Author's note: this article was written before the release of Superior Spider-Man #10. Which means if any of these speculations already gets disproved this Wednesday, May 22, 2013, then you've been forewarned. After all, I never said this was an exact science, or even any kind of science at that.
Anyone who has read my earlier Spidey Speculations articles will have deduced that making these predictions for what could happen in future Spider-Man stories is a very, very challenging undertaking. This has proven to especially be the case for Dan Slott's The Superior Spider-Man, in part because the status quo for this series keeps changing every 3 to 4 issues. Consider (at the time I’m writing this) what has already transpired within the space of a mere nine issues: we’ve had Peter Parker apparently returning as a ghost; Doctor Octopus (or should I say "Sp-Ock") attempting to seduce and then, in a moment of conscience, break-up with Mary Jane Watson; Carlie Cooper figuring out that “Spider-Man” is really Doc Ock; Sp-Ock going back to college due to his learning Peter never actually got his doctorate, Doc Ock killing Massacre in cold blood; Sp-Ock brutally beating both Jester and Screwball on a live webcast; the Avengers nearly kicking “Spider-Man” off the team because of his actions; and, in the last issue, Sp-Ock “kills” Peter once again, and it turns out it was not really Peter after all but Peter’s memories having somehow gained self-awareness.
Phew! You’d think Slott would want to slow things down a bit, but nope, based on what’s been teased, it doesn’t appear that’s going to happen any time soon. Which again, makes it very, very challenging to guess where the Superior Spider-Man could go from here, especially since now it’s fully Doc Ock in charge of Peter’s mind and body with no Ghost Peter acting as Jiminy Cricket to hold him back. But you know me, I’m willing to give a try, even if it means embarrassing myself in the process. So let’s see where I believe The Superior Spider-Man can now go from here, shall we?
LAW AND ORDER AS ACCORDING TO OTTO
So what do we know about Superior Spider-Man #11 to #13? Well, we know it involves Sp-Ock, Jonah, and Norah trapped inside the super-villain prison, The Raft, along with the Spider-Slayer, Alistair Smythe, and a group of augmented villains seeking revenge against Sp-Ock, including the Scorpion, Boomerang, and the Vulture. It also appears, based on the solicits, that Sp-Ock has to team-up with Dr. Curt Connors, who you may remember is permanently in the form of The Lizard. And that it will somehow lead into Sp-Ock creating a whole new costume for himself and having his own “minions” for the next story. So based on this, I believe there will be at least three key developments from this story:
The first is that Alistair Smythe will die, but not at the hands of Sp-Ock. Instead, it will be Curt Connors who will kill Smythe. Why? Well Connors, like almost everyone else, wouldn’t know that Doc Ock is really in Spider-Man’s body, so he would thus still consider him a “good man” who is danger of “losing his way,” particularly in regards to Sp-Ock’s brutal tactics against super-villains. Therefore, Connors would likely kill Smythe as a means of sacrificing his freedom in other to save “Spider-Man’s” soul. Besides, Connors is already undergoing a penance for the Lizard eating his son, Billy, and Smythe scheduled for the death penalty anyway, so in Connor’s mind, he’s no better or worse off than he was before. Of course, it actually makes him a more tragic figure considering that he not actually helping the real Spider-Man.
Second, I think that Sp-Ock will conclude that he made the same “mistake” that Peter did, in that fighting all the various super-villains only resulted in creating more adversaries motivated by revenge than one person could handle. Instead, he decides it would be better for him to concentrate on the “bigger fish” rather than the “minnows” and thereby manage and regulate criminal activity as a means of reducing crime. Hence his decision to march into Shadowland and take down the Kingpin in the next story, where he can set himself up as the new Kingpin, just like Daredevil once did. And it would also explain Sp-Ock deciding to upgrade his costume even further to better combat the more difficult super-villains who refuse to comply.
Finally, in order to do this, Mayor Jameson will not only give Sp-Ock his own “Spider-Squad” but perhaps also goes as far as making Sp-Ock the New York City Police Commissioner. Yes, I’m aware of how crazy that is, but technically, Jonah can legally do this since, in the City of New York, the Commissioner of Police is a political appointee who doesn't have to be a police officer. Not only would this effectively make the NYPD under Doc Ock’s complete control, but it could also potentially mean that Horizon Labs has no choice but to fund the NYPD with weapons and equipment, whether Max Modell likes it or not--not unless they want to face charges of “obstructing justice” and they’re already in hot water with the mayor’s office as it is. It would also allow Doc Ock to better manage his time as Peter Parker, as his new “underlings” would be able to carry out his biding and only taking direct action when the situation calls for it (maybe he even has the Spider-Squad linked up to his Spider-Patrol Bots as well). Plus, it further underscore the irony that Jonah and the NYPD are unknowingly aiding and abetting one of Spidey’s greatest villains.
