Warning: Potential spoilers ahead for The Amazing Spider-Man #700, out in stores tomorrow.
If the rumors are true (and there's no reason to believe they aren't), there's an awful lot of anger that will be directed at Marvel Comics and The Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott tomorrow. And it will, of course, be misguided. Because no matter what Slott or his editors say, the introduction of The Superior Spider-Man is clearly not meant to be a permanent development--and not just because of the obvious (the fact that there's an Amazing Spider-Man sequel coming soon to a theater near you). And while the answer to Amazing Spider-Man #698 could be found in Amazing Spider-Man #600, some of the explanation for what Dan Slott is likely doing here lies in Disney's The Lion King. In that film, of course, Scar plots the king's assassination, and manages it--fat lot of good it does him in the long term, though. Eventually, his pride--err, that's the wrong word for The Lion King, isn't it?--ego leads to his downfall, and that's a pretty standard trope of storytelling. The bad guy doesn't really win, even when he seems to--especially when it's a villain who's convinced he's smarter and more capable than everyone around him, as is true of both Scar in The Lion King and Doctor Octopus in the Spider-Man comics. Let's be clear: Dan Slott is a good writer with a strong sense of storytelling fundamentals. And no half-decent storyteller would make this the end of the story, no matter how strenuously Slott and Marvel protest to the contrary. This is actually just a variation on an old theme--anyone who thinks Amazing Spider-Man #700 is, as has been repeatedly promised, "The End" is fooling themselves. It's the end only of the first act, with comeuppance due Doc Ock in a big, bad way. The apparent success of Doc Ock's "master plan" at the end of Amazing Spider-Man #700 is no more real or permanent than the apparent success of Scar's when Mufasa dies. Really, folks. It's kids' stuff. Don't sweat it.