In the final two issues of Marvel Comics' recently concluded "Superior Spider-Man" series, Peter Parker's consciousness made its triumphant return to his body which had been hijacked by the mind of his old foe Doctor Octopus (AKA Otto Octavius). He returned just in time to break the grip his other great foe, the Green Goblin, had on New York City during the "Goblin Nation" arc. There was no time to celebrate those victories though, because now comes the hard part of cleaning up the mess Doc Ock made of Peter Parker's life in his bid to be a Superior Spider-Man.
What challenges await Spidey as this new "Amazing" era dawns? What sort of painful lessons about himself will he have to come to terms with when he discovers what Peter Parker has been up to in his absence? Writer Dan Slott and artist Humberto Ramos will explore the answers to those question and more in the debut issue of the new volume of "Amazing Spider-Man." CBR News spoke with series editor Nick Lowe about the series and how it will be impacted by the aftermath of "Superior Spider-Man" and Octavius' time as Spider-Man.
CBR News: Nick, you're still only a few months into your new gig as editor of the Spider-Man line of titles. How does it feel to oversee the end of Otto Octavius "Superior Spider-Man" and welcome back Peter Parker's "Amazing Spider-Man?" What's it like moving from the X-Men office where the books are primarily team focused to the Spidey office where the titles revolve around solo characters?
Nick Lowe: It's been a huge learning experience. I've been in this business now for almost 12 years, and most of that time I've only been working on team books. So sliding over and working on solo books is so daunting on just that fact alone. Then when you layer that on with ending one of the most successful books of the past decade with one of the craziest storylines it's been a real challenge and a very humbling experience, but I'm so proud of the work my creative and editorial teams have done.
In my opinion, the last two issues of "Superior Spider-Man" are two of the best Marvel Comics that we've put out in years. He was assisted on the last issue by Chris Gage, but this is Dan Slott's baby. He along with Giuseppe Camuncoli, who did career-defining work on this book, made those issues such an emotionally present and meaningful story to Peter Parker, Otto Octavius, and everyone around them. On top of that it was exciting! It was fun! It was really just incredible. I'm lucky to have gotten to work on that story, and I wish I could take more credit for it than I can. A lot of these things were in place before I came over here. So I was just lucky to be along for the ride.â€¨The same thing goes for "Amazing Spider-Man" #1. I feel just blessed to be involved with this comic and its creators. I get to work with Humberto Ramos again who I worked with for a good long while on "X-Men" back in the day when he was doing a run with Mike Carey and then again on "Runaways" with Terry Moore. So I've been able to work with Humberto a bunch of times, but it's been years since we've worked together. Being back with Humberto has been fantastic.
And what's cooler than getting to plan out Spider-Man's future? [Laughs] Going to lunch with Dan and spending time on the phone with him plotting out Spider-Man's future has been great. Dan has so many Spider-Man ideas and they're all so damn cool.â€¨We've got so much up our sleeves for everybody in the months leading up to "Spider-Verse," and that story is incredible and totally nuts! We've also been having post-"Spider-Verse" talks, which is kind of crazy to think about. That's how far we have to plan things out though, especially with a book that comes out twice a month. It's been really incredible.
Let's talk a little bit about the challenges that await Peter Parker now that he's back in his own body. It feels like one of his primary tasks will be rebuilding the trust that his family, friends, and the people and heroes of New York had in him?
For sure. "Amazing Spider-Man" #1 is a great jumping on point in that we deal with what's going on in Peter Parker's life. It's crazy. His body was under the control of someone else for 31 issues worth of story. So him trying to put those pieces of his life back together is not going to be easy.
There are a couple of bombshells dropped in "Amazing Spider-Man" #1 that are really going to have an impact on him. In that issue you also get stories that introduce the current situation for Black Cat and for Electro. They are going to be the main antagonists for "Amazing Spider-Man" #1-5.
It's no coincidence that Electro is going to be a main villain while the new "Amazing Spider-Man" movie is out. We like to try and do that, but what Dan has planned for Electro and the Black Cat is so interesting and I haven't really seen anything quite like it done in comics. It means hell for Peter Parker, and those Spidey fans out there who have been reading for a long time know that stories don't get any better than when Peter is basically being put through hell.
Peter's professional life was also turned upside down by Doc Ock. He now has both his doctorate and a small business. What does Peter make of his potential as Peter Parker in the aftermath of "Superior Spider-Man?" Will Parker Industries still be a part of his life?
