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Doctor Octopus

This article is about the first Doctor Octopus, Otto Octavius. For the second Doctor Octopus, see Lady Octopus.
Doctor Octopus
Doctor Octopus drawn by John Romita Jr.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance (As Doctor Octopus):
The Amazing Spider-Man #3 (July 1963)
(As Superior Spider-Man):
The Amazing Spider-Man #698 (December 2012)
Created by Stan Lee
Steve Ditko
In-story information
Alter ego Otto Gunther Octavius
Team affiliations (As Doctor Octopus):
Sinister Six
Masters of Evil
Legion Accursed
(As Superior Spider-Man):
Mighty Avengers
Parker Industries
Horizon Labs
Superior Six
Notable aliases Master Planner, Master Programmer, Doc Ock, Bowrey Bum, Prisoner #4756689, Superior Spider-Man (Peter Parker)
Abilities (As Doctor Octopus):
Brilliant engineer and inventor
Superb strategist
Charismatic leader
Genius-level intellect
Wears super-strong and durable mechanical appendages
Telepathic control over his mechanical arms
(As Superior Spider-Man):
Possesses Spider-Man's powers, abilities, memories and equipment
Carbonadium plating over his neck and skull
Talons on his hands and feet
Split-toed footwear
Slightly different spider-motif on his back
Enhanced lenses

Doctor Octopus, real name Dr. Otto Gunther Octavius and also known as Doc Ock, Doc Octopus and the Superior Spider-Man, is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. A highly intelligent mad scientist, Doctor Octopus is one of Spider-Man's greatest enemies. He is typically portrayed as a stocky, myopic man who utilizes four powerful, mechanical appendages, and is obsessed with proving his own genius and destroying Spider-Man.

The character has appeared in numerous Spider-Man cartoons and video games and is portrayed by Alfred Molina in the 2004 film Spider-Man 2. In 2009, Doctor Octopus was ranked as IGN's 28th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.[1] Comics journalist and historian Mike Conroy writes of the character: "Created by Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, Doc Ock, as he became known, has become one of the web slinger's most persistent and dangerous foes."[2]

Publication history

The character of Doctor Octopus first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #3 (July 1963), and was created by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko.[3] The character soon appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #11 and #12, and again in #31 - 33.

Fictional character biography

Born in Schenectady, New York, Otto Octavius had a turbulent upbringing. His father Torbert Octavius, a factory worker, was abusive and violent towards both Otto and his mother Mary Octavius. Young Otto's shyness and good work in school got him labeled as a "teacher's pet" and targeted as a subject for bullying. Torbert did not appreciate having a bullied son, and roared at Otto to use violence in dealing with the bullies. Mary Octavius would defend her son from Torbert's tirades, saying Otto was a gifted thinker who would use his brain to solve problems, not his fists. Due to his mother's insistence and her disgust towards men who worked in manual labor, Otto was determined not to become like his father and threw all his efforts into his education, regularly scoring top marks. Otto's devotion to study paid off with him being awarded a university scholarship. During Otto's freshman year of college, his father's death due to an industrial accident pushed Otto towards the study of, and obsession with, physical science. After graduating from college, Otto found work in an engineering firm.

Otto became a brilliant and respected nuclear physicist, atomic research consultant, inventor, and lecturer. He designed a set of highly advanced mechanical arms controlled via a brain–computer interface to assist him with his research into atomic physics. The tentacle arms were resistant to radiation and were capable of great strength and highly precise movement, attached to a harness that fit around his body.[volume & issue needed] Later in his criminal career, he claimed the inspiration for the device came from The Vitruvian Man, the famous pencil sketch by Leonardo da Vinci, one of his idols.[4]

Though his relationship with co-workers was typically hostile, a fellow researcher named Mary Alice Anders befriended him when Otto impressed her with a demonstration of his harness, and the two began a courtship. In due time, Otto proposed marriage to Mary Alice. However, Otto's mother did not approve, believing that no woman was good enough for her son. To please her, he ended his engagement. Later, when he discovered that his mother had begun dating a librarian, he rebuked her, causing her to have a fatal heart attack in the heat of their argument. With the death of his mother and Mary Alice Anders out of his life, Octavius' disposition towards nearly everyone became mean-spirited, and he had become more distracted from paying attention to detail and safety precautions in his work.[5] His co-workers often called him "Dr. Octopus" behind his back, a pun on his actual name inspired by the four-armed apparatus; he was aware of this insult, but he barely cared.[6]

Criminal career begins

During an accidental radiation leak that ended in an explosion, the apparatus became fused to Otto Octavius's body. It was later revealed that the radiation (or possibly his own latent mutation) had mutated his brain so that he could control the movement of the arms using his thoughts alone. The tentacles have since been surgically removed from his body, although Octavius retains the power to control them telepathically from a great distance. The accident also seemingly damaged his brain (although it was later suggested that what was interpreted as brain damage was in fact his mind rewiring itself to accommodate four extra limbs[7]), and the scientist turned to a life of crime, first taking the hospital hostage and calling himself "Dr. Octopus" from the derogatory name that his co-workers had given him.[6] Though Doctor Octopus himself is portly, in poor physical shape, and is near-sighted, with his harness attached he is physically more than a match for Spider-Man. The accident also made his eyes very sensitive to light, requiring him to wear glasses with shaded lenses.[8]

In their first encounter, Doctor Octopus defeated Spider-Man, tossing him out of a window. Following this defeat, Spider-Man considered giving up his heroic career, but was inspired to continue his heroic career by the Human Torch, and ultimately defeated Doctor Octopus.[6]

Over the years, Dr. Octopus has become one of the most identifiable members of Spider-Man's rogues gallery. Doctor Octopus formed the original Sinister Six to fight Spider-Man after taking Betty Brant and May Parker hostage.[9] He has led subsequent Sinister Six groups, and usually takes offense when someone else leads the team. Disguised as the Master Planner, he organized a theft of atomic equipment. After he stole a formula that Spider-Man needed to cure his Aunt May, Spider-Man tracked Doctor Octopus' gang to their base. In the ensuing fight, Spider-Man became trapped underneath a collapsed building. Seemingly doomed, Spider-Man was ultimately able to draw upon sheer force of will to summon the strength to escape.[10] It is later revealed he used a scuba tank to escape.[volume & issue needed]

