Rave : 2004 : Too Much About Ock

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Date: Feb 2, 2004
Next: Counter Rave
Prev: Are Villains Still Villains?

So now Paul Jenkins would have us believe that Otto Octavius, as a small boy, sat in a room with his father's dead body all by himself overnight. This after his dad, a construction worker apparently practicing his own peculiar brand of Christian Science, came home from an accident with broken ankles, ribs, a shin, a hip, and a shoulder refusing to go to the hospital... even after developing gangrene in his leg! My only question is "why"? Not, "why did his father act like this"? (The whole scenario is too ridiculous to really take seriously.) But rather, "why did Jenkins choose to meddle so unnecessarily in Dr. Octopus' origin?" What was wrong with the original explanation? It was perfect in its Silver Age simplicity. A brilliant, arrogant scientist gets brain damage in an accident that turns him evil. It's not just a silly radioactivity-induced origin. Personality changes have been known to take place with brain injuries. But what do we have now? Just another traumatized kid, driven insane by a deranged parent. Ho hum. Who needs it?

This is what happens, I have no doubt, when word comes down to use a villain and build a five-issue story around him. This is pure guesswork on my part, of course. I can't swear that Paul wouldn't have done a Dr. Octopus story even without the approach of the movie. I can't guarantee that Paul wouldn't have written a five-part tale without the current push to get story arcs re-published in trade paperbacks. And as far as I know, Paul was just burning to tinker with Ock's origin by throwing in this odd little tale of a dysfunctional family. But it sure looks like a writer just coming up with something to pad out a story that he probably wouldn't have written in the first place. Whether it is or isn't, I recommend the quickest possible retcon to this flashback. Ignore it, refute it, show that Ock made it up in the telling, anything! It's in the best interest of the character.