal arms onto him. He became a killer until stopped by Spider-Man. Doc Ock knew that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, but claimed that the information was of no use. After the second confrontation in Ultimate Six, Nick Fury had the harness melted and left Octavius to rot in jail.

Visually, Ultimate Doc Ock is no longer a fat, middle-aged madman. He is instead a young, muscular madman. His arms are also different: he modifies them so that they have various lethal accessories.

Bibliography of Doctor Octopus comic books

  • Spider-Man: Funeral For An Octopus #1-3
  • Spider-Man/Doctor Octopus: Year One #1-5
  • Spider-Man/Doctor Octopus: Out of Reach #1-5
  • Spider-Man/Doctor Octopus: Negative Exposure #1-5pt:Doutor Octopus

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