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 "Spider-Verse" event or the other titles coming to Spidey's corner of the Marvel U, Peter Parker and company have a lot on their plates. Shepherding the flock of Web-Swinging titles is Marvel Senior Editor Nick Lowe, who brings his years of experience as head of the X-Men books to Spider-Man -- and it means he's the man with all the answers when it comes to what's up with Peter Parker and Co.
After a brief hiatus, SPIDER-MANDATE picks back up with Nick Lowe to discuss the many plot points in the Spider-Universe, the transition of Black Cat to full-blown villain and the excitement surrounding "Edge of Spider-Verse." Plus, the experienced editor explains the ending of fan-favorite series "Superior Foes of Spider-Man" and takes on some reader questions from the CBR Community.
CBR News: Nick, since we last spoke, there have been so many major developments in the Spider-Man universe! But before we get into that, I know you're a Taylor Swift super fan, like me -- how excited are you for her new album?
Nick Lowe: I am super stoked! I love "Shake If Off" and the video. It's a big hit in our family -- my 11-month-old daughter loves dancing to it and she doesn't understand a word.
Well, let's start with the return of "Superior Spider-Man," which is almost like "Spider-Verse" #0. What made Spider-Ock the best character to help kick off the event, rather than Peter Parker himself?
The big thing is that "Spider-Verse" doesn't officially start until "Amazing Spider-Man" #9, and that's where we wanted Peter to really first enter the story of Spider-Verse. As far as the "Superior" aspect of it, we wanted to get to that little loophole that Dan left for him in "Superior Spider-Man" #19, and explain a little bit more of where Doc has been. It was just a great way to pick the "Superior" story up after a couple of months. That way we could let people grieve the loss and enjoy the end of that story, and a great way to dive into the set-up for "Spider-Verse."
Sajani has become a pretty huge wildcard in "Amazing Spider-Man." Considering recent developments, how integral a character will she be to the Spider-Universe moving forward?
Well, Parker Industries is pretty central to all things Spider-Man at this point. As the co-founder, heading it up with Peter, you're going to see a lot of Sajani. You're not going to see a lot of her during Spider-Verse, but when we come back and moving forward, there will be a lot of Sajani in the Spider-world. Dan has big plans for her, or else he wouldn't have ended "Amazing Spider-Man" #6 like he did. She's got a very different agenda than Peter does, and that will continue to be true as we move forward.
Speaking of recent developments, the Black Cat continues to be building as one of the major Spider-Foes in recent memory. It's been a while since she went full-on villain. What will readers see from the character that they haven't seen before?
They'll see a Black Cat that has lost everything. It's kind of like a villain "Born Again." "Daredevil: Born Again" is my favorite Marvel story ever. Kingpin takes everything that Matt Murdock has and had, and Matt has to build up from there. In a way, Superior [Spider-Man] did that in one fell swoop when he outed Felicia as the Black Cat and sent her to jail. She lost everything that she had, and now she's determined to build herself back up, but with a very different outlook than she had before. Like you mentioned, this is her in a much more villainous vein than she's ever been because she's seen a different side of the world. "Why am I trying so hard to be such a force for good? What's the point?" She's out to get what she thinks she deserves and what she wants. She's not going to let anyone stand in her way.
That's what makes her such an interesting villain at this point, because she's got her goals -- which we can understand, even if we don't agree with her methods for getting them -- and she's going to be a big part of the Marvel Universe as a villainess. You can already see her in "Hawkeye Vs. Deadpool" #0 just as a start.
Do you think there's potential for that character to go back to her more heroic side, or is she going to be a staple of the Spider-Man villains roster for quite some time to come?
For the foreseeable future, there's no way she's coming back. She's crossing lines and will continue to cross some lines that will push her into a direction that some fans won't like, but they're interesting. And, at the very least, fans will see more of her as a villain than they've seen of her as a grey-area love-interest! [Laughs].
Silk is finally here! Her introduction to the series has really thrown a wrench into Peter's super heroics and his personal life. How will their relationship continue to be explored as "Spider-Verse" continues to build to its debut?
You're going to see Silk a lot in coming months. She's in "Amazing Spider-Man" #7 & #8 and plays a huge part in "Spider-Verse," both in the main story of "Amazing," but also in "Spider-Woman." She's going to be an ongoing part of Spider-Man's world for quite some time, and I cannot wait for everyone to see our plans for Cindy Moon.
"Edge of Spider-Verse" also came out last week, with the return of Spider-Man Noir. You've already got a lot of Spider-People running around in the pages of "Amazing Spider-Man" back-up stories, but what made these Spider-folk in particular worthy of a larger focus?
Spider-Man Noir has a big role to play. You've already seen him in "Superior Spider-Man," and you'll see him in "Spider-Verse." He's also in "Spider-Woman" and "Spider-Verse Team-Up." We're big fans of Spider-Man Noir in the Spidey office, and of David Hine and Fabrice Sapolsky's work with that character. That's the first thing: he's a major character in "Spider-Verse," and I wanted to make sure we reminded enough people of who he was. It was a character that we wanted to see more of.