Peter ends up feeling like quite a slacker. [Laughs] He never finished his doctorate and he comes back and, like you said, Doc Ock has not only finished his Ph.D., but he's started a technology company. He's done these thing that Peter was never able to do and maybe never even dreamed of doing, but has made his life very successful in a lot of ways.â€¨So coming back to that is a little bit humbling for Peter. We're also going to see that in his personal life in some ways, and in other ways not so much. Doc's running of Peter's body certainly didn't make things easier for Peter and his love for Aunt May, Mary Jane, and a lot of people. There are a lot of other people though that Doc Ock Spidey was very, very special to. That's some other really interesting, fun stuff as well.
Let's talk about the other business that is now part of Spider-Man's world, Alchemex, as well as the man who engineered it, Norman Osborn. In the final issue of "Superior Spider-Man" it looked like Osborn had been transformed and was no longer the Green Goblin, but he was still a Spider-Man villain. Is that correct?
Norman Osborn is no longer crazy. I'll give you that. He no longer looks like Norman Osborn and he's no longer being driven mad by the Goblin Serum running through his blood. So when we do see Norman again it's going to be a pretty fascinating new spin, but I'm not going to say exactly when we're going to see him again.
Both Peter and Miguel O'Hara (AKA the Spider-Man of 2099) are aware of Osborn's connections to Alchemex and why he did what he did. Will Liz Allen and her son Normie Osborn's mental stability be a part of "Amazing Spider-Man" and Peter David's "Spider-Man 2099?"
Absolutely. You'll see more of it immediately in "Spider-Man 2099." That's where the main thrust of it is going to be. Dan is so excited to have Peter on "2099." It was one of the things that Dan was pushing for. He really wanted Peter [David] to get involved because he's a big fan of Peter's. So those two are really great at working together. They're already starting to hatch little plans that are going bear fruit for both books for a long time to come.
So Spidey and Spider-Man 2099 are trusted colleagues that will pop up in each other's books from time to time?
Oh yeah, definitely. We were just talking about that recently. You'll definitely be seeing Peter Parker at some point in "2099," and Dan loves getting a lot of characters involved in stories. So I don't thing we'll go too long in "Amazing Spider-Man" without seeing Miguel.
Let's start to conclude by talking a little bit more on what's on the horizon. You already mentioned that Electro and the Black Cat will play big roles in this initial arc, but for these first couple of months you have two narratives unfolding in "Amazing Spider-Man." One in the present and one in the past, "Learning to Crawl," which sets up several later story threads?
Yeah, "Learning to Crawl" is another thing that Dan Slott has been aching to do for a long time. It is a story that picks up immediately from the end of "Amazing Fantasy" #15. The first couple of pages of "Learning to Crawl" take place at the same time as the last page of that classic issue. We get to see aspects of Peter's life and things that you never saw when you read those early Spider-Man issues.
So for anyone who's read "Amazing Fantasy" #15 and the first three issues of the original volume of "Amazing Spider-Man" there are some big leaps that Stan [Lee] and Steve [Ditko] didn't cover. Dan is definitely looking at those, but he's also telling this kind of missing chapter in Peter's life of how did he go from this pained and depressed kid with powers whose uncle just died to the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man that we all know and love? That has never really been told.â€¨So that's the overarching story that Dan is telling, but he's also introducing one of the very first super villains that Spidey ever met that we never knew he met before. We'll kind of get into the whys and wherefores of that as well. His name is Clash. You'll get your first taste of him in "Amazing Spider-Man" #1 in a backup story by Dan and the artist of "Learning to Crawl," Eisner Award-winning artist Ramon Perez who is doing such incredible work, as is the colorist, Ian Herring. I've worked with Ramon a couple times now on "Wolverine and the X-Men" and he is just amazing. He is bringing every bit of his artistry to the table in "Learning to Crawl." It's a great story and it's really special.
It's unlike anything we are publishing, but the cool thing is, for anyone who knows Dan, he loves to plant seeds in one issue and then let them bloom 20, 30, 40 issues later. This is a great example of that. What he's going to be setting down here not only with Clash, but with Peter's life from his high school experience are seeds that are going to bloom in a very big way in coming arcs of "Amazing Spider-Man."
Finally the big "Spider-Verse" story is just out there beyond the horizon. What do you want readers to know about that story? How big is it turning out to be?
EVERY SPIDER-MAN EVER! Or at least every Spider-Man we can legally depict. [Laughs] We've got a big spreadsheet. It's this huge, huge story that I almost wouldn't trust with any other writer because it's so complex with the amount of characters and the amount of ground to cover. Knowing how Dan's mind works and getting to see how he juggled an immense amount of characters in "Amazing" and "Superior Spider-Man" he's one of the few people I would trust to tell this story. He's got some incredibly cool plans and it ends up almost being like a war story in ways that I can't really describe yet without spoiling stuff. It's such a cool, huge, huge story with so many surprises and twists and turns that since we're so far out from it I'm afraid of spoiling it by saying anything else.
"Amazing Spider-Man" #1 is on sale now.