Doctor Octopus later attempts to steal the Defense Department's Nullifier device, and sets a trap for Spider-Man.[11] He became May Parker's tenant,[12] then got close enough to use the Nullifier on Spider-Man; although he had hoped that it would merely nullify Spider-Man's web-shooters, the radiation in Spider-Man's blood resulted in the Nullifier's interaction with Spider-Man's unique biology rendering him amnesiac,[13] Doctor Octopus subsequently tricking Spider-Man into helping him before Spider-Man's own better nature resulted in him turning against his 'partner' despite his memory loss long enough for John Jameson to use the Nullifier to shut down his tentacles.[14]

Doctor Octopus later exhibited the ability to activate his mechanical arms remotely, and used them to free himself from prison.[15] His resulting battle with Spider-Man resulted in Captain George Stacy's death.[16] Doctor Octopus later waged a gang war with Hammerhead.[17] He attempted to wed May Parker in order to acquire an island with an atomic plant which she had recently unknowingly inherited.[18] Doc Ock escaped death when the island was destroyed, and began a life as a homeless person.[19] He next battled the "ghost" of Hammerhead, and was able to return him to human form and defeat him after a temporary alliance with Spider-Man.[20]

Doctor Octopus later attempted to hijack an atomic submarine.[21] He also attempted to poison New York City with printers' ink, and battled the Punisher and Spider-Man.[22] He next battled the Owl and his gang.[23] He successfully deactivated a nuclear reactor in a laboratory before meltdown.[24] He later displayed symptoms which Mister Fantastic diagnosed as multiple personality disorder.[25] Doctor Octopus was taken to the Beyonder's Battleworld, where he fought a horde of heroes and plotted against Doctor Doom for leadership of the group of villains. He was able to defeat the X-Men until Magneto came to the mutants' aid.[26]


His crowning achievement of evil was the near-fatal beating of the Black Cat (Spider-Man's then-partner) which led to Spider-Man beating Doc Ock to within an inch of his life. The trauma of the beating he received from Spider-Man left Otto Octavius afraid of Spider-Man and spiders in general for years, and he needed to be treated for his acute arachnophobia.[27] Spider-Man was forced to let his nemesis beat him in combat so as to allow Octavius to break free of his fears and recruit him to save New York City from an exploding nuclear reactor; Octavius had been planning to detonate the reactor to kill Spider-Man indirectly, but after his out-of-control arms beat Spider-Man seemingly senseless, Spider-Man convinced him to shut down the reactor to ensure that there were witnesses to his 'great triumph'. Octavius decided to let Spider-Man live on the grounds that he would now have to cope with the same humiliation he had endured.[28]

Death and resurrection

During the Clone Saga, Doctor Octopus saved Spider-Man from certain death from a poison injected by the Vulture, although this was only because he desired to be the one to kill Spider-Man.[29] During the healing process he discovered Spider-Man's identity and then allowed himself to be taken in by police, expecting to be saved by his accomplice/lover Stunner. However, Stunner was knocked out and Doc Ock was murdered by the insane clone Kaine.[30] Carolyn Trainer took over as "Doctor Octopus" until her teacher was resurrected by a branch of the mystical ninja cult known as the Hand.[31] Upon his resurrection, it was revealed that he had no knowledge of Spider-Man's identity, as the memories he gained came from a computer chip provided by Carolyn Trainer, and the memory of Spider-Man's identity had not been recorded at the time of his death.[32]

Subsequent schemes

In later years, Otto Octavius attempted to create his own personal assassin in the form of a villainous mutated entity he dubbed "Spider-Woman". He has also had to deal with another usurper, in the form of arrogant young businessman and con artist Carlyle, who pretended to employ Octavius at his company.[33] Tiring of his life of crime and wishing to return to an engineering career, Octavius accepted the employment offer. This proved to be a ruse, and Carlyle subdued Doctor Octopus and stole his technology, using it to create his own version of Octavius' harness.[34] During a prolonged battle with Octavius and Spider-Man, Carlyle was defeated when Doc Ock ripped open his suit, allowing Spider-Man to fill Carlyle's suit with webbing, although Doc Ock informed his enemy that he only did this to hurt Carlyle rather than to help Spider-Man.[35]

Then, Dr. Octopus took the ambassador of the newly formed Free Palestinian State hostage, demanding that in exchange for the ambassador's freedom, Spider-Man would meet him in Times Square and unmask himself in front of the world. When Spider-Man went to Times Square, he pulled off his mask to reveal another mask, angering Octavius enough to distract him from the release of the ambassador by agents of the Israeli Secret Service.[36]

Dr. Octopus was taken to Ryker's Island and was drugged and brainwashed to take down the Green Goblin. He interrupted a battle between Spider-Man and Green Goblin on the Brooklyn Bridge, and the two villains were struck by lightning and fell into the river below. Octopus was dragged out days later with no memories of the event.[37]

While hiding in a plant that was owned by the villain Fusion, Octavius was apparently forced to work for Fusion in helping him recover the 'John Hancock' satellite, once used to find nuclear weapons but now capable of finding potentially radioactive superhumans such as the Hulk or Spider-Man.[38] Although Fusion had apparently forced Octavius into submission, Octavius eventually revealed that he had merely been faking his submission so that Fusion could do all the hard work of finding the satellite for Octavius to sell off,[39] subsequently beating Fusion half to death and attempting to sell the satellite himself before he was caught and defeated by Spider-Man.[40]

Civil War

Octavius unsuccessfully tried to form and lead another version of the Sinister Six, because Captain America's Secret Avengers managed to defeat the villainous group, although Ock himself eluded authorities.[volume & issue needed] In Sensational Spider-Man #28, Dr. Octopus is seen viewing a telecast of Peter Parker revealing himself to be Spider-Man. Doc Ock then goes rampaging throughout the city, in utter disbelief that not only was he beaten numerous times by a teenager, but of the lost opportunity he had when he unmasked Parker in one of their first encounters (at the time, Peter was severely weakened by a bad case of flu and Octavius assumed he was an impostor). He is again defeated by Spider-Man, who confronts Dr. Octopus unmasked, after two of Peter's students distract Octavius.[volume & issue needed] He is then sent to Baron Zemo's supervillain detention facility (as seen in Thunderbolts #104 and Iron Man Vol IV #14). Later, Spider-Man contacts Octavius to see if he can help with Aunt May's condition.[41]


