5701 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

Doctor Octopus (Spider-Man enemy)

Doctor Octopus

(Otto Octavius)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Doctor Octopus (Dr. Otto Octavius) is one of the most emblematic foes Spider-Man. He appeared in the third issue of Spidey’s book, in 1963.

The following were early notes to see how to write game stats for Dock Ock. It’s a technical benchmark. Furthermore they are chiefly about Doc Ock as seen during the 1970s and the 1980s.


Background

  • Real Name: Dr. Otto Octavius
  • Other Aliases: Master Programmer, Master Planner
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Torbert Theadore Octavius (father, deceased), Mary Lavinia Octavius (mother, deceased), Hargrove (cousin)
  • Group Affiliation: Co-founder of the Sinister Six and head of his own crew of thugs. Founded and led one incarnation of the Masters of Evil.
  • Base Of Operations: New York City
  • Height: 5’9” Weight: 245lbs
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown


Powers and Abilities

Doctor Octopus’ abilities derive from his 4 titanium tentacles. Attached to a stainless-steel harness encircling his lower chest and waist, each telepathically-controlled, telescoping tentacle is capable of moving at speeds of 90 feet per second and can strike with the force of a jackhammer.

Doctor Octopus can also generate a 50-mph wind by spinning these prehensile limbs like a giant fan. At full extension, the mechanical appendages allow him to travel high above the ground as if on stilts — either using two tentacles, or all four for maximum speed (about 50 mph).

Each tentacle is about 5 inches in diameter and terminates in three, single-jointed pincers. The pincers can rotate in relation to the tentacle for 360 degrees, in a screwdriver-like twisting motion.

The good Doctor’s proficiency with those tentacles is impressive. He often manages to hit Spider-Man himself, and performed well against Mister Fantastic and other highly agile and/or flexible opponents. He has also occasionally proved to be surprisingly strong due to his maniacal intensity.


History

The son of an overbearing mother and a bullying father, Otto Octavius grew up to become a reclusive but brilliant atomic researcher. To help manipulate radioactive substances from a safe distance, Otto constructed a chest harness controlling four mechanical, tentacle-like arms. This earned him the nickname Doctor Octopus.

In a freak laboratory accident, volatile liquids exploded – bombarding the scientist with radiation. The substances left him capable of mentally controlling the arms, but the accident also caused irreversible brain damage. It transformed the respected scientist into a megalomaniacal criminal.

Waking in a hospital, Otto knew this newfound strength – combined with his awesome intellect – could render him supremely powerful.

Along came a spider

Holding the medical staff hostage, he easily defeated Spider-Man in their first meeting. Doc Ock then took control of a leading nuclear research facility and again squared off with the wall-crawler, who this time defeated him with one punch to the jaw.

After serving time, Doc Ock attempted to raise funds by springing gangster Blackie Gaxton from prison – assisted by Gaxton’s lawyer, Bennett Brant.

Doctor Octopus vintage shot on white background

Spider-Man foiled the scheme, but could not save Bennett from being shot in front of his sister, Betty Brant. Octopus then assembled the first Sinister Six to combat Spider-Man. He plotted to take Betty hostage, knowing Spider-Man had previously rescued her and would likely do so again. May Parker, visiting Betty at the time, was also captured.

Otto treated May kindly, and she remained blissfully unaware she had been kidnapped by the charming villain.

ISO-36

Following Spider-Man’s defeat of the Sinister Six, Doc Ock assembled another group of criminal underlings and established an undersea base. Calling himself the Master Planner, he embarked on a series of thefts of experimental substances. His goal was to further expand his mastery of the atomic sciences, then develop a radiation ray with which he could rule the world.

But his path was fated to entwine with Spider-Man’s.

Doctor Octopus rushes in

When May fell sick, Peter provided her with a blood transfusion – not realizing the radioactivity in his plasma would kill her. The only substance capable of saving her was the experimental ISO-36. Peter managed to obtain enough money to fund the operation, but the Master Planner’s forces hijacked the shipment for their own deadly research.

Spider-Man tracked the Master Planner to his underwater hideout and confronted his foe, revealed to be Doc Ock. After the base was destroyed, Doctor Octopus escaped once more. Spider-Man recovered the ISO-36 and saved Aunt May’s life with the aid of Dr. Curt Connors (occasionally aka the Lizard).

Gangland

Doctor Octopus’ next scheme involved the theft of a projector that could disable any device. After two failed attempts, Otto finally succeeded on his third. Turning the Nullifier against Spider-Man, he caused the wall-crawler to lose his memory and persuaded him they were allies.

He then enlisted Spider-Man’s help to steal the remaining components for the device. Though the hero had not regained his memory, his instinctive spider-sense persuaded him not to trust Doc Ock, and he defeated him once more.

Otto was imprisoned, with his arms confiscated. But he demonstrated that the range of his psionic control over the limbs had increased to a far greater distance than previously believed. The arms freed him from captivity. In the ensuing battle between Doc Ock and Spider-Man, George Stacy was killed while protecting an innocent child.

