Welcome to SPIDER-MANDATE, CBR’s regular column featuring the lowdown on everything Spider-Man. Whether it’s the core adventures in “Amazing Spider-Man,” the upcoming “Civil War II” event or other titles in Spidey’s corner of the Marvel Universe, Peter Parker and company have a lot on their plates.
If the Spider-Verse books are a family, “Amazing Spider-Man” is the Dad. He’s been around the longest, gone through the most changes, and — okay, fine, this is a terrible metaphor, but Dan Slott’s “ASM” is the backbone of everything going on in the “does whatever a spider can” side of the Marvel Universe.
With the “Scorpio Rising” arc heading into high gear, an unstoppable enemy on the horizon in the enigmatic Regent (as well as the return of Mary Jane to the book), and a huge event coming sooner than you think with “Dead No More,” CBR spoke Slott to get the inside scoop on all of the above. Plus, the writer answered a few of your fan questions, to boot!
CBR News: Next issue we’re getting the second part of the “Scorpio Rising” arc. Why was it important to start with this villain, and does this put a pin in the Zodiac storyline? Or is there more to come?
Dan Slott: “Scorpio Rising” is the gigantic climax to our Scorpio story. But we only really saw them in issues one and two. Then we had a Spidey/Torch fight, then we had Spidey off in Africa with mercenaries that had been outfitted in Green Goblin gear. Then they were back in #5. [Laughs] And we’ve seen them in the background, [but] everything has been building up to this arc.
We wanted to put Spidey in this new world where he’s got his global empire. We wanted to up the stakes and give him the kind of villains off the bat that you would normally think of against The Avengers, or S.H.I.E.L.D., and show that, wow — Spidey is in this new status quo where everything is ramped up.
Last issue Peter rocketed to Europe, from space, in a web-ball, which is a pretty big way of kicking off the arc. How are you going to raise the stakes in the next issue?
Fight on the Chunnel! [Laughs] One of the things we’ve been doing in this run on Spidey is constantly putting him in giant, action set pieces. Really amping it up for the kind of dangers he’s facing now that we’ve given him better toys, giving him better threats.
I asked Spidey editor Nick Lowe this a few weeks ago, but now that you’re a few months in to Peter’s new status quo — how are you feeling about it, and how have you grown more comfortable with this new, international Spider-Man?
I like playing the long game. We were always coming to this. When you see the start of my run [in] “Big Time,” where it’s Pete working for a company and then we had Doc Ock take over his mind. And Doc Ock is like, “I shouldn’t be working for someone. I should have my own company!” So when Pete comes back, suddenly he’s the boss.
And once he’s the boss, everyone is so used to Peter failing all the time. What if he succeeds? What if he does really well? This is the thing he’s always wanted to do his whole life, come up with these inventions, and do his science, and have wealth and fame — which normally he’s ignored. What if he did get to live his fantasy life?
Because everything in Spider-Man’s life has been the monkey’s paw, even when he gets what he wants, he doesn’t get it the way he wants it.
So when is that Parker Luck going to start kicking in?
Hasn’t it already? His last girlfriend tried to kill him with a Spider-mobile, Alex! That’s not lucky!
The Doc Ock/Living Brain storyline is simmering in the background. How long is the game for that one, and how bad are things going to get?
No comment. [Laughs] I’m not telling ya; you’re going to have to read the book, man!
Okay, let’s talk about something you can talk about: the upcoming Regent arc. He was a big surprise, popping up in “Amazing Spider-Man #1,” coming over from the “Secret Wars: Renew Your Vows” series. Is this the same Regent we know from Battleworld?
In the Battleworld version, you had the section on that wacky map which was called The Regency. When you think about it, all they really knew in their world was the Tri-State area. That’s not as far as the world extended — they just dealt with that.
This is a Regent that lives in our world, and sees the totality of it. We’re also going to see more about why he’s doing what he’s doing. In Battleworld, he was doing it because he knew about this god named Doom, that was controlling their fates. Everything he was doing was to build up to a confrontation, to make himself as powerful as a god, to confront Doom. This Regent has a completely different set of motivations in our new, Marvel-Prime Universe.
Does Spider-Man know this Regent?
Nope. The Marvel-Prime Peter has no idea, but you can bet — since we’re doing a Regent story — that yeah, there’s going to be Peter and Mary Jane dealing with this. It’s a way of bringing her back into the book.
She’s been in “Iron Man” for a while, and their status quo is always interesting.
One of the things you haven’t seen in Brian [Michael Bendis’] book is, Mary Jane has let Tony know she has Peter Parker’s number on her phone. [But] Tony doesn’t know how they really know each other. Peter doesn’t know she’s working for Tony. Tony doesn’t know Peter is Spider-Man! There’s a lot of fun things to play around with when we get the three of these guys together. There’s going to be a lot of tension, and a lot of fun.
Also, we’ve seen Miles [Morales] and Peter together in places. When you think about it, with Miles’ role in the New Avengers, Tony has a greater relationship with Miles than Peter. And Peter has really been doing Tony’s bag of tricks. Peter’s been, “Look at me, the wealthy industrialist!” and, “Look at me with a major company named after myself all over the world, and my new suit of armor!”