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN: THE KINGPIN OF NEW YORK
Now, I don’t think Sp-Ock will take down the Kingpin for one simple reason: because the Kingpin will have already escaped by the time Sp-Ock, along with his Spider-Squad, enter Shadowland. Wilson Fisk didn’t get as far as he did in the criminal underworld by being dumb, and he knows the value of a tactical retreat. Besides, he knows first hand what happens when “Spider-Man” cuts loose and doesn’t hold back, especially given that he, too, would be very much aware of Sp-Ock’s recent activities. Besides, considering how vast his criminal empire is, including having control of The Hand, relinquishing control of New York City would be a small sacrifice and he could easily set-up shop elsewhere.
However, the guy who won’t be so lucky will be the new Hobgoblin, Phil Urich. After all, the Kingpin was his bread-and-butter, and he’s not going to take it too kindly that “Spider-Man” is taking that away from him, especially when he has to still pay the Tinkerer and Roderick Kingsley. Now, in spite of the covers suggesting otherwise, I don’t necessarily believe this will actually lead to Phil Urich’s death; but I do think it will lead to Phil Urich being unmasked as the Hobgoblin, which will obviously be devastating for both Phil’s girlfriend, Norah Winters, and Phil’s uncle, Ben Urich. And, depending upon how severely Sp-Ock brings Phil Urich down, this could also potentially turn the Daily Bugle against “Spider-Man” for his use of brutal tactics, and potentially embarrass them in the process since Phil was one of their own.
However, I do think the person who could end up getting killed is The Tinkerer at the hands of his “new assistant.” Who do I think will be that “new assistant?” Tiberius Stone, who if you remember was the Kingpin’s mole at Horizon Labs before he went on the run after his “disastrous” attempt at stopping Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #697. Doing so would allow him access to all the Tinkerer’s blueprints and schematics of all his inventions which he could claim for his own, then make a deal with Sp-Ock to act as his “tech specialist,” arguing that “Peter Parker” can’t possibly handle the increased workload that “Spider-Man’s” new job entails. Thus, Sp-Ock decides to set Tiberius up as the NYPD’s “scientific liaison” to Horizon Labs, further enraging Modell. Which also leads up to…
THE RETURN OF SPIDER-MAN 2099
This is something Dan Slott has been teasing for some time (in fact some believed that the Spider-Man of the future, Miquel O’Hara would actually be the Superior Spider-Man instead of Doc Ock). Also, according to Slott in an interview at this year's C2E2, this story is apparently have Miquel O'Hara "very much be like a character from one of the "Terminator" movies showing up." However, I suspect that Miquel will not come back in time to try and kill someone to change the future; rather, he'll come back to try and stop someone from killing someone else. Thus, I think the basic plot will be this:
Kron Stone, aka Venom 2099, goes back in time to kill his ancestor, Tiberius Stone, which would not only mean retroactive suicide but also the murder of Miquel O’Hara if he succeeds--because Miquel is actually Kron’s half-brother. Why would Kron do this? Because part of his psychosis is that Kron was neglected by his father, Tyler, growing up, whereas Tyler gave Miquel every advantage in life as he saw him as a more worthwhile son and successor. Even though this could also mean preventing Alchemex from ever being creating and thus preventing all the past evil the corporation did, Miquel believes he still has no choice but to stop Kron, and that means teaming-up with the Superior Spider-Man.
Furthermore, I think Slott will use this story to once again link the Marvel 2099 universe with the 616 by suggesting that Marvel 2099 could once again become the “official” future of the Marvel Universe. How? By having it so that Modell feels he has no choice but to step-down as CEO of Horizon Labs, feeling he can no longer in good conscience side with Sp-Ock, the NYPD, and Mayor Jameson as it goes against his own convictions, and believes the company he envisioned no longer stands for the ideals seeking peaceful solutions in the name of science. As a result, Tiberius Stone becomes the new CEO and renames the company “Alchemex.”
OTTO'S NEW "FRIENDS" AND "FAMILY"
While Dan Slott has touched upon how Doc Ock’s tenure as Spider-Man has affected the supporting cast throughout the series, in my opinion, he has only just barely scratched the surface. I hope that, in future issues, he'll really explore the ramifications even further now that Peter Parker is supposedly "gone for good." For instance, in Superior Spider-Man #6, it’s suggested that Mary Jane finally starts to suspect that, based on how Spider-Man assaulted Jester and Screwball, that it cannot possibly really be her beloved Peter under the mask. And I suspect as time goes on, MJ will start to suspect “Peter” is an imposter as well. Thus in a complete role-reversal, MJ is the one who becomes “Spider-Man’s” most vocal and antagonistic critic, just as Jonah has become “Spider-Man’s” most vocal supporter and advocate.
Similarly, I see Doc Ock’s tutor and obviously new love interest, Anna Maria Marconi, also be a critic of “Spider-Man’s” activities, even while her relationship with Doc Ock grows. The thing is, I cannot help but think that their relationship will lead to nothing but heartbreak for her; especially when the real Peter Parker is finally able to get his body back. Not to mention the possibility that Anna Maria might get the impression that Aunt May disapproves of her because she’s a little person, especially if Aunt May starts to think that “her nephew” is merely settling when compared to his past girlfriends. In any case, it’s evident that Slott is setting her up to be Doc Ock’s “Gwen Stacy,” although I’m reluctant to say that this also means Anna Maria will share Gwen’s tragic fate.
