Warning: The following contains spoilers for Superior Spider-Man #12 by Christos Gage, Mike Hawthorne, Wade von Grawbadger, Jordie Bellaire and VC's Calyton Cowles
Doctor Octopus is one of the most iconic of Spider-Man's villains, a long-standing threat who could arguably make the case for being Spider-Man's greatest nemesis. But the character has spent the better part of the last decade in alternate forms, including as the Superior Spider-Man. Having taken the opportunity to try to be a hero, Otto found a new path in life.
That's what makes the events of Superior Spider-Man #12 so shocking: Doctor Octopus is back, and not only did he take the opportunity to bring down a Spider-Man, he also killed yet another version of the Wall-Crawler.
Doc Ock Is BACK!
After having spent some time really trying to be a hero in his own right, Otto Octavius has been faced with a difficult decision. Confronted by an alternate reality version of Norman Osborn who became a twisted version of Spider-Man, Otto was forced to make a deal with Mephisto. Otto loses his cloned body of Peter Parker and reverts back to his old villainous self, the kind of person he believes could stop this version of Norman. While he remembers bits and pieces of his time as Spider-Man, the emotional connections he forged and character development he built up are lost. When Otto attacks Norman, it's as the supervillain he once was, truly reborn for the first time in years.
Doctor Octopus sneaks up on Norman, revealing that his assortment of Octobots are keeping the usually fearsome Spiders-Man -- an army of spiders operating under a hive mind to form a loose humanoid body -- at bay. Norman believes Otto is still defined by his attempts to be a better man. But this theory doesn't go well for Norman, who is quickly overwhelmed by Otto's various harnesses springing to life and attacking Norman all at once.
The harnesses quickly surround Otto and wrap themselves around him. Otto then casually uses the harnasses to break most of the bones in Norman's body, in specific places so they heal poorly. Otto even strips the fragment of the Web of Life and Destiny from Norman, using it to send him back to his world (and presumably give Otto something new to experiment with). It's a brutal dispatching of Spider-Man's deadliest enemy, though the ultimate fate of Spiders-Man is left ambiguous, meaning the (terrifying) version of Spider-Man may yet reappear in the mainstream Marvel Universe.
THE DEATH OF SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN
While he broke Osborn Spider-Man, Otto also ensured the death of another who went by that name -- himself. Or rather, the version of Otto was known as Elliot Tolliver. That character had learned from the mistakes he made in the past, and truly wanted to make up for them. That was an Otto Octavius who learned humility, cooperation, and kindness -- at least to a degree. In the end, that version sacrificed himself to bring back Otto as he once was, all in the name of saving lives that he couldn't otherwise protect.
Anna Maria Marconi and Emma Hernandez, two of the people closest to Otto during his time as a hero, even try to convince him that heroism started inside of him after the battle. They believe that Doctor Octopus could still be a hero, even if he wasn't Spider-Man. But Otto lashes out at the pair, severing all ties with them and announcing that the next time he meets Spider-Man, it will not be as an ally but as someone who can "humble" him.
The Superior Spider-Man appears to be dead once and for all, and Horizon Labs even holds a funeral service to say goodbye to the man. From afar, Doctor Octopus watches his own funeral and resists the urge to visit the people who had mattered so much to him one more time.