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How Will Peter Parker Return?

As you know, in Amazing Spider-Man #700 Peter Parker did not succeed in getting back into his body.  He died in Doc Ock’s body and now Otto is running wild in Parker’s body.  Because of the “With Great Responsibility” flashback in issue #700 he’s using the Spider-Man identity for good rather than evil.  Still, he is still Otto and he’s taking a bit of a mad scientist point of view to things.  For example, he resurrects the idea of the octo-bots to help run the city more efficiently.  He also views courting Mary Jane from a scientific point of view. He’s a bit of a jerk to her and a lot of people are squeamish at the idea that Dan Slott might have Otto have sex with Mary Jane; or in the phrasing of Spider-Island, share a toothbrush.  

We all know this can’t remain the status quo, but at least it shouldn’t require a silly resurrection because Parker’s body is still available.  The methods available to Dan Slott are hard to guess about without making assumptions about how the switcharoo happened.  Technically, just because Doctor Octopus had Peter’s brain patterns, that shouldn’t allow a body switch.  Scientifically, that shouldn’t really work - but we’re talking about comic books here so it’s hard to tell.  Still, if we take it at face value, that means that Doc Ock basically wrote over Pete’s brain so a lot of people are speculating that Pete’s soul is still in there and that he just THINKS he is Doctor Octopus.  I was very strongly in this camp for a while because I thought it would lead to Pete easily becoming himself again.  However, the end of issue 1 and all of issue 2 seem to contradict that.

At the end of Superior Spider-Man issue 1 and throughout issue 2 we see what many on the internet are calling force-ghost Peter Parker.  (After the Jedi ghosts that appear in Star Wars V and VI that also glow with a blueish hue)  In these issues it appears that Peter Parker is a ghost who is stuck in limbo because his body is still alive.  It’s a cruel bit of Parker luck that Pete gets to watch Doc Ock in his body try to woo Mary Jane Watson.  So it would seem that Pete did in fact get his soul and essence switched with Octavius, but because his original body is around he can’t go to heaven or hell.  So is this is true, then one of the many supernatural people like Doctor Strange should be able to put him back into his body.

The problem with counting on force-ghost Peter Parker as evidence that Pete is a ghost is that comic books rely on visual metaphors quite a bit.  This is most obvious when telepaths are involved.  If Charles Xavier is having a mind-fight with another telepath, they’re usually in some mental realm actually fighting.  Or he might have to do like Inception and open a safe to get at someone’s secrets.  So it could be that Peter is in his brain as I surmised in the first guess, but it’s being represented as a force-ghost.  

I believe the answer is more likely to be the second one because I think it’s a lot easier for most people to understand than the brain patterns not over-riding his soul and all that.  This is especially likely to be true since Peter did appear to die for a few minutes as Doc Ock and spoke with his dead friends and relatives.  Time will tell, but I wouldn’t count on a firm answer until at least 2014.


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