With the other characters, a bunch of them will play roles of varying sizes as we move forward, but Spider-Gwen plays a big role in "Spider-Verse" and has since Dan Slott dreamed her and the story up. But as far as what that Gwen and that issue became is all down to Jason Latour, Robbi Rodriguez, and Clayton Cowles, who I think very highly [of] or I wouldn't have put them on that book.
As far as why the different creators are doing those specific characters, it was really organic. I talked to creators that I wanted to work with, and we talked over what characters we wanted to play with -- some wanted to create their own, some wanted to play with existing characters or upcoming characters. I told Jason, "You might want to think about Spider-Gwen." He jumped at the chance. Basically, when you're an editor you want to put creators whose work you love in a position to succeed. With "Edge of Spider-Verse" #3, Dustin [Weaver] and I talked about what kind of story he wanted to tell, leaned toward his manga-inspired action and sci-fi skills and landed with a new character. Issue #4, which we sent to the printer a couple weeks ago, is the scariest comic I've ever been a part of. Ellie Pyle edited it, but Clay Champman and Elia Bonetti and Vero Gandini -- they did such a great job with it. That started with Clay's horror skills and took off from there.
And "Edge of Spider-Verse" #5 is going to press this week, and Gerard Way, Jake Wyatt and Ian Herring have done such great work on it. I'm so proud of it. I'm about to dig into Clayton Cowles' lettering like it's a rare steak!
I'm so proud of this miniseries, I can't even tell you!
Transitioning to a little bit of sad news, we also saw the cancellation of the little Spider-Book that could, "Superior Foes of Spider-Man." With such a massive fan response to that series and the way it progressed, what kind of plans are there to keep an indie-feel book like that in the realm of Spider-Man? Or has the time for that experiment maybe passed?
Oh, I don't think the time for that experiment has passed. Honestly, from the day I stepped into the Spider-Man office, the ending of "Superior Foes" had been planned already. Actually, I believe it was already extended because it was supposed to last until the end of "Superior Spider-Man," but lasted beyond it because Nick Spencer, Steve Lieber and company did such a great job! It also bears mentioning that Editors Steve Wacker, Tom Brennan, Lauren Sankovitch and Jon Moisan championed it at every pass. So it was less a cancellation and more a book finishing what it had originally set out to do.
New York Comic Con is on its way next month, and while I know you can't say much about plans for announcements, but it's Spidey's home city -- is it safe to assume there are big things waiting for those Spider-Fans who plan to attend?
We're going to be talking a lot about Spider-Verse at New York Comic Con. It will be less than a month away at that point and I will actually have printed copies of "Amazing Spider-Man" #9 with me! If you come to the Spider-Panel on Sunday, a few lucky fans will get to read "Amazing Spider-Man" #9, the first part of "Spider-Verse." There will be at least one Spidey announcement at New York Comic Con, one that I am very excited about, and something that we've been working on for a little while.
Moving to some questions from the CBR Community, we have SpiderX who asks, "Are we going to see Peter come to terms with the fact that he has killed people? Granted it was while Octavius was in control of his body but it was his physical body and while he was dressed as Spider-Man."
We're not going to see too much more of Peter beating himself up about what Doc did. Again, he was not in control of himself, and we saw his reaction to it when he was in the ghost figure in the background, as Doc was doing some of these things. We know how Peter feels about them. If someone took over my body and did terrible things, I'd be very upset about it, but there's got to be a limit, SpiderX. Don't try to make Peter feel any worse than he already does.
Johnatellodi asks, "Mr. Lowe, I know a lot of SpOck fan's are curious about the fate of Superior Spider-Man OHC volume 3. I was hoping you could shed some light on it's demise or eventual release. Thanks for your time! P.S. Great job snagging Gerard Way!"
Well, first of all, thank you for the kudos about Gerard! About the hardcover, look for it in March of 2015! TRY TO SAVE YOURSELF FOR IT!
Before wrapping up, anything else you'd like to add about the upcoming Spider-projects?
I'm just so excited that "Spider-Verse" is almost here. I've been working on it since the first day I stepped into the Spider-Office and that was the day I read Dan's pitch and first script where we really buckled down and planned the whole event. It's the kind of thing you can't wait to get in front of people because you've been living with it for so long. I'm so excited for people to see the amazing work that Dan and Olivier and the rest of the crew on all the tie-ins are doing. I think we have some of the most special tie-ins of any event, period. We have tie-ins that mean something to the major story, but also have their own identity. I can't even wait to share more plans as we move forward.
I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised by "Spider-Woman." I know there have been some reactions to some early stuff, but it is a great book that Dennis [Hopeless] and Greg [Land] and company are really kicking some butt on. It's not going to be what people think it's going to be, and I just can't wait to see the reaction from people who read it.
Got a question for the Amazing Nick Lowe? Head on over to our Spider-Mandate official CBR Community thread, where you can submit your questions for the man himself!