Doctor Octopus is now dying, suffering from the consequences of the punishment his body took in his whole villainous career. As such, he becomes increasily despondent and brazen in his plans against Spider-Man, enhancing his failing body with technology and trying to exert control over New York City by using his newly minted Octobots. He also targets aggressively May Parker (guilty of being due to marry J. Jonah Jameson's father J. Jonah Jameson, Sr.) and the allies of Spider-Man, vowing revenge when stopped.[42]

In his desperate attempts to prolong his life, Otto Octavius reforms the Sinister Six, wishing to acquire Menace's unborn son, becoming able to synthesize a pure strain of the Goblin Serum,[43] only to be thwarted again by the efforts of Spider-Man and the guilty conscience of the Lizard,[44] reigniting his bitterness towards his foe, but gaining a grudging acknowledgment of his abilities.[45] Octavius and Spider-Man keep crossing their ways during the following months, with the Avengers fighting a new iteration of the Sinister Six,[45] Doctor Octopus sending a remote Octobot in John Jameson's shuttle,[46] and Octavius contacting Iron Man to force him find a cure for his degenerative condition.[47] However, when Iron Man genuinely offers him to have the brightest minds in the Marvel Universe finding a viable cure,[48] Octavius smugly refuses in favour of witnessing Stark admit that he can't do it and beg for mercy to disarm a device that Octavius had claimed was a bomb, basking in this "proof" of his supposedly superior intellect.[49]

His attempts to prolong his life however doesn't hinder a more vast, sinister plan in which he has the Sinister Six fighting the Avengers Academy for a piece of Hank Pym's technology,[50] the Future Foundation for a piece of Reed Richard's tech [51] and the Intelligencia for the Zero Cannon, a powerful antigravity weapon,[52] later revealing to have gained something useful from his early foray in John Jameson's shuttle.[53] All this careful preparation came to fruition during the "Ends of the Earth" storyline,[54] where the apparently mismatched pieces of technology stolen are used to build a satellite net, the Octavian Lens, able to alter the world's climate by enhancing or smothering solar rays.

Doctor Octopus at first claims to have a benevolent intent, wishing to halt the greenhouse effect in exchange from gratitude and recognition,[55] but he's soon exposed by Spider-Man (having enhanced himself with new Horizon Labs-built tech[56]), Black Widow and Silver Sable, and his real plan (immolate a great part of entire population to prevent anyone from surviving his impending death, having the survivors remember him in perpetual fear and awe) is exposed.[57] Playing over his ego, Spider-Man manages to stall him, by reminding that, even if he managed to have anyone surviving a drastic heating of the entire Earth, the survivors would likely be brain-damaged, and such unable to remember his actions.[58] He then roughly defeats him, in retaliation for Silver Sable's death, openly mocking and berating his efforts by claiming that, because of the Octavian Lens' destruction and his declining health, he's now going to die alone, forgotten and without a legacy.[59]

"Death" and Rebirth

Even captivity and incarceration are unable to stop Otto Octavius. Since Spider-Man was forced to access the Octobots' hive mind several times in previous months,[56][60] he unwittingly gave Octavius a full, unrestricted access to his mind and as such he becomes able to program a lone Octobot to swap their mind pattern. Octavius is now in Peter Parker's body and able to access his foe's memories but with none of his restraints content of living his civilian life and planning for his future while his foe is now trapped in Octavius' failing body.[61]

Peter is able to recruit Trapster, Hydro-Man and Scorpion with the task of keeping him alive and capturing "Spider-Man" in an attempt to reverse the mind swap. However, Trapster's portable life support can give Peter only 700 minutes to live.[62] As such, Peter openly antagonizes "Spider-Man". While Peter's attempt to reclaim his body fails, he's able to imbue his nemesis with his very memories and values before apparently dying in Octavius' crippled body. Distraught, Octavius (in a sudden surge of empathy for his sworn nemesis) vows to steer himself away from villainy and accepts Peter's dying wish of having a Spider-Man protect New York. Octavius claims that since he now holds the physical might and the good values embodied by Spider-Man but also the boundless ambition and the scientific mindframe of Doctor Octopus, he will surpass the "Amazing Spider-Man" becoming a "Superior Spider-Man".[63]

The Superior Spider-Man

Within Spider-Man's body, Otto Octavius starts his new career as a hero by redesigning his gear and putting his past as a villain behind himself.[64] However, he soon finds himself the target of several villains, such as an Octavius-tech enhanced Stilt-Man,[65] Boomerang, Overdrive, Shocker, Speed Demon, the new female Beetle, and the Living Brain,[66] all of them trying to take over the place left by the seemingly dead Doctor Octopus and his Sinister Six. While they're still no match for the new, more ruthless Spider-Man, his violence and new mannerisms start to tip off several of his close friends and allies, such as the whole Horizon Labs, Daredevil,[65] Wolverine (explicitly forbidden to have Spider-Man's mind telepathically scanned under the threat of legal action in court),[67] Mary Jane Watson,[66] and Carlie Cooper.[68]

Despite his accomplishments, Octavius is revealed to be still haunted by Peter Parker's lingering spirit, unable to reassert control over Spider-Man's shared body, but actively hampering his efforts to stray from Peter's values, and trying to reclaim his body.[68] Despite Peter's lingering influence, Octavius's refusal of Peter's values and perceived screw-ups prompts him to "rectify" some mistakes: "Peter" enrolls back to college, pursuing actively the PhD Peter denied himself in the past,[69] and breaks the self-imposed "no-kill rule" by taking a proactive stance against evildoers and criminals, shooting the villain Massacre even after Massacre appeared to show signs of recovering from the brain damage that motivated his crimes,[70] and violently assaulting Jester and Screwball for a relatively minor insult.[71] These actions prompted the Avengers to confront "Spider-Man" about his recent activities, recognizing that their friend would never act in such a manner.[72] When their subsequent analysis confirms that he is still biologically Peter Parker - the team's resident geniuses being otherwise occupied and thus unable to make more detailed analyses - Octavius explains that he is merely dealing with stress over recent events, Peter's attempt to scrawl a picture-warning failing. After Octavius saves a brain-damaged child during his assault on Earth using a neurological scanner, he reveals that he is aware of Peter's presence and intends to perform a 'Parker-ectomy' to try to remove Peter from his brain.[73]

