Supervillain Origins: Doctor Octopus

Dr. Otto Octavius was once a brilliant mind in the field of atomic research. A renowned inventor, consultant and lecturer, he used his expertise in nuclear physics for the advancement of all mankind. Designing a harness with a set of advanced mechanical arms to assist him with his work in atomic physics, he was soon dubbed "Doctor Octopus." However a lab experiment merged with mind with the harness's artificial intelligence, creating one of Spider-Man's deadliest and most cunning foes. Join WatchMojo.com as we will explore the comic book origins of Doctor Octopus.
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Supervillain Origins: Doctor Octopus

He’s the super intelligent and eight-limbed nemesis of Spider-Man. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we will explore the comic book origins of Dr. Otto Octavius, otherwise known as Doctor Octopus.

As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginings and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen to primarily follow the storyline that unfolded in 1963’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” #3, and was expanded upon in issue #11, and The Amazing Spiderman Annual #1.

Dr. Otto Octavius was once a brilliant mind in the field of atomic research. A renowned inventor, consultant and lecturer, he used his expertise in nuclear physics for the advancement of all mankind.

In fact, he became famously dubbed “Dr. Octopus” when he designed a harness with a set of advanced mechanical arms to assist him with his work in atomic physics. Controlled through a brain interface, the arms were extremely powerful, resistant to radiation and capable of incredibly precise movement. At the same time, he impressed fellow researcher Mary Alice Anders with the invention, causing the co-workers to fall in love.

Happier than he had ever been before, things suddenly took a turn for the worst when his mother voiced her disapproval of the relationship, seeing her as unworthy of his genius. This caused Octavius to call off his engagement.

Resenting the decision, he and his mother soon fell into a bitter argument, causing her to die of a heart attack.

Consumed with guilt, Octavius became angry and distracted. As a result, he failed to follow safety precautions and a radiation leak in the lab resulted in an explosion.

Awakening in the hospital, he soon realized that he not only survived, but the harness had become fused to his body. Due to this, he could control the mechanical arms by thought, without the need for a special interface.

Anxious to return to his work, Octavius became enraged when he noticed that he was being held for observation in a locked room with bars. Seeing himself as having evolved into a supreme being, he instantly saw everyone else as both inferior and jealous. Taking the hospital staff prisoner, he forced them to gather available lab equipment so that he could continue his work.

Soon enough Spider-Man tried to mount a rescue, but was overwhelmed by the doctor’s mechanical tentacles and thrown from the building. While laying in defeat and pondering if this meant the end of Spider-Man, Octopus made a dash for his lab at the Atomic Research Center.
Shaking off the self-doubt, Spider-Man tracked the mad doctor back to the facility and used his web to blind him, before knocking him out with a powerful jab.

Locked away in a specially constructed cell, Octopus bided his time by training himself to better control his limbs, until he was let go due to good behavior.

Eventually, he had the harness surgically removed, but discovered that he could still control its limbs from a great distance without the need for direct contact. Using it to mount crimes, both on and off of his body, he similarly devoted himself to the destruction of Spider-Man.

Despite his poor physical shape, Dr. Octopus has become one of the web crawler’s most famous villains. This is both due to both using his arms and mind to overpower the web slinger, and his formation of The Sinister Six, which was made up of like-minded supervillains. Over the decades, he has appeared in various forms of media, and was even spectacularly brought to life by actor Alfred Molina in Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 2.”
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