Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Superior Spider-Man: A Scientific Perspective

I hope you all have completed your reading assignment, because today we will be discussing Marvel's Superior Spider-Man #1-5. I have been enjoying this series a lot. I think that although writer Dan Slott has been getting some serious flack for "killing" Peter Parker, he continues to write a great story in each Superior Spider-Man issue.

Let's recap what we've seen so far. At the conclusion of The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter Parker and Otto Octavius swap minds and Peter gets left in Otto's dying body. Otto, now in Peter's body, assumes the role of Spider-Man since he has all of Peter's thoughts and memories. Not only does he vow to be Spider-Man, he is confident that he can be a better Spider-Man than Peter could ever be.

That's where Superior Spider-Man starts. The first issue ends with a silhouette of Peter Parker saying that he will find a way to get his body back. Since then, this Peter silhouette, without Otto being aware of him, has been following and observing Otto. To Otto's credit, he has surprised Peter on numerous occasions by not only living up to the Spider-Man name, but going above and beyond Peter's expectations.

So here we are. Five issues in. I think things are going great. However, as you can tell, there are some questions that need to be answered. At this point in a great comic book series, I like to assess, speculate, and discuss. What is Peter Parker? Is he a spectre? Is he just an extension of Otto's subconscious? Will Peter succeed in taking his body and his life back?

Here is my opinion. Peter can never be the same. Otto is in Peter's body. He has all of Peter's memories as well as his own. I want to stop right here and let you know that I have a Ph.D. in Biology (not joking). I'm about to put it to good use. It's the neuroplasticity of the brain that's allowing Otto to have this torn personality. Although it wasn't explained as this, Slott did a pretty good job of illustrating this concept. You can't just swap minds (That's crazy talk.) Otto's mind was placed in Peter's physical brain. In order for Peter's brain to use any of Otto's thoughts and intellect, it had to physically change. When you create new memories, it's a result of physical, cellular changes in your brain. Now that Otto is using his intellect in Peter's brain, it's going to cause physical changes in Peter's brain.

If it's the case that Peter is trapped on some other dimension and eventually does slip back into his body, his brain will have already been changed and he will have Otto's personality and intelligence. That's why my theory is that Peter Parker is a spectre and he's basically stuck in limbo. He can't be at rest until Otto proves himself as the truly superior Spider-Man. That's starting to happen, but Otto is still a bit shaky. Once Peter confirms that Otto is Spider-Man and more, I believe that he will go away.

I encourage you to comment with your Superior Spider-Man predictions and thoughts on my thoughts. I'd love to hear your predictions for what will happen with Peter Parker.

I also urge you to listen to the Drunk on Comics podcast. They have been having a pretty entertaining debate about whether or not Peter Parker is a ghost. Plus, it's the best comic book podcast out there. Trust me. I have a Ph.D. That I use to analyze comics.


  1. Within the next year, Peter will be back, Otto gone completely from Peter's body, and we'll have Peter Parker Spider-Man again. Doc will find his way into some cybernetic octopus robot or clone, and we'll be on our way.

  2. Yes. That's the boring way of predicting the future. How about a little hope?

    (I'm sure you're way more accurate than I am, unfortunately.)