Attempting a mind wipe of all of Peter's memories to destroy the living consciousness completely, Octavius manages to delete the Daily Bugle memory. Realizing Peter would not surrender, Octavius directly engages his foe in Spider-Man's mind. After beating Peter to a pulp by breaking his spirit with the knowledge Peter was willing to sacrifice a girl to keep Octavius from finding him, Octavius declares his final victory while calling Peter unworthy to be called Spider-Man and believes that he deleted all of Spider-Man's memories. Returning to the real world, Octavius rejoices from his belief that he is free and has achieved victory over Spider-Man.[74] But this erasure has also deprived him of Spider-Man's memories, leaving it more difficult for him to pose as Spider-Man, with some of Peter's friends (such as Carlie, Mary Jane, and J. Jonah Jameson, Sr.) questioning Spider-Man's more brutal approach.[75] While Octavius has developed more detailed resources than Peter possessed as Spider-Man, such as creating a small army of Spider-bots and Spiderling allies to assist him, as well as helping Cyclops trap the body-hopping mutant Malice in a specially-designed containment unit,[76] he continues to resort to more questionable methods, such as killing Alistair Smythe,[77] and blackmailing Jameson into giving him free rein in New York by threatening to expose the fact that Jameson asked him to do this. During a series of confrontations with his former allies in the Sinister Six, he also attempted to brainwash them into becoming his new 'team', resulting in him being forced to join forces with new hero Sun Girl when the Six snapped out of his control and tried to kill him.[78]

Octavius's focus on the larger scale also resulted in him missing the Green Goblin's efforts to establish a new criminal empire, with Green Goblin rescuing criminals who have escaped Spider-Man and recruiting them into his new gang as Octavius never followed them where Spider-Man would have done so. His fixation in proving himself Spider-Man's superior reached a particular climax when Spider-Man 2099 came to the past to deal with a temporal anomaly,[79] with Octavius becoming so fixated with solving the problem and keeping his identity secret that he actually attacked the future Spider-Man rather than ask for his help,[80] his actions resulting in the destruction of Horizon Labs because he couldn't solve the vibranium-related equations that Peter was able to resolve. Unknown to Octavius, Peter's memories managed to survive the deletion. When Octavius attempts to access Spider-Man's memories (because Octavius can only view memories that were looked at before the delete), Peter is shown lifting the 'rocks' off himself from the mental battle.[81]

When Carlie had found evidence that Doctor Octopus' mind is in Spider-Man's body, she mourns Peter in Doctor Octopus' grave. The grave then collapses and Carlie falls in where she discovers that Doctor Octopus' body is not there. After Carlie has been captured by Menace, the Goblin King receives Carlie's journal from Menace where Goblin King discovers evidence in there that states that Doctor Octopus' mind is in Spider-Man's body.[82]

Following him being possessed by the Venom symbiote, Octavius receives unexpected help from Peter Parker's conscious, though Octavius is still unaware that Peter survived their mental duel. Peter decides to maintain a low profile until Octavius does something that will cause him to spring into action.[83] Peter finds that Octavius's delete has left him with very few memories of his own, but after realizing those he still has are the ones that define him, vows not to give up, and that he will regain control of his body.[84] The Superior Spider-Man finds himself facing the full force of the Goblin Underground since the possession of the Venom symbiote 31 days ago. When the Superior Spider-Man finally confronts the Goblin King, he mentions that he knows about Doctor Octopus' mind-swap with Spider-Man. The Goblin King then makes his next move by having missiles targeted at Spider-Island II.[85]

Octavius survived the bombardment and escaped with The Living Brain.[volume & issue needed] He then tries to find the Goblin King, however before he can do that, Menace takes Anna hostage.[volume & issue needed] Meanwhile the Goblin destroys all the buildings that mean something to Octavius, to punish him for robbing the Goblin of his dream: Killing Spider-Man.[volume & issue needed] Octavius is lured to Empire state University, where he finds Don Lamaze.[volume & issue needed] During the ensuing fight, Lamaze takes a blade meant for Octavius and dies in Superior Spider-man's arms.[volume & issue needed] Heading to Alchemax, he is confronted by Spider-man 2099, who takes control of the spider-slayers and demands answers.[volume & issue needed] However before he gets them, Goblin King reactivates the Slayers to kill the Spiders, stating Norman Osborn now rules New York.[volume & issue needed] Although he manages to escape, Octavius is forced to realize that he has failed in his goal to be a 'Superior' Spider-Man when the restored Peter Parker takes over to save a child from a runaway train where Octavius hesitated, reflecting that he is aware of his fundamental inferiority as he overcompensates while Peter holds himself back but acts when he has to. Octavius then willingly deletes his own consciousness so that Peter can regain control of his body. As Octavius's last memories fade, it is shown he had really fallen in love with supporting character Anna Maria Marconi, much to Peter's surprise. Octavius tells Peter he's willing to give up his love to keep her safe - something only Peter can do as the true Superior Spider-Man - and urges the hero to save New York in his place.[86]


