SPIDER-MANDATE: Lowe Talks Spidey & Friends on the Edge of "Secret Wars"

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 "Secret Wars" event or other titles in Spidey's corner of the Marvel Universe, 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.

SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee

This week, Lowe gives us the run-down on the impending "Secret Wars," touching on everything from what books Spidey readers should be picking up to fan questions centered around the event Lowe says "is everything" right now in the Marvel U!

CBR News: The biggest thing right on the horizon is "Secret Wars." There's a lot of specific "Secret Wars" tie-ins and books that are ending with "Secret Wars," so to start off why don't you give us the lay of the land: for Spidey readers and fans, what characters should we pay attention to going into this event, and what "Secret Wars" books and tie-ins should people be picking up and paying attention to?

Nick Lowe: Sure! The Grand Poobah of the Spider-Man "Secret Wars" books is, of course, "Renew Your Vows." That one is written by Dan Slott with amazing art by Adam Kubert and that one focuses on Peter Parker, his wife Mary-Jane Watson and their daughter. It takes place on a region of Battleworld and basically delves into the Spider-Man a lot of readers kind of want, or at least that's a lot of the feedback we got when that marriage went away -- it's right back there and shows Peter as a family man. It's not just domestic bliss, sadly. It's Parker luck: the better his personal life is going, the worse life in general gets for him, and this is no exception. We've got a huge villain, incredibly high stakes and it's an incredible Spider-Man story that Dan Slott has planned for you guys. And when it's drawn by Adam Kubert, you know it's going to look gorgeous.

Slott & Kubert Tackle "Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows" in "Secret Wars"

Then we have "Secret Wars: Spider-Verse" which, like I've mentioned before, it spins directly out of the "Spider-Verse" event we finished back in January/February. It involves Spider-Gwen. It involves Anya Corazon Spider-Girl. It involves Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Man India and Spider-Ham and these characters find themselves in a region of Battleworld where things are very complicated for them. I don't want to give away too much but they find themselves in a very strange world, one they don't belong in. This is one of the few "Secret Wars" books, and I can't say too much about the structure of it until that comes out, but it zags where a lot of Battleworld/"Secret Wars" books zig. It's a really special book, but the core are these really incredible characters, and writer Mike Costa gives them such incredible voices that ring true to their characters, and also push them in new directions. With art by Andre Araujo brings such a fullness to the world around them and just a great energy to it -- we sent the first issue to the printer and it's such a delight with a big 'ol oversized first issue, it's going to knock people's socks off.

Coming up we have "Secret Wars: Spider Island." This series is so good! It's written by Christos Gage and actually it's two stories each; Christos Gage writes the main one with Paco Diaz on art and it hits a lot of the chords from the now classic "Spider Island" event, picks it up and spins it in a slightly different way that people will dig. Peter Parker is there but he's in really rough shape, so it's up to Flash Thompson to try and figure out a way to defeat the Spider-Queen. It's an incredible story with some of the most insane characters in it. I think we solicited the second issue and Cap Wolf is in it, the Iron Goblin -- who is the Iron Goblin? You'll have to read to find out! We've also got a very vampiric-looking person who looks a little like Captain Marvel, you've got to read to find out because we haven't talked much about that yet, and a huge lizard character who can't just be Curt Connors. Everyone needs to pick that book up, that book is great. If that's not enough you've got an MC2 story that Tom Defalco, Ron Frenz, Sal Buscema and company are going to bring us. For any MC2 fans you've got to pick this up; even if you aren't, pick it up and find out what you've been missing all these years from those books.

Then we've got a couple of "Last Days" comics that we haven't announced yet and people should keep their eyes peeled for more. There's one more, and it's kind of half Spidey, half not, but it's roots are in Spider-Man stuff and that is "Secret Wars: 2099." Spider-Man is not going to be a big part of that, but it will be the "Spider-Man 2099" team of Peter David and Will Sliney and they're going to give you an angle on the future you've never seen before.

Peter David Brings the Dark Future of "2099" to "Secret Wars'" Battleworld

That was actually going to be my next question -- with "Spider-Man 2099" is ending, is the "Secret Wars" version still under your Spider-Man purview?

Oh yeah. Devin Lewis, who is assistant editor on "Spider-Man," is editing that book. He's the editor of "Spider-Man 2099" so any Spider-Man 2099 fans should head over to this book because it's going to have some lasting impact -- and the Spidey team you've grown to love is over there. They've been doing something really special, there's only been one "Spider-Man 2099" of this run done by anyone other than the incredible artist Will Sliney. He and Peter really have gelled well and they run at 60 mph at all times. Wait, that's not fast enough -- 100 mph at all times! [Laughs] They're going to keep some of the same threads, but they are going to find themselves on Battleworld and they've got a lot of curveballs up their sleeve for you.

We've got things happening on Battleworld and potentially status quo-shattering repercussions for the Marvel Universe. Tonally for these books, is the goal for each to still feel like an extension of that book or prior event? If I pick up "Spider-Verse" will it feel like it could tonally fit in with the bigger "Spider-Verse" event, or if I pick up "Renew Your Vows" it feels like what Dan's been doing on "Amazing?"

