Yesterday, Marvel pulled back the curtain on Marjorie Liu and Mike Perkins taking over "Astonishing X-Men" with Issue #48. Today, the House of Ideas revealed details on a key "Amazing Spider-Man" 50th Anniversary story arc in a conference call with writer Dan Slott. CBR News was on hand to bring the details on Slott's brainchild, "Ends of the Earth."
Moderator and Junior Sales Administrator James Viscardi kicked things off by speaking on the status and lead-up to Slott's story. "Really what this is ... is the road to Spidey 700 which is coming down the line," said Viscardi. The storyarc starts in March with Issue #682 for a six issue story where the first two and the last two issues will have Stefano Caselli on art.
Slott kicked off the call by recapping the events leading up to Doc Ock's life clock ticking down all the way back when he first showed up in Issue 600 and teasing the villain's big bid for control of the entire world. "He's got one shot for one master plan. He's going for the whole thing. He's going for the world. ... This is Otto Octavius's big grab for the greatest master plan of all time." Slott further said that the story would rival ("Rivals? Ha! Ha, I say!" said Slott) the scope of Spider-Island and this would be "Otto Octavius Earth," which would see Spider-Man operating globally to stop Doc Ock.
"We will see Spidey supporting cast and characters," he said. "This whole giant, epic story is taking place inside of Amazing Spider-Man." The event will be self-contained within the book and all readers will have to do is pick up "Amazing Spider-Man" to get the whole story.
As for Dr. Octopus himself, the villain has shown up in a number of other titles, which Slott said has been building to the story he has planned. "We've seen Doc Ock and the Sinister Six slowly building and percolating this master plan," he said. "On the way it's stretched out into the Marvel Universe proper. We've seen Doc Ock totally smack down Iron Man. He totally wiped the floor with Hank Pym's team in 'Avengers Academy.' Over in 'Spider-Man' during an FF team up, Doc Ock pwned Reed Richards! He took over the Baxter Building and stole all kinds of stuff. Doc Ock's been taking out the biggest brains on his stomp to global domination."
On December 21, there will be a Sinister Six issue, which will be only the Sinister Six with no Spider-Man, where Doc Ock will take on the Marvel U's biggest brains, according to Slott.
The writer also praised Caselli's work on the bookend issues of "Ends of the Earth." "When people see the art, they're going to freak," the writer said.
Slott also spoke on the lineup of the Sinister Six -- and that it might change by the end of the story. "The Sinister Six you start out with in 'Ends of the Earth' will not be the Sinister Six you're left with by the end," Slott said. Chameleon, Rhino, Mysterio, Electro and the Sandman will all start off as being part of Doctor Octopus' Sinister Six and Slott will be drawing quite a bit from the developments in "The Gauntlet" storyline, and Sandman will get some particular attention in between Caselli's bookend issues. "The one thing you'll see in the Sandman issues, I don't think we've ever seen the Sandman operate on this level before."
Additionally, Spidey will get some cool new gadgets for his "Ends of the Earth" adventure. "We're going to see some pretty cool new Spider-tech," he said. "Spidey has known the Sinister Six are a-coming. ... Spider-Man has had all this time to prep and bring specific tech to all the members of the Sinister Six. ... Spider-Man has designed a new suit and this is a suit specifically designed to go to war with the Sinister Six."
As for Spidey himself, Slott said that the events of the past year won't really be changing the hero, but that a future issue would explore how it has affected him. "The world's at stake. All you need is one shake of that Etch-a-Sketch and it means nothing," he said. "Is he cocky? I think we're going to see some of that in upcoming issues of 'Spider-Man.'"
The writer was cagey about Peter's destiny as of the end of "Spider-Island" and Madame Web's huge prophecy. "Something is going to be happening and something is happening this year." Spidey's vow of "No one dies" will also be tested during this arc. "So far, Spider-Man has kept that up."
Iron Man and the Avengers will also play a role in "Ends of the Earth," but right now it is not that likely that other peripheral Spider-Man characters like Black Cat and Venom probably will not, despite the teaser image in last year's Free Comic Book Day issue.
"I've never done a Spider-Man story on this scope before," Slott said. "I think a lot of the stuff I do is on character, but this one I think the focus is a lot more on action and adventure. It's so big and the fallout from it is going to be huge. It's going to be neat at the end of the day when this is over where all the pieces are on the table. They're going to be in a lot of interesting spots."
In terms of tie-ins to the "Amazing Spider-Man" movie, there will be an "epic Spidey/Lizard" battle, but there will won't be any resurrection of Gwen Stacy.
As for the self-contained nature of the story, Slott commented on some previous early events like the Kree-Skrull War. "That's a part of Marvel history and why we're so awesome."
Slott again referenced "The Gauntlet" and how Spider-Man's villains have gone from being slightly goofy to really "credible threats." "Oh definitely, Doc Ock in this story, there is nothing goofball about it," he said. "Anyone who's read the Rhino stories recently, wow, what a character. Where these characters are going, I would love to-- there's only so much I can tip my hat about."
The Sinister Six issue coming out on December 21, Slott described as "Fried butter on a sick. You'll get so many calories from reading this. I can't wait until people read that issue!"
Peter's now ex-squeeze, Carlie Cooper, will change from the love interest to police contact moving toward the future. "If Spider-Man's Batman, then Carlie is Jim Gordon," said Slott. "But she's his ex." Carlie will be Spidey's cop friend in the spirit of Captain Jean deWolfe, with their added uncomfortable romantic past. "Keep an eye on Mary Jane, though. There are some interesting developments with her in 'Ends of the Earth.'"
"Ends of the Earth" is something that has been building since "Brand New Day" began, according to Slott, and was influenced by an edict from Marvel editors Steve Wacker and Tom Brevoort. "Steve Wacker and Tom Brevoort decided that nobody got to use the main Spider-Man villains for a year. When we bring them back, we'll bring them back big. ... Six months in, when we did 'New Ways to Die,' we opened up the toy chest. ... I was the lucky guy who got Doc Ock and I had these evil machinations of what I wanted to do with Doc Ock."
Slott also talked about his favorite Doc Ock stories, including the Death of Captain Stacy, which was the first comic that made him cry. "That's one of my most pivotal stories. There was another one where Spider-Man had to fight Doc Ock with the flu. ... There's a lot of stuff. The biggest one that's influenced me [for 'Ends of the Earth'] has got to be the 'Master Planner' storyarc, which is a lot of people's favorites."
Before "Ends of the Earth" takes place, Slott still has stories to tell, including a tale that comes right after the "Amazing Spider-Man" Point One issue. "We have an epic story, a two-parter, where Spidey is going into space." While Spidey will be joining forces with another character during the arc, the team-up is being kept hush-hush. The story takes place on the Apogee One, the Horizon Labs space station that Dr. Octopus previously infiltrated with Octobots. "Doc Ock has smuggled Octobots onto the space station because he needs Octobots on the space station, so we will see the payoff for that."
With a quick recap of the release details and a tease to look out for Gabrielle Dell'Otto's villain variant covers in the beginning of 2012, the call wrapped, leaving fans to look forward to a truly epic year for the web-slinger.
Stay tuned to CBR for more news on Dan Slott's "Ends of the Earth" storyarc and Spider-Man's 50th Anniversary.