How Spider-Man's Life Got Even Stranger After Getting His Body Back From Doctor Octopus

As one of the most popular and busiest superheroes in the business, the answer to “What’s going on with Spider-Man?” is always “A lot.” The very best Spider-Man comics are those that put the beloved wallcrawler through the veritable wringer, and poor Peter Parker seems to go through a personal crisis on a near-yearly basis - and the last decade or so has been no exception.

Spider-Man spent the better part of the early 2010s with his body hijacked by Doctor Octopus, the so-called Superior Spider-Man. In some ways, Spidey’s world has greatly expanded since regaining his faculties, thanks mainly to the arrival of the Spider-Verse, which saw the Spider-Folk of dozens of different alternate universes coming together to battle for their mutual survival. On the other hand, most of Spidey’s adventures still happen at the street level, with stakes that are decidedly personal, but no less consequential or dramatic. 

Whether he’s battling hellbeasts or clones or his new podcast co-host J. Jonah Jameson, Spider-Man is always up to something, and that something is usually one awful experience or another. Living through such moments - and coming out on the other side just as heroic - is what makes Spider-Man an icon. 

  • Spider-Man Went Into The ‘Spider-Verse’… A Couple Of Times

    One of the first things Peter Parker experienced after regaining control of his body from Doctor Octopus was also one of the wildest. The OG Spider-Verse event featured the return of Morlun and his family of Inheritors, a race of interdimensional energy vampires that specifically feast on “spider-tokens” connected to the “Web of Life and Destiny” - or, more simply, folks with spider-powers from various alternate universes.

    The Spider-Man of Earth-616 would wind up leading a Spider-Army against the inheritors, including all the big names: Miles Morales, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Ham, Spider-Man 2099, and even a time-displaced Superior Spider-Man. Though many Spider-People would fall in the fighting that followed, the immortal Inheritors were ultimately beaten and exiled to a planet with high radioactivity, where they’d be trapped for all eternity - or at least until they broke out and everyone did this all over again a couple of years later for Spider-Geddon.

  • Spider-Man’s Old Clone, Ben Reilly, Resurfaced As The Jackal II And Brought Gwen Stacy, Ned Leeds, And Otto Octavius Back To Life

    One of the Spider-People to head into the Spider-Verse crossover was an alternate-universe version of Ben Reilly, Peter Parker’s most famous clone. It had to be an alternate universe version, of course, because the Reilly of Earth-616 had perished years earlier in a battle with the Green Goblin - or so it would seem.

    In actuality, Reilly had long since been returned to life via cloning by his original creator Miles Warren, better known as the Jackal. The Jackal had perfected his cloning process so that clones retained their memories right up until the moment of their demise, making it more like true resurrection than mere genetic duplication. Broken from the constant cycle of life and death, Reilly beat down Warren and took control of his whole operation, dubbing himself the Jackal II and beginning his own Clone Conspiracy.

    In what appeared to be an altruistic gesture, Ben started bringing back all sorts of people that Peter had lost earlier in life: Gwen Stacy, George Stacy, Ned Leeds, and more. He even brought back Otto Octavius in an upgraded body that blended his own DNA with Parker’s. But it was this working relationship with Doc Ock that revealed Reilly’s true intentions. 

    Jackal II kept Otto - and all his other clones - under control by making them reliant on a pharmaceutical he created. Without the medication, the clones would dissolve into puddles of duplicated DNA. He eventually lost the plot so much that he was planning to use a virus to wipe out everyone on Earth, then bring them back as clones so he could control everyone on the planet. Peter Parker, of course, shut Ben down before he could accomplish his goals, but several clones survived the conspiracy - including the new and improved Superior Octopus.

  • Peter Parker Lost Parker Industries, The Billion-Dollar Corporation That Doctor Octopus Had Built While Inhabiting Peter’s Body

    When Peter Parker returned to his body after Otto Octavius had spent a few years piloting it - the result of a lengthy mind-swapping plot - he found his life in a very different place than he’d left it. Reasoning that Parker had wasted vast potential in both his personal and superheroic life, Octavius set out to prove himself the Superior Spider-Man - and also the Superior Peter Parker. 

    Otto, as Peter, went back to college and earned a doctorate. Then he used the funds from a couple of inventions to start up Parker Industries, a company that Otto would quickly grow into a multi-billion dollar corporation. Parker Industries worked in a number of high-tech fields, including aerospace and national defense. 