Oh absolutely! So much of comic readership right now, and I'm assuming you, too, follow creators often more than you follow characters; at least that's what some of the super-fans end up doing. Our hope is that is going to happen, but we definitely want these to strike the chords of the events they are extending off of. But we want to also look at it from a new angle. These aren't just retreads. They're kind of taking the spirit and the idea, and each one is a little different. "Spider-Verse" is a much clearer continuation of what was going on in that event where "Spider Island," it's been longer since that one so I wouldn't say it picks up directly from there but it picks up a lot of themes and takes it to the next logical step and pushes it in another direction. In "Renew Your Vows" Dan is, in a way, taking where "Brand New Day" started and taking it down a different road. But a lot of the stuff he's been doing in "Amazing Spider-Man" resonates in there and it's going to have a lot of lasting effects in the future of Spider-Man.

There are three books right now that are seemingly not tying in or ending to launch a new "Secret Wars" series: the "Silk" ongoing, "Spider-Woman" ongoing and "Spider-Gwen," though she is appearing in other titles and is taking a break in July. With these three books, because they are brand new books that came out of a different event are they going to be more to the side of what is happening in "Secret Wars?"

Well "Secret Wars" is everything, no matter what. Everything ends with "Secret Wars." We haven't quite revealed the full extent of how all these things work, but nothing is safe, no one is safe. With "Spider-Gwen" it's more than just a break. "Silk" and "Spider-Woman" you're going to wait and see how they interact, but we're just getting started with "Secret Wars." You've only solicited the first two months of it. At Marvel we like to let these books shape what we do rather than get to crazily lockstep into everything happens at once, this one month everything changes! We haven't played all of our cards yet -- and this is going to sound ominous and it probably should -- but nobody is safe. It doesn't matter what's going on. Our biggest mantra is, and this is true, "Everything ends with 'Secret Wars.'" When we come out the other side it's going to be different. Everything is going to be different. I wish I could tell you more, but that's all I feel comfortable saying right now.

Since you took over the Spider-line one of your big things was there being a Spider-line: there's more titles, we've expanded the Spider world and characters, etc. With the recent expansion push and with "Secret Wars" so close, do you feel Spider-Man fans are really coming to the end of an era?

Again, it's just so tough to talk about with "Secret Wars" coming up! I wish I could claim credit for everything but you get some explosions, you get things you plan and things you don't plan. I'm so pleased with how our line has been expanding in a fresh, new and exciting way, and that's not to dis things that have come before me. I certainly didn't invent Spider-Man spinoffs! We've had books like "Venom" and "Scarlet Spider" and things that have come out before. But we are trying to do something different, we are trying to put our own spin and take things to a new place. I couldn't be prouder of the work. It's a little sad that it's so soon into some of this stuff "Secret Wars" is hitting, but knowing long-term plans for everything, I'm still pretty stoked about where we're going to come out on the other side. It's just not going to be where we left off.

Obviously "Secret Wars" is the big news here, but for the Spider-books in general is there anything non-event related worth highlighting?

"Secret Wars" touches everything but I hope people are still picking up "Spider-Woman" #5. We went in a new direction with Jessica's character after Spider-Verse and what that did to her, so I hope they pick up #5, #6, #7, the hits just keep coming. I hope people are reading that, and that everyone enjoys what's in those books leading up to "Secret Wars," but it's a pretty crazy time now!

Costa Ensnares "Secret Wars" in the Web of "Spider-Verse"

Then let's hop over to fan questions, the first one from Spider-Chan who says: Dear Mr. Lowe, Is "Spider-Verse" going to be a ongoing? I need Anya on a monthly basis and Supaidaman and SP//dr to show up somewhere!

[Laughs] That's hilarious. Well "Spider-Verse," all of these series coming out of "Secret Wars," we haven't told everything about them yet, but the biggest thing fans should know is that you vote with your wallets. The more people who pick up "Spider-Verse" the better chance it has for continuing on for a long time. How long will these things last? It has to do with the story but it also has to do with how much interest there is in that. That's always been true at Marvel, at least as long as I've been here. The more people pick it up the more we are apt to give you more. Nothing says that clearer than a book like "Spider-Gwen." People ate that book up, every print of that [debut] issue sold out, so we said, "Oh yeah, we need to do more of this! We need to do more with Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez." That message we got loud and clear. So if you want more pick up "Spider-Verse" and tell your friends to pick up "Spider-Verse."

The next question is from John Ossie who asks: Will we see Julia Carpenter in Secret Wars? If not any plans for her in 2015? Thank you in advance lol.

[Laughs] We do have Julia Carpenter stuff going on but I can't point out exactly where. It's not going to be where you expect it, though, I can tell you that much. We'll be seeing some Julia Carpenter, but not where you expect.

And then lastly fan Animehunter asks: Dear Mr. Lowe, With all these Last Day arcs appearing on a number of titles, should we expect one for "The Amazing Spider-Man as well?

For "Amazing Spider-Man" our last story with Dan and Christos Gage and Humberto Ramos is issue #18. After that it's all "Secret Wars." After that you get a little bit more Spidey in the Gerry Conway/Carlo Barberi story "Spiral" spinning out of the point ones of "Amazing Spider-Man." We don't get a "Last Days" story for Peter Parker, no no, but there are some we haven't announced yet. Keep your ears peeled!
We'll be back to discuss what's next for Spider-Man, Spider-Gwen and the rest of the Spider-line as "Secret Wars" ramps up, so make sure to send questions our way by heading over to the SPIDER-MANDATE CBR Community thread!

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