Marvel's Spider-Man line was in the spotlight Sunday at Comic-Con International in San Diego, with a panel including "Spider-Man 2099" writer Peter David, "Spider-Gwen" writer Jason Latour, "Silk" writer Robbie Thompson, plus Marvel Associate Editor Devin Lewis.
The discussion started with talk of upcoming Spider-Man storyline "The Clone Conspiracy," which starts with "Before Dead No More." Lewis disclosed that the story starts with a "terrible accident at one of his facilities," and will include a renewed focus on Prowler and a new, female Electro.
Doctor Octopus, whose consciousness is currently inside the Living Brain, will resurface in a big way in "Before Dead No More." "He is making a huge play," Lewis said. "It's unbelievable."
Lewis talked more about the "Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy" (which appears to be the full title of the story): "You've never seen a Spidey story with so many fan-favorite villain. Dan's done a Goblin story. He's done 'Superior Spider-Man.' But what happens when Dan takes the Jackal and runs with him?"
According to Lewis, Doc Ock will be back, "with all of his arms," in October's "Amazing Spider-Man" #20.
David said that the "Spider-Man 2099" tie-in to "Civil War II" will include the "return of various 2099 characters," as a civil war of a different kind is happening in the 2099 timeline. "For anyone who has fond memories of 2099, you're going to want to be on board to this. Punisher 2099 is there. Ravage is there. Some members of X-Men 2099 are there. Doctor Strange 2099 is in there. Daredevil 2099 is there. Moon Knight 2099, who was only referenced in one story, is in this book. We pretty much got everyone."
Latour talks the latest "Spider-Gwen" developments: "The big culmination of this arc will be Gwen and Captain Stacy versus Frank Castle."
Also coming up in "Spider-Gwen" -- a new romance between Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy. "This is something that fascinated all of us from the start," Latour said. "They're from two different universes. We've seen Peter and Gwen a lot. I'm really thrilled to get to explore the opportunity between those two characters [Miles and Gwen]." Latour promised "a lot of dimension-hopping" and "a lot of corn dogs."
Thompson promised "a lot of fun shenanigans" coming up in "Silk," and praised the work of artist Tana Ford. "There's going to be some dragons," Thompson said of the story that starts in September's "Silk" #12. Thompson admitted that Cindy Moon has "been through the ringer" for the bulk of her fictional existence, but she may have a win coming soon -- though since this is a Spider-book, that likely means tragedy is around the corner. Thompson also expressed enthusiasm for the fun he's having writing the "Spidey" series.
Lewis talked the October-debuting "Prowler" series, which spins out of "The Clone Conspiracy" and "ties very heavily into the dangers that Prowler faces." It starts with Hobie Brown going on a mission for Peter Parker -- and not coming back.
Next up was "Spider-Woman," with the cover for October's #13 shown, featuring Hobgoblin, from Dennis Hopeless and Veronica Fish. "She's never faced someone who could take her on," Lewis said. "This is going to be the story of her coming into her own, not only as a Spider-character, but a superhero. The Hobgoblin is serious business."
A new "Venom" series debuts in October from Mike Costa and Gerardo Sandoval -- not Venom in space, it was made clear. "In the course of 'Civil War II,' something pulls the Guardians back to Earth, and Venom along with them," Lewis said. "This is not a stealth operations Venom. This is fangs out, slobbery tongue -- it'll blow you away."
"The Amazing Spider-Man: Renews Your Vows," from Gerry Conway and Ryan Stegman, is scheduled to launch in October. Lewis didn't give too many details about the series, but said if the crowd wants a married Spider-Man with a daughter, that's the one to read.
First fan question: Is Flash Thompson Venom in the new "Venom" series? Keep reading, the panel answered. Lewis asked the fan, "Is there anyone you want Venom to be?" The fan answered "Eddie Brock." "Eddie Brock," Lewis said. "That's something to think about."
Next question asked why writers return to territory like the Clone Saga, and if it's a matter of doing a story "better" than before. Lewis said doing it better isn't the mindset, it's using parts of history to new effect -- "These are all toys in the toy box," Lewis said. "Everybody respects them and wants to treat them right."
The Web-Warriors will be a part of "Dead No More," Lewis told a fan.
"Spidey" #12 will feature the Sinister Six, Thompson told an audience member in Daredevil cosplay.
A fan asked what Spider-Man characters they'd like to see more. Latour named Tarantula, and said Kraven was his favorite Spidey villain, because he can be both ridiculous and deadly serious.
Will Miles Morales be in the new "Prowler" series, given the character's relationship with the Ultimate Prowler?" "Not initially, but it would make a lot of sense," Lewis said.
From a young fan in a Scarlet-Spider costume (Ben Reilly hoodie version): Will Kaine or Scarlet-Spider be a part of "The Clone Conspiracy"? "Keep reading, they're going to get mentioned," Lewis said.
An audience member asked the panel if they thought the negative reputation of the '90s Clone Saga story was undeserved. "I was a kid and I read all of it," Latour said. "I don't know if I had taste or not. I enjoyed it, that's all I know." Thompson said he also enjoyed it at the time. "I love it when Marvel takes big swings," he said. "I think if the Clone Saga had went six months, it would have been fine," David said. "I thought it was insanely overblown. By the time it finally ended, I breathed a sigh of relief."
"I wasn't a fan of Ben Reilly's hair," Latour quipped.
A fan asked for the panel's "Mount Rushmore" of Spider-Man stories. David answered by saying he thinks, in a way, the sequence of "Amazing Spider-Man" #33 ["The Final Chapter"], where Spider-Man escapes from a giant pile of machinery in order to save Aunt May, hasn't yet been topped.
Last question of the panel: Will Spider-Gwen meet more characters from the mainstream Marvel Universe? Latour said part of the fun of the character is that she exists in her own universe, so they wanted to keep things fairly separate at first, but there are further possibilities -- for instance, he's talked with his "Southern Bastards" collaborator Jason Aaron about a crossover with "Thor," and he'd like to see the evil Matt Murdock of the Spider-Gwen universe meet the heroic Matt Murdock of the classic Marvel Universe.