Aunt May, along with her husband, Jay Jameson, will also be against “Spider-Man‘s” latest activities. However, I also suspect that there will be a growing wedge between the two of them as Doc Ock continues to play the part of “Peter, devoted nephew” to Aunt May. Remember, this was a guy who was once very sweet on May and almost married her, so he’s bound be jealous over is ex-fiancee’s new husband. Something tells me that Doc Ock will exploit Aunt May’s love for Peter for all it’s worth and gradually driving a wedge between them.
As for Carlie Cooper, I believe the person she telephoned in Superior Spider-Man #8 was Captain Yuri Watanabee, who as you recall a brief stint as the Wraith. It certainly would fit the dialogue in that Watanabee fits the criteria of being a “good person” that went on a “forced leave of absense” when Carlie decided not to turn her in. However, note that Carlie also say that, while she knows that “Spider-Man” isn’t who he says he is, she also needs evidence beyond a shadow of doubt, hence why she’s been reluctant to tell more people what she suspects…which leads me to think that this decision by Carlie will backfire hard. Because I think that, in order to stop “Spider-Man,” Watanabee will have no choice become the Wraith again and in doing so will wind up getting herself killed or seriously injured, which would really put Carlie in an even tighter spot than she is now.
WHO IS THE “GREEN GOBLIN?”
You might be wondering why I haven’t talked about the return of Spidey’s glider-riding, pumpkin-bomb throwing nemesis until now. That’s because I’ve saved my most far-out prediction for last, which was inspired by a theory suggested by one RyanParkerMan on the Comic Book Resources Forums. You see, the Green Goblin is not Norman Osborn, or Harry Osborn, or any Osborn for that matter. The Green Goblin, ladies and gentlemen, is none other than…
“What?! That’s impossible!” I hear you shout at your computer screens. Ah, dear readers, you must keep in mind that Dan Slott has never actually confirmed that the Green Goblin was Norman Osborn; in fact he’s been very reluctant to say just who this Goblin actually is. Also, consider that in Superior Spider-Man #4, the Goblin says he “knows all of the Spider’s secrets.” But Norman, thanks to Dr. Strange’s mind wipe spell, no longer knew that Peter was Spider-Man, so how could he know all of Spidey’s secrets? But Peter would, especially since he would be the only one who truly knows that Doc Ock is in his body.
What I think happened is that, just as Peter died in Amazing Spider-Man #700, Julia Carpenter was able to use her psychic powers to grab a hold of Peter’s soul and bring him into her own mind. Then, once she explained how imperative it was for Peter to stop Doc Ock, she placed him into the comatose body of Norman Osborn. After all, not only was Norman an ideal vessel considering how his brain became overloaded due to his acquiring the Super-Adaptoid powers in New Avengers, Norman and Julia are both in the same hospital. That scene from Amazing Spider-Man #697 when Osborn’s body mysteriously disappeared? I believe that was actually a flash-forward taking place after Amazing Spider-Man #700. It would also explain why the guards who should’ve been guarding Norman weren’t there either--because Julia used her psychic powers to make them leave thus allowing Peter, in Norman’s body, time to escape. After all, it’s not the first time in the Marvel Universe in which a psychic could still use their powers and protect their will while in a coma, after all. Come to think of it, maybe those times Dan Slott had Peter riding around on a "Spider-Glider" (Amazing Spider-Man #682 and Amazing Spider-Man #697) was actually giving readers a bit of wink of what Peter's ultimate fate really had in store for him.
If you think that's twisted, if Peter is now in Norman’s body, maybe this also means he has to “team-up” with Osborn as well? After all, wouldn’t they literally be two minds in the same body? Not to mention that, even though Peter would be in control, he’d also have to do everything in his power to try to keep Osborn at bay? And if I’m right about this, and considering that Doc Ock’s original body is now a corpse in the ground, that means Slott could be setting things up for a potential three-way mind swap down the road, only somebody is not going to get their original body back.
Hmm...something tells me my earlier theory that the Jackal could clone the body of Doctor Octopus make be pretty close to the mark--especially since we’re going to be getting the long-awaited rematch between Kaine and Doc Ock in a crossover with the new Superior Spider-Man Team-Up and Scarlet Spider. (And I'm sure those who have been reading my reviews of Scarlet Spider know who I'll be rooting for in this match-up, even though it will most likely result in a forced team-up against the Jackal.
So Spidey-fans and fellow prognosticators, these are my latest guesses on what could potentially happen in the potentially unpredictable Superior Spider-Man series over the next few months. And in case you are wondering, I'm still standing by my earlier prediction that Peter Parker will return to coincide with The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I'll even further elaborate that, sometime after that film, we'll not only see Peter Parker back in the webs again, but the relaunch of Amazing Spider-Man with a brand new first issue to celebrate the occasion. But who knows? Maybe I'll have more speculations about Doc Ock's tenure as Spider-Man in the near future. Until then, I invite you to offer your own guesses on what you think could happen. Until next time.
Oh, and before I forget, guess who may also be making his return in the very near future?
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