The new line is called "Spider-Man Origins", and indeed, most of the characters in the line do have some connection to Spider-Man. Certainly Doctor Octopus does. And here we have an interesting situation. Famous Covers never did a Doctor Octopus figure. They certainly could have. Doc Ock has been around long enough, and he's certainly been one of Spider- Man's most prominent enemies, even before being the villain in the Spider-Man 2 movie. But for whatever reason, Toy Biz never got around to him. So this is really the first 9" cloth-costumed figure of Doctor Octopus.
By means of an origin: Born in Schenectady, New York, Otto Octavius had a turbulent upbringing. His father, a factory worker, was abusive and violent towards both Otto and his mother, leading Otto to be shy and reclusive in school. However, at his mother's insistence, he was determined not to become like his father and threw all his efforts into his education, regularly scoring top marks. His father's death due to an industrial accident pushed him further towards the study of, and obsession with, physical science.
Before his transformation into the megalomaniacal archenemy of the web- slinger, Otto was a brilliant and respected nuclear physicist, inventor, and lecturer. He designed a set of highly advanced mechanical arms to assist him with his research into atomic physics. The tentacled arms were resistant to radiation and were capable of great strength and highly precise movement, attached to a harness that fit around his body. Though his relationship with co-workers was typically hostile, a fellow researcher named Mary Alice Anders befriended him, and later agreed to marry him. His mother did not approve, and to please her, he ended his engagement; later, when he discovered that his mother had begun dating a librarian, he rebuked her, causing her to have a fatal heart attack in the heat of their argument.
During an accidental radiation leak that ended in an explosion, the apparatus became fused to Octavius' body. It was later revealed that the radiation (or possibly his own latent mutation) had mutated his brain so that he could control the movement of the arms using his thoughts alone. The tentacles have since been surgically removed from his body, although Octavius retains the power to control them telepathically from a great distance. The accident also seemingly damaged his brain (although it was later suggested that what was interpreted as brain damage was in fact his mind rewiring itself to accommodate four extra limbs, and the scientist turned to a life of crime.
Doc Ock is easily one of Spider-Man's best known foes, and would readily rank alongside the Green Goblin and, arguably, Venom, as far as recognition and "popularity" are concerned. It's worth noting that the three Spider-Man movies have featured these three villains.
Doctor Octopus was even the main Marvel villain in the very first DC/ Marvel crossover that featured SPIDER-MAN and SUPERMAN, back in 1976. Octopus teamed up with Superman's arch-enemy Lex Luthor in a scheme to basically blackmail the entire world. When Luthor said that he planned to destroy the cities of the world whether they paid up or not, Octopus switched sides long enough to destroy some of the vital machinery that would have allowed Luthor to carry out his plan. Both he and Luthor were ultimately taken into custody by the Web-Slinger and the Man of Steel.
Hasbro faced several challenges when it came to making a Doctor Octopus figure. For starters, the main body molds used by Hasbro for these figures are, shall we say, "typical super-hero muscular". That may work for most of the characters, but not Doc Ock. Depending on the artist depicting the character, Octavius has been portrayed as anything from having a stocky frame but fairly decent muscle definition to being really flabby. Bottom line, though, no one's ever going to perceive Octopus as a body-builder.
Then there's those four mechanical arms. His harness is attached to four mentally controlled, prehensile metallic appendages. These arms are capable of lifting several tons, provided that at least one arm is used to support his body. The reaction time and agility of his mechanical appendages is enhanced far beyond the range attainable for normal human musculature. The arms allow Octavius to move rapidly over any terrain and to scale vertical surfaces and ceilings. He has developed his concentration and control to the point that he can engage a single opponent, like Spider- Man, or multiple opponents with the arms while performing a completely separate, more delicate task.
Fine and well, but how to do pull that off in a cloth-costumed action figure? Hasbro ultimately solved both the harness and the physical size problem at once. They constructed a wrap-around harness that would fit underneath Octopus' shirt, seemingly giving him the added weight that was needed for his typical appearance. The base of the arms no doubt protruded through the shirt, and were capped off in such a way as to conceal the "holes" in the shirt. Into each cap a mechanical arm, about 6" long, was inserted. These "mechanical" arms are "bendies". Each one is made of flexible plastic and has a wire core, allowing the four arms to be bent and posed in a near-limitless range.
The end result is a figure that looks appropriately chubby, and the four mechanical arms look excellent.
Dr. Octopus' head sculpt is absolutely perfect. Whoever did this really went back and did their homework on what Ock is supposed to look like. Dr. Octopus has a rather strange face, rather pushed-in and jowly. Clearly his face is even more out of shape than the rest of him. Add to this the sunglasses that Octopus always wears, and the straight, almost bowl-like haircut, and the end result is a truly superb likeness of the character. The sculptor should definitely be commended for attention to the character as he is best known.
The outfit for the figure is very well crafted, although I can't imagine what it must've taken to assemble this figure. You'd have to attach the basic harness, get the shirt on over it, sew the shirt up in the back, then attach the outer arms, and still assemble the plastic glove cuffs to hold the shirt fully in place. Not a job I would've wanted.
Octopus is also wearing green trousers, and has yellow-orange boots, belt, and gloves, as well as a fabric collar to his costume that is a superb color match for the plastic parts.
Articulation is excellent, as it is on all of these 9" Spider-Man Origins figures, but in Doc Ock's case it's hindered somewhat by the tentacles. He can't really bring his "actual" arms down, which sort of leaves him a little restricted to the "arms raised in fury" pose, not unusual for villains, I'll grant you. So, at least it looks appropriate enough.
Overall, though, the figure IS articulated at the arms, even if he can't move them very far, as well as the head, upper swivel arm, elbows, wrists, finger groups, waist, legs, knees, and ankles. I suspect there is also a mid-torso point of articulation, which is also typical for these figures, but that's pretty well kept in check by the harness.
On the whole, this is truly an excellent figure of one of Spider-Man's most legendary villains. And seeing as how he was introduced in Spider-Man #3, all the way back in 1963, he easily predates the likes of Venom, and even the Green Goblin. Octopus is arguably Spider-Man's first truly great villain.
Honestly, this was one of the first figures in this line that I wanted to pick up, simply because of the character's longevity and how well- known he is, along with the fact that Famous Covers DIDN'T get around to him. I still have those figures, and here was the perfect chance to add a decidedly legendary villain to the collection. And although the basic manufacture is a little different, he's certainly size compatible, so no argument there whatsoever.
This 9" cloth-costumed Doctor Octopus figure definitely has my
highest recommendation! If you're any sort of Spider-Man fan, you'll
want to have him!