Amazing Spider-Man #800 brings an end to a decade-long character arc ending by transforming Doctor Octopus into a true superhero. The vendetta between Spider-Man and Doc Ock has been a constant theme through Dan Slott's run, and he's chosen to bring it to a remarkable close in this milestone issue.
Dan Slott has turned Doctor Octopus's life upside-down. One of Spider-Man's most ruthless foes, Octavius previously hatched a desperate plan to save himself from his dying body. He managed to place his mind in Peter Parker's body, briefly becoming the Superior Spider-Man. Although Parker regained control of his body, Octavius's mind ultimately found a new host in a powerful clone form. Since then, he's trod a fine line between hero and villain, clearly affected by his time as Spider-Man.
All that comes to a head in Amazing Spider-Man #800, which sees Norman Osborn - bonded with the Carnage symbiote as the Red Goblin - launch a murderous attack on Peter's Aunt May. To everybody's surprise, Doctor Octopus intervenes, saving May's life even at the risk of his own. As far as Spider-Man is concerned, this act of heroism has earned Octavius a clean slate. The bad blood between the two is gone, erased once and for all. An injured Doctor Octopus isn't seen again - until a "post-credits" scene, that reveals he's beginning a new life, as Dr. Elliot Tolliver, working at Horizon Labs.
There's a sense in which this brings Otto full-circle; during his run as the Superior Spider-Man, Octavius fell in love with fellow Horizon scientist Anna Marconi, who still works there.
The arc is a clear parallel to 1993's Amazing Spider-Man #375, which saw Spider-Man form a similar truce with Venom. This allowed Marvel to position Venom as an antihero rather than a villain, a role the tongue-slavering symbiote has played ever since. There's some evidence this particular comic even informs this year's Venom movie. In just the same way, Amazing Spider-Man #800 settles the feud between the wall-crawler and Doctor Octopus, and sets him in a new context, ready to become some sort of heroic figure in his own right.
During the issue, Doctor Octopus admits that he's influenced by his time as Spider-Man. "I still have your memories," he tells Spider-Man. "Many of them. Rattling around in my head. Your upbringing. Your simpleton sensibilities of "right and wrong."" While those "sensibilities" are focused around May Parker, the reality is that Spider-Man's influence on him has been truly profound, and he is no longer the same man. Together, Spider-Man and his beloved Aunt May have actually turned Doctor Octopus, one of Spider-Man's greatest enemies, into a hero.
The Amazing Spider-Man #800 is available now from Marvel Comics.