Free again, Doctor Octopus seized upon the Kingpin’s absence to gather his forces and launch an all-out gang war against Hammerhead’s thugs. However, Spider-Man’s involvement quickly resulted in Otto’s return to prison.

Trauma

While incarcerated, Doctor Octopus learned May Parker had inherited a small Canadian island containing a commercial nuclear reactor. On his release, he set out to woo and marry May. But Hammerhead interrupted the wedding, and the ensuing chase and brawl led to the destruction of the reactor.

Doctor Octopus and Spider-Man saving civilians

When Doc Ock went to war with the Owl, Spider-Man and the Black Cat attempted to intervene. Devastated that the confrontation had left the Black Cat near death, a cold-hearted Peter said farewell to his friends. He then entered what he believed to be his final showdown with Doctor Octopus.

Spider-Man’s victory was remorseless, and Doc Ock developed a morbid fear of his arachnid foe. Imprisoned in a mental institution, Otto struggled with his overwhelming phobia of Spider-Man.

Knowing he could not face his foe directly, Ock’s next plan involved the use of biological weapons to kill the entire population of New York. Spider-Man was forced to fake a humiliating defeat lest the city be destroyed, restoring Otto’s self-confidence. Still, Otto had clearly changed.

Cures

As a young scientist, Octavius had fallen in love with a fellow researcher, Mary Alice Burke. However, his demanding mother’s jealously had sabotaged the relationship. Learning Mary Alice was dying from AIDS, Otto began a desperate search for a cure. He stole research materials to do so.

His attempts failed, and Mary Alice died. The villain meekly surrendered to Spider-Man. A world-weary Otto nonetheless later escaped from prison.

Doctor Octopus uses his tentacles as a propeller

At the time, Spider-Man was dying from a chemical virus. Hoping to one day kill the hero himself, Doc Ock captured and unmasked his foe. Analyzing the virus, Otto offered him a cure. Daring to trust his enemy, Peter accepted the mixture and was healed.

But having somewhat redeemed himself with this act, Doctor Octopus didn’t live to enjoy it. Intending to protect Peter by killing his enemies, Kaine murdered doc Ock by snapping his neck.

Ghost in the machine

However, Dr. Carolyn Trainer, Otto’s young assistant, had been working with him in the field of solid holography projection and mind-to-computer communication. Prior to Peter’s unmasking, she had created a backup brain-imprint of Dock Ock.

With Otto’s passing, the backup of his mind became a software projection known as the Master Programmer. Carolyn used his tentacles to become the second Doctor Octopus.

Meanwhile, the Rose (Jacob Conover) employed a cult, the True Believers, to magically resurrect Doctor Octopus’ body as an empty-minded servant. As soon as he was raised, Carolyn uploaded the Master Programmer persona into Octavius’ brain. She returned his tentacles to him, and they fled.

With his memories restored from a past snapshot, Otto seems to have forgotten he once knew Spider-Man’s true identity (although this is increasingly unclear – he may have kept notes or clues) as well as much of the part where he mellowed out. He remains very much the deadly and manipulative criminal genius he was in his heyday.


Description

Doc Ock is the classic megalomaniacal scientist. He was long the number one archenemy of Spider-Man rivaled only by such criminals as the Jackal.

Doc Ock is fat and ugly. He even has a bowl cut. For years, he wore huge, terrible glasses and green-and-orange spandex, with sometimes a lab coat. The total impression was that of a mad scientist on a crime tour.

More recently, he started dressing inn a much sharper way (trench coat and tie) and his glasses became prescription sunglasses. He kept the bowl cut, however.

Recent material have retconned as always having dressed smartly. If you can handle the mind-shattering notion that somebody dressed as a dork might actually be dangerous, feel free to ignore that retcon.


Personality

Doc Ock was a brilliant research consultant. Being the world’s leading authority on nuclear physics, his criminal schemes sometimes involved the use of nuclear-type apparatus. For example, nuclear missiles.

Those schemes varied from rational schemes whose goal was to acquire resources (money and equipment) to quasi-psychopathic cabals. One example was trying to blackmail and then nuke New York.

However, in any case, his plans were complex and tricky, with deceptions and multiple levels. He always was careful not to expose himself. His main weapons were his intellect and his mechanical arms.

His main drawback was his hatred for Spider-Man and his single-mindedness. When confronted with Spider-Man, while on a crime tour, he often seemed to forget about his main goal. He simply tried to kill his adversary instead, personally or with the use of his hired goons.

Doctor Octopus is not beyond using innocent bystanders to further his own goals. His logic seems to suggest that old, helpless people, such as Aunt May, are psychologically the best victims to use as hostage when needed. Doctor Octopus seems to have a fairly good understanding of a hero’s psyche, and uses that knowledge to push the right buttons to further hostage or escape situations.

Doctor Octopus climbs up a structure

He formed two powerful groups of old spiderfoes called the Sinister Six which he lead (the second one was made up Electro, the Hobgobelin, Mysterio, Sandman, the Vulture and lots of high-tech weaponry); he later teamed up with the villainess Stunner. His love for Stunner made him better balanced, and he started to become a bit like a classic James Bond criminal mastermind. He even saved Spider-Man from certain death simply to have someone to fight against in the future – unfortunately, he was killed shortly after that by Kaine.

