Otto Gunther Octavius (Doctor Octopus)

doctoroctopusfilmWe can now come back to casualgamer‘s request, and to one of Spider-Man‘s most iconic villains: Doctor Octopus. The character appeared in Spider-Man 2 as the main villain, reinterpreted by a wonderful Alfred Molina in quite a tragic way: he starts as a gentle and caring scientist, who takes Peter Parker under his protective wing. He works for Harry Osborn, but when he turns his experimental energy source on, something goes terribly wrong: his beloved wife Rosie is killed in the following explosion, and he’s permanently fused with the metallic arms that he used to work on the protostar. Plus, the arms develop some sort of A.I., and begin to control him, messing with his mind and making him go crazy, until our hero stops him for good. His tentacles also appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as an Easter egg, thus hinting at a future appearance of Doc Ock in the now deceased franchise. We’ll probably see him again now that Spidey is back to the MCU, but in the meanwhile, let’s take a look at the original, nastier Doc Ock.

Otto Octavius was the son of Torbert Octavius and of his wife Mary Lavinia. Born in SchenectadyNew York, he had quite a confusing childhood, divided between his abusive father, who prompted him to use violence in any situation, and his overprotective mother, who instead taught him to avoid it at any cost, even if that meant to let himself being beaten by the many bullies who tormented him at school. Shy but brilliant, the boy turned out to be extremely versatile in his studies, especially in science, and he was admitted to MIT at an early age. During his first year of college, Torbert died in an accident at work, not that Otto cared much about it: after years of receiving beatings from his dad, he had learnt to hate him; his mother, however, used her husband’s death to manipulate Otto, and convinced him that manual work was something loathable in a man, prompting him to study more. Not wanting to become a man like his father, Otto threw all of his energies into college, and he gained a lot of successes, eventually becoming a renowned researcher in atomic physics…but all this came to the price of his social life, and he doctoroctopuscomics1had no friends at all (something that his mother insisted was good for him, since all the others were “so inferior”). After college, Otto obtained a job at the U.S. Atomic Research Centre, thus realising his mother’s dream. It was for enhancing his work on radioactive materials that he invented a device attachable to his chest and connected to four mechanical tentacles, that allowed him to manipulate dangerous substances from a safe distance…and that earned him the nickname “Doctor Octopus” from his colleagues. Only one other researcher seemed to like him: Mary Anders, a woman who Otto eventually fell in love with, and who he wanted to marry. His mother, however, did not approve, and she hysterically remarked that nobody was good enough for her boy, and that they only had each other. To please his mom, Otto broke up with Mary, but he eventually found out that Mary Lavinia was secretly dating a librarian: enraged, he confronted his mother, but the woman’s heart didn’t bear the fight, and she died right in front of her son. In that moment, something inside Otto’s mind broke, and he became even more isolated than before.

A short time after his mother’s death, Otto Octavius was back to work, but he was distracted by the overwhelming guilt he felt for Mary Lavinia’s death, and he couldn’t focus properly. In this condition, an accident was inevitable, and while working on a very volatile substance, the scientist accidentally made it explode, being bathed in radiations. The explosion had several effects on him: first, it fused his harness to his body, but it also gave him the power to control the tentacles with his mind only, without the aid of any other device; unfortunately, it also damaged his brain, bringing unfortunate consequences to his once mild and submissive character, and also damaged his already poor eyesight, making him extremely sensitive to light and forcing him to wear shades all the time. His mother’s words of his superiority over everyone else haunted him for all the time he was in the hospital recovering, and when he finally realised what kind of power he now possessed, he decided it was the reward for his superior intellect, and that he would have used them both combined to dominate over the inferiors. Back on his feet, he used his tentacles doctoroctopuscomics2to overpower the security and to take the entire hospital hostage; he ordered doctors and nurses to bring to him the equipment he needed to continue his work, but he was interrupted by Spider-Man, who tried to free the hostages. With four extra limbs Octavius, who was now calling himself “Doctor Octopus” after the derogatory nickname invented by his colleagues, made short work of the inexperienced superhero, and he easily defeated him. After throwing the hero out of a window, Doc Ock left the hospital and took control of a nuclear research facility…where he was reached once again by Spider-Man, who had survived their previous encounter. This time, Spider-Man was prepared, and upon realising that the only super-strong things about the new villain were his tentacles, he knocked him out with a single punch to the jaw. Doc Ock was arrested and imprisoned, but this was not the worst part of it: having been beaten by someone whose intellect was (allegedly) so inferior to his own humiliated him and enraged him, as it was an insult that needed to be punished. From that moment, he would have dedicated his efforts to crushing Spider-Man like the bug he was.

Otto Octavius is simply a genius: brilliant, intuitive and knowledgeable, he’s an expert physicist, engineer, chemist and many other things; unfortunately, he’s also a megalomaniacal madman, an arrogant and narcissist mastermind who considers every other single person on the planet as irremediably inferior to himself. As Doctor Octopus, he telepathically controls his four extra arms, extremely durable and highly complex mechanical tentacles which he uses to move (thus being able to climb vertical surfaces as well), to handle dangerous materials, and even to strike his enemies with incredible strength. Just as dangerous as he is intelligent (and that says a lot), Doctor Octopus is bent on world domination on the simple principle that the stupid ones should be submitted…and of course, he’s the only one smart enough to rule over a planet infested by fools.

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12 Comments

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  10. […] her, and she even started liking Parker after he “impersonated” the hero to divert Doctor Octopus‘ attention from Betty Brant (at that point, however, Peter had lost interest in her, and was […]

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