Marvel has always had a tendency to twist villains into heroes. Sometimes it sticks, like with Black Widow going from a Red Menace to Avengers mainstay. With the more iconic baddies, it’s always a temporary turn. Following in the stead of characters like Magneto and Doctor Doom, Doctor Octopus is the latest villain to get a heroic do-over in the upcoming Superior Octopus. With his rocky path to heroism so defined and his potential impact so strong, Otto should stay a good guy.
The Master Planner
Otto Octavius is among the most prominent villains in Spider-Man canon. He could even make a legitimate claim to be Spider-Man's arch-nemesis. A gifted scientist and inventor, he’s also selfish and demented. He formed the Sinister Six, tried to marry Aunt May to steal an atomic plant (because comics) and even legit tried to destroy the world.
His greatest victory came in Amazing Spider-Man #700. Successfully swapping bodies with Peter Parker, Octavius was able to become Spider-Man. But imbued with Peter’s memories and morality, he decided to become a hero. Specifically, he wanted to become a superior Spider-Man. And that idea at the core of Superior Spider-Man makes this take on the character stand out.
There’s an argument to be made that Otto is more effective then Peter. He builds drones and recruits assistance. He enhances his suit. He doesn’t hold back in battles, putting real fear in the villains of NYC. He killed. He was a superior Spider-Man, but without that empathy and hope he wasn't amazing.
That's what Otto learned over the course of Superior Spider-Man. He realized that being superior shouldn’t be the mission. Being a hero requires heart and sacrifice, not just logic, to be amazing. In the end, he was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to help Peter save the day (and Anna Maria Marconi, the woman he loved).