He has gotten better since – Doc Ock is currently portrayed as an old school, megalomaniacal scientist and criminal mastermind.


Quotes

“Spider-Man ! Why do you always *have* to show up ?”

“That’s right, Spider-Man — run ! It’s all you can do, my taciturn foe — and even if you run until your last breath is spent… you’ll never escape me ! Not now — NOR EVER AGAIN ! Beg, Spider-Man — beg for the mercy you’ll never receive ! Perhaps now you’ll understand what a true enemy you’ve made ! Unmerciful — uncompromising — and always UNRELENTING !”


DC Universe History

Well, Octopus is such an established part of the Spider-Man mythos that translating him in the DCU seems a bit pointless.

As part of the DC Universe the Doc probably should be used in a scheme which involves the acquisition of money and in which he perhaps could destroy his old enemy Spider-Man. In this context, Spider-Man could be an entirely fictional character created by Octopus’ schizophrenia.

Otto Octavius demonstrates his invention

Alternatively Spidey may have died a few years after his debut, and Doc Ock refuses to believe it. His theory is that Spider-Man is now another acrobatic super-hero, such as the Blue Beetle, the Creeper or Nightwing. Many of his plans involve avenging himself of those Spider-Man suspects.

A slight variant is Spider-Man disappearing during Crisis, and only Doctor Octopus remembering that he existed as he was present at the moment of Spidey’s death.

For a non-Spidey DCU History, his nemesis might have been Hawk and Dove, with Octopus refusing to believe that they died. Or he could be a straight member of Flash’s Rogue Gallery.

Thematically, he works as an obscure Aquaman villain, too – all Aquaman villains being obscure anyway.


Sharing

The links to follow us and/or subscribe to our monthly newsletter are at the bottom of this page.



Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Dr. Otto Octavius

Dex: 04 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Power
Int: 05 Wil: 08 Min: 04 Occupation: Criminal mastermind
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 006
Init: 14 (19) HP: 080

Powers:
Interface: 11

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Interface only works on his tentacles harness (-2)
  • Interface has Range (+1)
  • Interface has a special +9 Bonus to Range (+2)

Skills:
Charisma: 05, Gadgetry: 08, Scientist (including Computers): 10, Weaponry (Thrown): 06

Advantages:
Conditional Soaking (Unarmed and blunt), Leadership, Scholar (Nuclear Physics (and the effect of radiation on the human body), Chemistry)

Connections:
Sinister Six (High), Underworld (High)

Drawbacks:
CIA toward personally destroying Spider-Man : Public identity ; MPR (nearsighted, wears glasses) ; Minor Psychological Instability.

Equipment:
See below


Day of the tentacles

Otto Octavius’ harness has the following statistics :
TENTACLES HARNESS [/DEX/ 09, INT 01 BODY 10, Acrobatics (Climbing): 08, Extra limb (x4): 08, Cling: 04, Joined: 05, Running: 06, Superbreath: 03, Stretching: 03]

It also has the following bonuses & Limitations :

  • RAPs of damage on the arms are also inflicted on Octopus as a Mental attack whose AV/EV are equal to the RAPs.
  • The arms can continue to act on their own if Octopus is out, using their own INT and DEX (+0 – this is the normal function of those statistics) – however if separated from Octavius it takes 1d10/2 Phases before the arms can do something other than thrashing around
  • Running, Acrobatics (Climbing) and Cling together allow for rapid movement along vertical and inverted surfaces (+0)
  • The Extra-Limbs can combine their efforts on Automatic Actions. Two extra limbs thus have an effective STR of 09, and all four a STR of 10.
  • Superbreath is performed by making powerful electric-fan type movements with the arms, which require a certain amount of room (-1)

The harness raises Octopus’ Initiative to 021, and he uses his Interface score (11) as his AV when fighting with his tentacles.

At one point, he had Adamantium tentacles. BODY was 22 and Extra limb was 14.

Doctor Octopus' tentacles rig on a rampage


Otto’s mental issues

The above is for a relatively sane Otto Octavius. Over the years, he has had frequent periods of more pronounced insanity. He has been known to have his Psychological Instability degenerate to Serious or even Catastrophic.

At one point, after a terrible defeat at the hands of Spider-Man, he also had a SIF of spiders, and a CIF of Spider-man (inducing catatonia whenever he would fight Spider-Man).

By Peter S Piispanen and Sébastien Andrivet

Helper(s): William C Wendell, Z, Jackson, Phil Dixon, Adam Fuqua. The Power section was overhauled for v1.4 using the one from Marvel.com, and the History has been overhauled for v1.6 with the Spider-Man OHOTMU (2004). DCU history with the help of John Colagioia, Frank Murdock and Jay Myers.

Source of Character: Spider-Man comics (Marvel Universe)

Subscribe to our MINI-NEWSLETTER !

One bare-bones e-mail per month. Plain text. Short. To the point. Learn more.