    When Parker woke up as the CEO and founder of a multinational corporation, he did what he always did, and tried to handle his new power responsibly. He bought the Baxter Building - temporarily vacated by a missing Fantastic Four - and attempted to steer Parker Industries’ technology in a more neighborhood-friendly direction. But when Octavius, returned to life in a clone body, tried to wrest control of PI back, Parker decided the company was too dangerous to fall into Doc Ock’s tentacles again, so he sabotaged it from within and shut the whole thing down. 

    Parker was right back to his typical, down-on-his-luck status quo - but at least the world was safer for it.

  • Peter Met His Long-Lost Sister, Teresa Parker, Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D.

    For much of his early history, Spider-Man was considered a bit of a loner, but that has changed in recent decades. Spidey has joined the Avengers, formed his own cadre of Web-Warriors, and built up an extensive network of friends and supporters. He’s also discovered the existence of his (maybe) long-lost sister, Teresa Parker.
    It had long been known that Peter Parker’s parents, Richard and Mary, were CIA secret agents who perished in the line of duty - but the news that they’d also given birth to a daughter in secret and had her raised by another family was definitely unexpected. Peter was suspicious at first, and it did appear for a time that Teresa might be a fake influenced by the villain Mentallo on the orders of Wilson Fisk, but DNA testing later proved she was Peter’s genuine blood relative.

    Teresa, who had grown up to become an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., went on to team up with her brother on a number of missions, often sporting a pair of high-tech Falcon-esque wings. At one point, the Chameleon attempted to manipulate her into thinking she was a graduate of the same mysterious program he was, and that her “Teresa Parker” identity was a clever fabrication after all, but the truth was left ambiguous, and up for Teresa and the reader to decide.

    Teresa decided she was Peter Parker’s sister.

  • Spidey Revealed His Secret Identity To (Brother-In-Law) J. Jonah Jameson, And Jameson Became His 'Guy In The Chair'

    Spider-Man’s family continued to grow. The decade prior, his Aunt May had married John Jameson Sr., the father of J. Jonah Jameson. This made Peter Parker and Jonah official brothers-in-law, and much hilarity ensued. But then John met his end tragically, and his loss brought Peter and Jonah closer together than ever before.

    During a coerced sit-down interview with Spider-Man, Jameson surprisingly opened up about how awful his life had become since being voted out of office as mayor of New York, and how alone he felt in the world without his wife and father. In a shocking move, Peter decided in the spur of the moment to take his mask off right then and there, letting Jonah know he wasn’t alone. His brother-in-law had his back - and said brother-in-law was Spider-Man. 

    After he got over the surprise, JJJ gained a whole new perspective on the wallcrawler. He became an enthusiastic - sometimes annoyingly so - ally to Spidey, briefly serving as his “man in the chair.” Jameson also changed his public tune considerably. No longer would he claim that Spider-Man was a menace; now it was the public who were the menace for not appreciating Spider-Man more. 

  • The Kingpin Became Mayor Of New York And Used His Position To Harass Spider-Man

    J. Jonah Jameson had served as mayor of New York for a number of years before he resigned in disgrace following revelations about his past use of Spider-Slayer technology. That left the biggest municipal office in the country up for grabs, and it wound up in the hands of someone with a long history of accruing power - the Kingpin.

    Wilson Fisk had lost a lot of his criminal cred, but when the whole of Manhattan was swallowed up by a Darkforce bubble during the Secret Empire crossover, Fisk used his remaining influence to organize a neighborhood defense and keep civilians safe. This made him very popular with the locals for a time, and that - and a little good ol’ fashioned corruption - was all Fisk needed to win the mayoral election. Suddenly, the Kingpin of Crime was the mayor of New York.

    Once in office, Fisk immediately hashed out a new series of laws that targeted superheroes and made it more difficult for them to ply their trade in New York. He made an exception, however, for Spider-Man, naming the webslinger as New York’s favorite hero and announcing that Spidey was operating with full mayoral support. 

    Why would the Kingpin grant one of his oldest and bitterest enemies such preferential treatment? To ostracize and isolate Spidey from his fellow superheroes, of course. It was all a complicated scheme to make Spider-Man a pariah among the superheroic community. It didn’t work, and Spidey lashed out against Kingpin publicly to make it clear that they were not aligned - but Fisk would remain in power for several years to come all the same.