In the run-up to Spider-Verse, it is revealed that, while dealing with the temporal anomalies caused by Horizon's time portal, Octavius was sent to the year 2099 by accident. Trapped in the future, he attempted to return home by creating a dimensional portal, but found himself travelling to various alternate universes - including one where Spider-Man joined the Fantastic Four and a variation of the House of M - where all the Spider-Men were dead. Realizing that something was hunting Spider-Men across other dimensions, Octavius began to gather some of the more ruthless Spider-Men into a team that could oppose whatever was killing them, including Spider-Man Noir, a multi-armed Spider-Man, Pavitr Prabhakar, and a Peter Parker working in black ops with Wolverine.[87] As the crisis unfolds, Octavius takes command of a group of alternate Spider-Men, considering himself particularly qualified to lead them due to his unique nature and willingness to kill,[volume & issue needed] but when his team is confronted by another group led by the Peter Parker of Earth-616 - who Octavius presumes is a past Peter as he cannot contemplate the possibility that he will fail- he is forced to concede to Peter's leadership when Peter defeats him in a fight, Peter stating that killing Morlun and the Inheritors is not the answer as they will just come back and they need a new plan.[88] Although he realizes that Peter comes from his future when Peter recognizes Anna Maria's name, Otto is forced to acknowledge his own failures when he learns that another Earth where Ben Parker was the Spider-Totem was reduced to a nuclear wasteland due to the actions of his own local counterpart.[89]

To stop the Inheritors from travelling around the multiverse, hunting all animal totems as fast as possible, Octavius identified the Master Weaver as the source of their abilities to traverse the multiverse, and killed him. However, Morlun feared the consequences of this action,[90] resulting in Karn, the surviving defected Inheritor, taking the Weaver's place (although it was noted that the Weaver was actually Karn's future self, creating a complex temporal paradox). Having learned that he was 'destined' to be replaced by Peter Parker, Octavius attempted to attack the multiversal web to 'save' himself from his destiny, claiming that he was giving the spiders the 'gift' of free will, but the Earth-616 spiders were able to defeat him as their surviving allies returned to their home dimensions. Before he departed, Octavius issued a time-delayed message to the Anna Maria program, intended to activate 100 days after he returned to his home time, but upon his return to his time, his memory of his time with the Spider-Army is erased, allowing history to unfold as it should.[91]

Powers and abilities

Otto Octavius is a genius in the field of atomic physics, and he holds a Ph. D. in nuclear science. A brilliant engineer and inventor, he is also a superb strategist and a charismatic leader. His genius in radiation is so exceptional that he was once called upon by Mister Fantastic of the Fantastic Four to offer his expertise when the Invisible Woman suffered from complications during her second pregnancy as a result of the cosmic radiation that had given the team their powers.[25]

Due to exposure to atomic radiation, Doctor Octopus has acquired the mental ability of psychokinetic control over the four electrically powered, telescoping, prehensile, titanium-steel artificial tentacle "arms" (a degree of psychokinetic control over them that he can also exercise over vast distances even when they are not connected to him) that are attached to a stainless-steel harness encompassing his lower torso. Each of these four arms is capable of lifting several tons, provided that at least one arm is used to support his body. The reaction time and agility of his mechanical appendages are enhanced far beyond the range attainable for normal human musculature. The arms allow Octavius to move rapidly over any terrain and to scale vertical surfaces and ceilings. He has developed his concentration and control to the point that he can engage a single opponent, like Spider-Man, or multiple opponents with the arms while performing a completely separate, more delicate task, such as stirring coffee or constructing a machine. Due to his weight and age, his opponents are often lured into a false sense of security, only to find he is a formidable combatant. He has managed to force opponents as formidable as Spider-Man, Daredevil, and Captain America to take up a defensive position in a fight.[92]

Doctor Octopus has also employed an armored body suit enabling him to breathe underwater and designed to withstand extreme water pressure.[volume & issue needed]

Doctor Octopus has begun wearing a full-body armor suit due to a crippling illness caused by the amount of punishment he has sustained over the years, made even worse by the fact that his ability to take damage is still at a human norm, even if he can deliver a superhuman level of punishment; he relies completely on his arms to prevent opponents with superhuman strength getting in close enough to damage his relatively unfit physical form even before his illness. To compensate, he has covered his entire body with his new suit, his normal arms are bound to his chest, and four additional tentacles have been added to his harness. He has also developed psychokinetic-telepathic control over an army of "Octobots" (small octopus-like drones).[42]


Doctor Octopus has possessed a total of three different harnesses during his career: the original titanium harness, a more powerful adamantium harness, and a carbonanium harness with tentacles bearing an octopus-like motif. The original and adamantium harnesses were both destroyed in the Lethal Foes of Spider-Man miniseries.

His current harness is made of a titanium-steel-niobium alloy mixture that is dense but light weight in composition. While wearing the harness, the arms are powerful enough to allow him to walk up sheer concrete walls and move about quickly. They are also used to grab items, both small and large, and as literal weapons in terms of being swung at objects and people like clubs. The pincers at the end of each tentacle can also be used to cut and tear into the flesh of his enemies. His sheer power using these appendages was great enough to beat Daredevil, a seasoned combatant with superhuman senses, almost to death.[93]

The adamantium harness was powerful enough to both restrain and pummel the Hulk into submission during a series written by Erik Larsen. The adamantium in his tentacles made besting Iron Man in combat possible, tearing the hero's armor apart with a defeat so harsh that Tony Stark began to doubt his abilities almost enough to allow his persistent problem with alcohol abuse to flare up.[94] The harness is also capable of holding a small jetpack allowing him to fly to places faster and able to evade Spider-Man more easily. Doctor Octopus is even capable of whirling his tentacles around to deflect small projectiles like bullets.

