Spectacular Spider-Man #6-10 (2004): 1st Kiwi Kid

This “return of Doctor Octopus” story starts with some well-done, quieter moments at Peter Parker’s apartment.  All his friends are there to play a video game marathon, and there are several moments with Peter trying to help Flash engage.  (Flash suffered catastrophic brain damage due to an attack by Green Goblin.)  We are shown hope that he is actually starting to recover motor and brain function.

For the main event, Doctor Octopus attacks.  He tells Spider-Man that he will force him to unmask in Times Square.  His arms are more powerful—due to tinkering—and Spider-Man narrowly escapes this battle, but Ock has a master plan to force the unmasking.

The next day, Ock masterfully lures Spider-Man to a crime scene and sets him up to fall for a kidnapping of the Palestinian Foreign Minister.  The sequence is well-plotted and well written: Ock gets Spider-Man to save some hostages at a museum, but when Spidey arrives he sees that Ock has left through a hole in the floor.  Spider-Man follows and the hole emerges inside Palestine Embassy, where Ock has just made off with the foreign dignitary.  It’s a smart plan because it plays off Spidey’s impulsiveness, which Ock tweaked just the night before in his “you will unmask” threat.

Nicely done.

From there, it’s the familiar third act: Spidey dodging cops and trying to catch Ock.  In a nice final twist, Spider-Man unmasks—just like the Doc wants—but he’s got another mask on underneath!

Of course in the end Spidey takes out the the Doc…And leaves him with a fat shaming note…

Thing is, though, Doctor Octopus has been redesigned to be pretty fit.  Especially for a middle-aged doctor.  At the time, people said this was done to match the movie, but it also makes sense within 616 continuity.  Doc has rigorous fights with Spider-Man and spends a lot of time in prison.  He definitely should be getting more buff.

Also in this story we are introduced to Peter Parker’s Australian neighbor, “Big John Anderson.”  He came to the U.S. to become a superhero’s sidekick.  It’s one of those Marvel coincidences that he moved into the building where Spidey lives.

In this arc, he helps out by taking the identity of “Kiwi Kid” and videotaping the Otto Octavius fight. 

We also learn a pretty harrowing story about Doctor Octopus’ childhood.  Apparently, his father experienced an injury and died slowly in the house while young Otto watched him die.  I don’t really need these kinds of “he’s bad but he had childhood trauma” retcons.  Everyone has stuff that happens to them—becoming an evil maniac who tries repeatedly to blow stuff up and kill people is not excused by having had bad parents.

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