Superior Spider-Man is shaping up to be a modern day Clone Saga and just as ‘popular.’ The only difference is this time we know who the real Spider-Man is or do we?
In Amazing Spider-Man #698, Peter Parker swaps minds with Doctor Octopus, who is dying after years of pummelings at the hands of Spidey. Peter dies while trapped in Doc Ock’s body but is resuscitated.
In issue #700 Peter has another near death experience and meets his uncle Ben, who says it’s not his time … yet. Peter must first stop Doc Ock from destroying everything he’s built, including Spider-Man’s legacy.
Now here’s where it gets tricky. Assuming it’s not a hallucination, it means they soul swapped as well as mind swapped, which is significant.
Before Doc Ock’s body gives out, Peter attempts to swap back using the same Ock bot that transferred their brainwaves but it’s blocked by what I like to call a cranial chastity belt. It’s not a complete loss though, the bot is able beam a partial upload. It creates a link that gives Otto Octavius a ringside seat as Peter’s life flashes before his eyes just before he dies.
The experience seems to rub off on Otto and he assumes the mantle of Spider-Man in Superior Spider-Man. Much to his chagrin, he instinctively does right thing but at the end of the first issue it’s revealed that some remnant of Peter is directly exerting its will over him.
Is it Peter’s memories, his brain patterns, his soul still within the body or his ghost outside of it? The answer could have huge ramifications. If the bot only uploaded a copy, then this Peter is essentially a clone and possibly an imperfect one at that. The real Peter could be in heaven and may very well retun and end up fighting himself for control of his life a la the Clone Saga.
The creative team behind Superior Spider-Man is ambiguous whether this entity is a ghost, consciousness or memory.
“There is a shred of Peter’s consciousness still left with the mind of Spider-Man,” Editor Steve Wacker told Marvel NOW!: Behind the ReEvolution.
Writer Dan Slott says it wasn’t his goal to write Spider-Man, it was his dream. He’s plans to hold on to it “just like the ghost of Peter Parker refuses to let go of his body and refusing to let go of Spider-Man.”
He went on to use different descriptions of the entity that further put into doubt what it is.
“Somehow Peter Parker is still around … this mental echo, this shadow, this ghost is still there and trying to get control of his body back,” explains Slott. “Everyone’s like ‘Oh this won’t last long. Peter Parker’s gonna come back and regain control of his body. They’ll do six issues of Doc Ock. They’ll do a year of Doc Ock. They’ll do two and Peter will come back. I’ll come back when Peter’s back.’ Well here it is. Peter’s there. If you think this an obvious journey, if you believe that’s where we’re going, then this should all be fine.”
Slott pauses and gives a villain-esque ‘muhaha.’
“We have tricks. We have trick we’re gonna play,” he warned fans.
One of those tricks was a tweet by Slott that suggested Superior Spider-Man was Miguel O’Hara, a future version of the hero from Spider-Man 2099.
“I am very sorry,” he apologized. “It was a prank. It was a trick. And all these poor fans of Spider-Man 2099 were so certain that Spider-Man 2099 was going to be the Superior Spider-Man.”
Slott added, “This is not a trick. This is not a prank. You will see Miguel O’Hara in Superior Spider-Man.”
It won’t be the first time this future Spider-Man has crossed paths with his counterpart. In Spider-Man 2099 Meets Spider-Man the heroes trade places in time. They eventually teamed up to stop a perpetual motion machine, which has the effect of postponing the “Great Cataclysm,” a mysterious future event in which all the heroes disappear and the Heroic Age ends. Miguel’s reappearance will undoubtedly be related to this event, which will somehow tie in with the mind swap. The only question is how he’ll appear this time. Perhaps a mind swap with the future Spider-Man will show Otto the consequences of his actions. If so, they might have to rename the book Schizo Spider-Man.
The Amazing Spider-Man and Superior Spider-Man have a battle of wills. Peter Parker loses and is erased so apparently he was just a digital clone.