Eventually, Dr. Octopus' harness was surgically removed, but he was still able to control it mentally, even at a distance. This power was initially explained as having been caused by the initial accident; Octopus and his arms were fused together mentally as well as physically. In fact, when the original harness was destroyed, it caused Octavius excruciating pain. He was seen sweating profusely and screaming.[volume & issue needed] Later stories suggest that Octavius possessed minor telepathic powers that gave him a direct mental link with his harness. These telepathic powers were also hinted at to have caused a brain aneurysm in his father when they first developed during puberty.[volume & issue needed] However, the original controls for the harness remain on the first version, with Mister Fantastic managing to use these controls to shut down the tentacles when he needed Octavius's help, though it is obviously impractical to use this regularly, given Reed Richards's unique powers.[volume & issue needed]

Powers as Spider-Man

Having taken over Spider-Man's body,[61] Otto Octavius gains possession of all of Spider-Man's powers, abilities, memories, and equipment.[63] But he loses access to Spider-Man's memories after apparently removing his foe from their shared mind.[74]

But as a way to reaffirm his perceived superior mind, he tinkered with the original Spider-Man costume, adding some carbonadium plating over his neck and skull,[63] talons on his hands and feet, split-toed footwear fashioned as jika-tabi shoes, a slightly different, more imposing spider-motif on his back and enhanced lenses in his costume, with HUD and tracking abilities.[95]

He also retains access to some of his former Doctor Octopus hideouts, coupling Horizon Tech-derived inventions with his own peculiar brand of technology.[95]


The Octobots are octopus-themed robots that are created by Doctor Octopus. There are two different kinds of Octobots:

  • The first model of the Octobot seen is a little metal ball with eight legs which are controlled mentally by Doctor Octopus via a remote control. These Octobots can also be used to attack, to perform different tasks, and attach themselves to anyone so that Doctor Octopus can control them.
  • The second model of the Octobot seen is a giant metallic robot which Doctor Octopus uses to attack huge constructions.

The Octobots have at least two known variations:

  • The Spider-Slayers - These Spider-Slayers that appeared in Spider-Island are actually first generation Octobots that Spider-Man had laden with a special serum which was used to cure the Spider-Virus that slowly turned everyone into Man-Spiders.
  • The Spider-Bots - The Spider-Bots are small red and blue spiders. While inside Spider-Man's body, he controlled them by remote and able to enact constant surveillance over the whole New York city, perform different tasks and control technology.

Other versions

Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man

In the 1976 DC/Marvel intercompany crossover Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man, Doctor Octopus forms an alliance with fellow criminal scientist Lex Luthor, in an effort to conquer the world and kill their archenemies—Spider-Man and Superman. However once he realizes that Luthor intends to destroy most of the planet Earth, Octopus betrays Luthor and attempts to stop him, but is defeated (Spider-Man subsequently defeats Luthor, and Superman prevents the East Coast of the United States from being destroyed by a Luthor-created tidal wave).[96]

Chapter One

Otto Octavius appears in the Spider-Man: Chapter One reimagining of Spider-Man's origin. This version of the character was transformed into Doctor Octopus in the same accident that caused a spider to become radioactive, leading to Peter Parker's transformation into Spider-Man.[97]

House of M

In the House of M reality created by the Scarlet Witch, Otto Octavius makes an appearance as a researcher for the government where he is seen studying stem cells.[volume & issue needed]

Marvel 1602

In the Marvel 1602 universe, a version of Dr. Octopus appears in the Spider-Man 1602 miniseries.[98] Baron Victor Octavius is an Italian nobleman living in France. His attempts to use the blood of octopuses to cure himself of bubonic plague have resulted in his becoming a deformed octopus-like monster,[volume & issue needed] he is also associated with fellow Dr. Curtis Connors, transforming him into The Lizard.[volume & issue needed] A potion derived from the blood of Hal McCoy by the natural philosopher Henri Le Pym keeps him human, but is growing steadily less effective.[volume & issue needed] He believes that the blood of Peter Parquagh might be the basis of a more effective potion.[volume & issue needed] He is later killed by a transformed Le Pym's giant foot.[99]

Marvel Zombies

On Earth-2149 (a world in which almost all heroes and villains are zombies) an undead Doctor Octopus first appears in the Marvel Zombies series alongside several other zombie supervillains attempting to kill and devour the invading Galactus; this incarnation of Doctor Octopus is apparently destroyed piecemeal by several cosmically powered hero zombies after he got in the way of an attack they were aiming at the invading Galactus.[100]

In the prequel series to Marvel Zombies, Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness and Marvel Zombies: Dead Days, the zombie Doctor Octopus makes only a few cameo appearances, as a member of the undead Sinister Six. Another alternate version appears in Marvel Zombies Return as a member of the Sinister Six. He was ripped in half and infected by the reality-hopping Zombie Spider-Man. The Doctor's body is then destroyed and devoured by a zombified Spider-Man and then was spit out (because zombie meat tasted terrible to other zombies) after he and the rest of the Sinister Six has devoured Peter's friends.[101]


In the MC2 alternate continuity, it is revealed that Doctor Octopus attacked the Daily Bugle shortly after the disappearance/retirement of Spider-Man, killing editor-in-chief Joseph "Robbie" Robertson. This motivates Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson to initiate "Project: Human Fly", an attempt to create a government controlled superhero. Mercenaries (later revealed to be in the employ of Doctor Octopus) attempt to steal the Human Fly suit, but are thwarted when Jameson's grandson takes the suit (the controls of which bond to the first user) and becomes the superhero The Buzz. The Buzz and Spider-Girl eventually apprehend Doctor Octopus, who—now being struck with cancer—falls into a coma from which he is not expected to recover.[volume & issue needed] Later, the mantle of Doctor Octopus is taken up by Lady Octopus.[volume & issue needed]

Marvel Noir

In the Spider-Man Noir series as part of the Marvel Noir universe, his name first appears in the Daily Bugle newspaper as one of the biologists undertaking an oceanic voyage on a research ship named "The Atlantis'.[102] He appears in person in issue one of the sequel series, "Eyes Without a Face". Here, he is a doctor working in a facility on Ellis Island. His legs are crippled and withered, and he travels in a wheelchair with six long metal claw-like tentacles sticking out. He is officially conducting experiments on primates, to study their brains in connection with evolution, and in the end, it is shown he is secretly taking in kidnapped African-Americans for his own more secret experiments. He is later revealed to in fact be working with the Nazis and their American proxies, "Friends of New Germany", with the plot of making all minorities into mindless slaves. However, his experiments are uncovered by Spider-Man, and although he is allowed to leave the country due to his past service to America, he is subsequently rejected by the Nazis as they believe his crippled body reflects a crippled mind that could produce nothing of value for them.[103]

Spider-Man: India

In Spider-Man: India, Dr. Octopus is featured as a minion/meek doctor who is transformed by Nalin Oberoi into a mystical version of Doctor Octopus to find and kill Pavitr Prabhaker, the Indian version of Spider-Man.[104] He is later killed by Oberoi, while trying to help Spider-Man rescue MJ and Aunt Meera from Oberoi.[105]

