Personal Tragedy Led To The Accident That Made Doctor Octopus A Supervillain
While working at the U.S. Atomic Research Center, Otto Octavius struck up a romance with colleague Mary Alice Anders, whom he eventually proposed to – much to his mother’s chagrin. After breaking off the engagement, he quickly grew to resent his mother (also named Mary) for forcing him into it. An angry confrontation caused Mary to suffer a fatal heart attack.
Holding himself responsible for his mother’s death, Octavius struggled to distract himself from his guilt by focusing on his work. However, one night, he overlooked essential safety protocols, causing a radiation leak that nearly killed him, but instead resulted in his mechanical arm harness fusing to his body. He also suffered irreversible brain damage that, while allowing him to control his arms telepathically, also gave him a superiority complex that fueled his criminal lifestyle as Doctor Octopus.