He’s really been stealing all of Tony’s tricks. Now we’re going to get to see the flip side.
We also saw a teaser with Mary Jane in the Iron Spider, or Iron Jane costume — whatever you want to call it.
I’m calling it Iron Spider! It’s Iron Jane in the same way no one calls her “Spider-Gwen” in the book.
That’s getting pretty far in the future, but what can you tease about that image?
It will come to pass. [Laughs] It’s not one of those, “Hey, we showed it on the cover, but you never saw it in the book!” No, it’s not one of those.
It happens around the same time as “Civil War II,” and of course Peter first got the Iron Spider costume in “Civil War.” Is there a tie-in there?
Good luck transcribing that one!
Let’s get back to Regent for a second, because he’s an unusual Spider-Man villain. He doesn’t have animal powers, he’s not connected to the mob. So what makes him interesting to you, as a Spider-Man villain in particular?
When we were doing “Renew Your Vows,” much like at the beginning of “All-New, All-Different,” we wanted Spider-Man facing a foe that you just went, “That’s impossible, he does not stand a chance.” Really throw him out of his weight class. Okay, here you go, it’s Spider-Man versus Darkseid, it’s Spider-Man versus Thanos. Have fun! [Laughs] So there’d be this real David and Goliath feel.
That feeling of excitement the first time you read the Spider-Man story, that great Roger Stern classic, “Nothing Can Stop The Juggernaut.” That feeling of, you’re in for such a mismatch. That’s where Regent is.
The fun thing you’re going to see about Regent is, with Spider-Man it’s about great power, and great responsibility. Regent, thematically, is the same. But the level of power is so much more.
And then we have “Dead No More.” You just released a teaser showing what certainly looks like Uncle Ben, Captain Jean DeWolff and more classic deceased characters from Spidey’s canon —
That could be Ezekiel! You’re seeing it from a blur. It could be a lot of people. It could be his dentist. There’s smoke in there.
That was actually my question, because those people, it doesn’t look like they’re coming back in a ray of sunshine in a park. There’s smoke, projectiles flying —
There’s something you have to realize. That’s part of — and I don’t know if we’ve said this yet — of a mural. That’s the first image… You’ve seen us do this before at Marvel, these mural covers. That’s part one of this very long mural. Every time we reveal a new element, people will go, “Whaaaat? Huuuuh? Heeeey!” There’s an element to that teaser that people — it’s staring you in the face, and people haven’t picked up on it yet.
What you’ve seen is the first reveal… It’s the farthest left side of the mural. It will keep growing.
I’m sure we’ll be talking about the event a lot more as it gets closer, but anything else you want to add?
We got the first pencils in on this, and it’s gorgeous. We haven’t announced the artist yet, but I feel bad for every other book on the rack. This is going to be killer.
Before we move on to fan questions, when I last talked to Nick he teased there are changes coming to “Amazing Spider-Man,” changes he felt were even bigger than “Superior Spider-Man.” Is that what happens in “Dead No More,” or is it even further down the road?
We don’t do that many stories in “Spider-Man” that go five or six issues. You can look through my entire run going back to “Brand New Day.” You can count how many times we do a five or six issue arc. And every time we do it, it is a major turning point and big things happen. Whether it’s “New Ways To Die,” or “Spider-Island,” or “Ends Of The Earth.” Every time it happens, you get this massive, everything’s been building to it [moment].
And then, when you come out of the other side, oh, there’s so many repercussions. In “Superior,” “Goblin Nation”… Every time we have a big arc, everything building up to it has been ramping up to it. We’ve been building to “Dead No More,” and everything that comes out of it. “Dead No More” is going to be a massive, seismic shift in Spidey’s world.
And there are pieces in every single arc, in the Scorpio arc, in the Regent arc, all leading up to “Dead No More.” More pieces of the puzzle, as the knife gets closer to cutting the thread.
Let’s get to those fan questions. Lee Hiley wants to know if we’ll see any more new villains, and any female villains coming up.
Female? Yes, there is going to be a female villain coming. If I was to answer the question correctly, it would give away stuff. So I won’t, other than to say there’s a female villain coming, and you haven’t seen them like this before.
Simon James wanted to know, why did you decide against showing the moment Doc Ock worked out that Peter was Spider-Man?
Because it would have ruined the surprise ending of “Amazing Spider-Man #698.” You can’t suddenly do the reveal if we showed you the other thing.
I know you didn’t want to talk about the upcoming Ock storyline, but are we going to fill in that eight month period where Ock went away, and suddenly he’s in the Living Brain?
A number of fans asked this, and I’ve seen it on the forums as well. People are very interested in what’s going on with Kaine since we left him at the end of “Spider-Verse.” Any news on him?
At the end of “Spider-Verse,” we saw him punching his way out of a giant, dead spider. Stuff has happened to him since. We will see that some time in the future.
Dick Grayson — great name — says, “Peter has an interesting love life,” which seems to be an understatement. “Any chance having Mary Jane or Carlie Cooper?”
No plans for Carlie at the moment. We’ve already seen that MJ is coming up. And we might start showing some sparks between Spidey and someone else, soon…
A superhero someone else, or a regular old person someone else?
Everyone is special, Alex. [Laughs]