Spider-Man: Reign

In Spider-Man: Reign, as conceived by Kaare Andrews, in which many superheroes had grown old and retired, Octavius appeared to save Spider-Man from death at the hands of an older version of the Sinister Six.[volume & issue needed] While he originally appeared to merely be world-weary, relying on his 'four sons' (his tentacles) to keep him alive, he revealed via monologue that he had in fact been dead for months, and had left the tentacles a program that would force them into action to find Spider-Man.[volume & issue needed] Furthermore, the tentacles were used to play the tape on which his monologue is recorded, and take him to the graveyard where his loved ones lay.[volume & issue needed] The hope is to use Spider-Man to reignite the age of the super powered beings, as both Doctor Octopus and Spider-Man were born from nuclear accidents.[106]


A version of Doctor Octopus is a member of the Six Men of Sinestry of the dimension Earth-803, set in Industrial Age New York. Their objective was to steal the mayor's plan, but although they succeeded in the theft, they were forced to retreat after a battle with Lady Spider.[107] In a later confrontation with Lady Spider and Spider-Man 2099, Miguel manages to examine Octopus's equipment and notes that it is powered by a radioactive material with improper shielding, musing that he would be dead of cancer within a year if he kept using the tentacles.[108]

In a world where Ben Parker was the Spider-Totem, Doctor Octopus attempted to blackmail the world with a stolen nuclear device. Even though the demands were met, something went wrong where most of Earth was reduced to a nuclear wasteland with Ben Parker only surviving because he was hidden in Ezekial's bunker after the deaths of his family at the hands of Emerald Elf drove him to retire.[89]

Ultimate Marvel

The Ultimate Marvel version of Doctor Octopus is younger and very muscular. While the original incarnation wore sunglasses due to nearsightedness, the Ultimate Spider-Man version wears them to disguise horrible wounds inflicted on his eyes during the accident that created him, that leave him very sensitive to light. His arms are also different: he modifies them so that their ends are made up of nanobots, and thus can have various lethal accessories, transforming the three-pronged 'claws' into flamethrowers, tasers, and machine guns. Ultimate Six revealed he had a psychic link with his arms and could control them remotely.[volume & issue needed] Ultimate Spider-Man #103 expanded on this, revealing he also has the ability to manipulate metal.[109]

Dr. Otto Octavius is introduced as a scientist at OsCorp and secretly a corporate spy for Justin Hammer, Norman Osborn's business rival. He is caught in a lab accident that also turns Norman into the Green Goblin. After this accident, his traditional metal arms are grafted onto his body and he is able to communicate with these mechanical arms via telepathy. He modifies his arms to have the power to morph into different shapes, and then seeks revenge against Hammer, but Spider-Man intervenes. Although Octavius is defeated by Spider-Man, Justin perishes due to a heart attack caused by Octavius attacking him. Afterwards, Octavius is brought into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody where he, along with Osborn, form the Ultimate Six, consisting of some of Spider-Man's rogues gallery. There are only five villains to begin with, but Osborn planned to bring Spider-Man into the group. The five attack S.H.I.E.L.D. and capture an unmasked Spider-Man. They tie him to a chair, and Osborn humiliates Peter by recounting the accident that created him, and he and Otto's involvements. Osborn then blackmails Peter Parker into joining them, threatening Mary Jane Watson's life. In a battle between the Six and the Ultimates on the White House lawn, Octopus is taken down by the Wasp. Octavius is separated from his tentacles and held in a different prison far away from them. Octavius later finds out that his ex-wife is giving the rights to use his likeness in the Spider-Man film. Outraged, he summons his tentacles from the S.H.I.E.L.D. facility and goes on a rampage. He manages to capture Spider-Man, and he brings him aboard an airplane, ties him to a chair, and unmasks him. From there, he inflicts humiliation and torture on to Peter, mocking him as a teenager, pulling a tooth out, and webbing his mouth. Peter escaped, and defeats Octavius. Back in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, Nick Fury melts Doctor Octopus' mechanical arms in front of him and instructs the guards to watch the melting mechanism for at least an hour afterwords to make sure the arms would not try to escape. However, in the Ultimate Hobgoblin story arc, it was revealed that a spare set of arms existed within a bunker belonging to Osborn. Plans for these remain to be seen.

In the "Ultimate Clone Saga", Otto Octavius was revealed to be responsible for all the Spider-Man clones, including an older clone believing itself to be Richard Parker, and a Gwen Stacy clone that can transform into the Carnage creature. His experimentation and research was done for the FBI/CIA (both organizations are said to be behind it in different issues) in order to find a way to create super soldiers so the U.S. Government wouldn't have to be reliant on Fury's monopoly on the Ultimates.[volume & issue needed] He smugly reveals he is now outside Fury's jurisdiction and takes pleasure in pointing out to Peter that his work perverts the hero's life. In issue #104, he creates a new set of arms out of metal scraps and battles both Spider-Man and Spider-Woman, killing two other clones in the process, before being knocked out.[109]

Octavius makes a brief appearance in Ultimate Spider-Man #113 confronting Norman Osborn as the latter breaks out of the Triskelion; he attacks his former boss to prevent his escape, informing him that he betrayed him by giving the OZ formula to the FBI. Octavius is beating Osborn senseless until his other former ally Electro intervenes and shocks Octavius with a bolt of electricity, knocking him out.

