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Doc Ock

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Green Goblin is a nancy little punk. "Ooh, look at me, I killed Spider-Man's girlfriend, but not until after she had my mutant freakbabies." Pah! One villain was offing Staceys and wooing Peter's women before it was hip to do, and he didn't do it wearing silly purple booties.

Once he was Otto Octavius, a brilliant and respected nuclear physicist. Octavius designed and constructed a set of highly advanced robotic arms to assist him in his research. Now able to manipulate radioactive substances from a safe distance, Octavius was dubbed Dr. Octopus by his coworkers. A freak laboratory accident exposed Octavius to intense radioactivity, grafting the mechanical apendages to his body and granting him complete telepathic control over the artificial limbs. The mishap also altered Octavius' mind, transforming him into a criminally insane megalomaniac. Abandoning his hopes of one day advancing the field of atomic research, Octavius turned instead to a life of crime. Possessed of incalculable power, the formerly timid scientist came to see himself as the most dangerous man alive.

Yeah, when it comes to deadly foes of Spider-Man, Doc Ock is the top of the heap. This isn't the first time we've had a Dr. Octopus figure, but it might as well be: compared to this, the others don't even count.

The Doctor stands just around 5½" tall, which is great - he's a pudgy little thing, not a big bruiser like Sandman or Scorpion. He has 33 points of articulation: toes, ankles, boots,knees, hips, waist, neck, shoulders, elbows, gloves, wrists, fingers and thumbs. His tentacles each have seven points of articulation: two in each of the three "fingers" and one where they meet his body. That's 61 points all together.

The tentacles are going to turn some buyers off: in the comics, Doc Ock has always had fairly thin tubular arms with three tiny claws at the end; the figure's arms are thicker, with large claws and suckers on the segments. The prototype seen at Toy Fair showed thin tentacles with four points of articulation all through them. This didn't survive to the final figure, but that's okay. When ToyBiz went to look at producing the pieces, they found that the joints would have been too small, and far too prone to breaking, so they went the bendy route instead.

That choice paid off well, considering what we get in return. Here's a hint: it's something no Dr. Octopus figure has ever been able to do before. Yes, thanks to the change, Doc Ock can rise above it all, held 2½" in the air by nothing but his mechanical arms. Sweet!

The figure's sculpt is great. They really captured his slightly paunchy physique and his Roy Orbison looks. He's got a snarling grimace above his double chin, and you know they remembered those big goofy glasses he always wore. Man! It's hard to believe this guy ever got any respect. I guess it's a good thing he's completely psycho, huh?

When Dr. Octopus was announced for Marvel Legends, no one could figure out why this figure was in the ML line instead of in Spidey's. Well, now that the figure is out, the question remains. Like all the Marvel Legends, Doc Ock comes with a detailed display base. His is, basically, just a big pile of webbing. Not impressive at all. Yes, it has two big claws designed to hold him up in the air, but really this thing is just a watse of plastic. The arms are enough as it is.

Dr. Octopus does come with a reproduction comic, and this time ToyBiz chose Marvel Age Spider-Man #2. Why Marvel Age? Because the real first appearance of Doc Ock is more than 40 years old, and his recent stuff is too continuity heavy to make anyone care, so it makes sense to opt for the all-ages angle. Besides, this story has one of the funniest bits of Spider-banter I've ever read. For everyone who's complained that comics have gotten too dark lately, Marvel Age is the remedy you desire.

-- 02/01/05

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