The Superior Spider-Man #11 put the titular hero to the test, and he may come out the other side changed forever. While the former Doctor Octopus has had a transformative crisis of conscience ever since inhabiting the body (and mind) of Peter Parker, the climax to the most recent issue of his series resulted in him making a Faustian bargain to bring his old self back.
Forced into a losing battle with Norman Osborn, the villain presented Otto with a moral dilemma after taking Otto's young friend James hostage. Either Osborn would kill James, or Otto would kill three innocent people. Unable to make a choice either way (and convinced Osborn would default to killing James regardless of the decision made), Otto sent out a signal to another realm and summoned the devil himself.
Mephisto is most often the main stand-in for Satan in the Marvel Universe, and he answered Otto's call promptly. While Otto wanted to make a deal for Mephisto to revert him to his old self for a day -- a conscience-free self who could resolve the moral dilemma easily and beat Norman at his own sociopathic game -- Mephisto insisted that the deal instead be permanent. All that was Peter Parker would be purged from Otto's mind and body, along with any physical and mental illnesses formerly plaguing the doctor.
The angel on Otto's shoulder is the love of his life, Anna Marconi, who urged him against accepting the deal. Anna argued that everything that happened to Otto up until that point made him who he was, including merging with Peter's conscience, but Mephisto argued from the other shoulder that if Otto's moral problems truly resulted from the cerebral trauma from his accident, then he could become a good person, regardless. Convinced, Otto seemingly accepted the deal and the classic Dr. Octopus reemerged once again.
The story echoes the controversial "One More Day" arc that saw Peter make a similar Faustian bargain to save his Aunt May's life. In exchange for Mephisto reinvigorating his loved one, Peter's publicly-known identity was erased from the world's memory, along with his marriage to Mary Jane. The controversy surrounding the story resulted from the regression of Peter's character development and plot progression over the decades prior, but the same situation could prove more promising for his tentacular counterpart.
While it remains to be seen if this is just some trick, bringing back the classic Doc Ock at such a crucial time allows for an exploration of the same argument Mephisto and Anna presented to Otto. Rather than merely reverting the character's growth and development in his years since becoming the Superior Spider-Man, it allows the character to return to his roots while also examining his inner-workings in ways never before seen. The moral growth provided him by subsuming Peter's conscience came too easily. Now, free from that conscience, he will have to put his own to the test to see if he truly can be a Superior Spider-Man.
The element at play that Mephisto will be rejuvenating any physical damage to Otto's brain offers for a new development as well. The fundamental question of nature versus nurture is one ripe with story potential. Rather than merely reverting the character to exactly who he was prior to the last several years' events, it allows the reader to explore what was going on in his mind (or brain) in an intrinsically different way. This could be the perfect opportunity to give One More Day just One More Shot.