During the Ultimate Mystery, Doctor Octopus appears as a member of Roxxon's Brain Trust.[110]

Alongside the rest of the Ultimate Six, Otto Octavius plays a role in the "Death of Spider-Man" storyline. Norman Osborn breaks him and the rest out of the Triskelion. After their escape, Osborn informs them that God wishes for them to kill Peter Parker.[111] Octavius wanted to leave the group, because he wanted to live a normal life as a scientist and also said that he took enough pride in helping create Spider-Man. Osborn was outraged by the fact that Octavius tried to share credit for Spider-Man's existence and attacked him. The two of them fought which ended with Osborn pummeling Octavius to death.[112]

Miles Morales later views footage of a fight between his predecessor and Doctor Octopus.[113]

Doctor Octopus' Ultimate version is ranked as the 179th greatest comic book character ever by Wizard.[citation needed]

In other media


Doctor Octopus has appeared in many animated TV series over the years, including the 1960s Spider-Man (voiced by Vernon Chapman), the 1981 Spider-Man (voiced by Stanley Jones), the 1982 The Incredible Hulk (voiced by Michael Bell), Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (voiced by Bell), the 1990s Spider-Man animated series (voiced by Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.), The Spectacular Spider-Man (voiced by Peter MacNicol), Ultimate Spider-Man (voiced by Tom Kenny),[114] Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. (voiced by Tom Kenny), the Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload mini-series (voiced by Tom Kenny), and the anime series Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers (voiced by Dai Matsumoto). The character also appeared in a Robot Chicken comedy sketch voiced by Seth Green.


  • The Spider-Man films' director Sam Raimi has stated that Doc Ock was intended to appear in the first film and team up with Green Goblin, but wasn't included because Raimi thought it "wouldn't do the movie justice to have a third origin in there."[115]
  • Doctor Octopus appears in the 2004 feature film Spider-Man 2, portrayed by Alfred Molina. This version is portrayed as a sympathetic character and he is married to a woman named Rosalie. He first meets Peter Parker when Curt Connors recommends visiting him, warning Peter that all the talent in the world is useless without effort. A disastrous experiment with tritium that Octavius uses his four-armed harness to handle results in Rosalie's death and the fusion of the harness to Octavius. The arms have artificial intelligence that first attack those who attempt to remove them, then later influence Octavius into acting irrationally, and he comes into conflict with Spider-Man when he has exhausted all his capital and resorts to bank robbery in order to continue financing his experiments. He eventually kidnaps Mary Jane Watson to an abandoned pier warehouse where he makes another attempt to harness energy from tritium. When Spider-Man arrives, they do battle, but after Peter willingly reveals his identity, and being reminded of his own words on how science shouldn't be used for evil, Octavius's original personality manages to overpower the A.I. of the arms, and he ultimately sacrifices himself to destroy the tritium reactor before it explodes.
  • Doctor Octopus' mechanical tentacles appear briefly in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, though Otto Octavius never physically appears in the film. The mechanical tentacles are shown to be among the many weapons developed by Oscorp as part of their "Special Projects" program.[116][117][118]

Video games

Doctor Octopus appears in many Spider-Man computer games and video games:

  • Doctor Octopus appears in the Spider-Man Questprobe game.
  • Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. reprises his role of Doctor Octopus in the Spider-Man video game for the PlayStation, Dreamcast, PC, Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Color. Doctor Octopus works with Carnage to turn everyone in New York into symbiotes but they are both defeated by Spider-Man. After being defeated, the Carnage symbiote bonds with Doctor Octopus, turning him into Monster Ock (voiced by Marcus Shirock). After Monster Ock is defeated, the Carnage symbiote separates from Doctor Octopus and he is arrested.
  • Doctor Octopus appeared in the Spider-Man 2 game, voiced by Alfred Molina. He appears as a boss character several times in the game and is the final boss at the end of the game.
  • Doctor Octopus is available as downloadable content for the game LittleBigPlanet as part of "Marvel Costume Kit 1".[119]
  • Doctor Octopus appears in Spider-Man: Edge of Time, voiced by Dave B. Mitchell. When history is altered so that Alchemax was established in the seventies, Otto Octavius is a scientist employed by the company and never turned to crime, although he still uses his tentacles as tools for his research. His in-game bio reveals that the time-travelling company founder Walker Sloan recruited him the day before the accident that would have fused his tentacles to him in the original reality. He and Sloan attempt to use Anti-Venom to kill Spider-Man. But when Spider-Man 2099 intervenes, Doctor Octopus is thrown into a time portal with Sloan and Anti-Venom where they're trapped between the present time and the year 2099 then are subsequently fused into the monstrous Atrocity (voiced by Fred Tatasciore) which uses Doctor Octopus's tentacles and Anti-Venom's ability to negate Spider-Man's powers.
  • Otto Octavius is mentioned several times throughout The Amazing Spider-Man video game (a non-canon sequel to 2012 film of the same name). In the game, it is stated that he is a physicist that was responsible for the creation of Scorpion via his involvement in Oscorp's cross-species genetics program. Octavious is said to have created this creature by fusing human DNA with that of a scorpion and mixing it with a mysterious "black goo". Octavius affectionately named his creation "M.A.C.", an acronym for My Astonishing Creation.[120][121]
  • Doctor Octopus and Superior Spider-Man appear in the MMO Marvel Heroes, voiced by Tom Kenny (Doctor Octopus) and Christopher Daniel Barnes (Superior Spider-Man). Doctor Octopus is featured as a boss in multiple locations while Superior Spider-Man is featured as a playable character.
  • Doctor Octopus appears in Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes.[124] He attempts to warn Mysterio and Green Goblin of the dangers of replicating the Venom symbiote as none of them have been able to control it in the past, but the Goblin and Mysterio dismiss his worry and cut communications with him.
  • Doctor Octopus appears as the fifth member of the Sinister Six to come through the portal in the Spider-Man Unlimited endless runner app, complete with his own underwater research area as his Boss stage. A playable version of Superior Spider-Man is also available to the player.


Toys and collectibles

  • Doctor Octopus has been recreated in action figure form multiple times, first as part of Mattel's Secret Wars line, then later many times by Toy Biz in their Spider-Man and Marvel Legends series, and finally by Hasbro as part of their Spider-Man: Origin series. The movie figure will also be featured in Hasbro's Marvel Legends Spider-Man 3 wave. The action feature from this figure was removed. Hasbro released a Spectacular Spider-Man action figure later.
  • A Doctor Octopus figure was released in 2004 as part of the Marvel Manga Twist'ems line with wind up tentacles.
  • Doctor Octopus has also been recreated in several statues and mini-busts, by the likes of Diamond Select, Art Asylum and Bowen Designs.
  • Doctor Octopus is the third figurine in the Classic Marvel Figurine Collection.

Amusement park rides


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External links