Marvel Comics has announced a new, original graphic novel set in Spider-Man's corner of the Marvel Universe. Revealed in a post by USA Today, "Spider-Man: Family Business" is written by Mark Waid and James Robinson with art by Gabriele Dell'Otto and takes place before the events of "Amazing Spider-Man" #700. Debuting May 2014, the OGN introduces a new character: a woman claiming to be Peter Parker's long-lost sister Teresa.
"The story is moving at such a breakneck speed that there's not much of a chance to catch a breath," Waid told USA Today. "He has every reason to be skeptical about who this woman is and who she says she is. ... [Teresa is] the anti-Peter. She's got it all together, she's smooth as silk. She's Modesty Blaise."
Waid further stated the story has more to do with an attack on Peter Parker, and while both Cyclone and Rhino will make an appearance, the focus is more on Peter as he and the woman claiming to be his sister run from a crime syndicate gunning for their lives. The OGN will also give more information about Peter's parents, Richard and Mary Parker.
"It seems very bizarre to [Peter] that Aunt May never mentioned anything about this woman, who's about his age and the resemblance is there," Waid said. "Peter wants to try to figure out what this mystery is all about but basically they're running from a crime syndicate out to kill them both throughout the novel, so there's not a whole lot of time for Spider-Man to sit and relax and slowly suss this out."
The OGN will be the second of Marvel's new foray into in-continuity, long-form stories, following Warren Ellis and Mike McKone's "Avengers: Endless Wartime," which Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso teased as the first installment in "a full-blown graphic novel program."
"I'm very excited. I've wanted to see us do this for a long time," Alonso said in last week's Axel-in-Charge column. "OGNs provide a distinctly different type of read. I believe there's a certain type of reader that is receptive to a format that gives them one story with a beginning, middle and end that fits nicely on their bookshelf. And the fact that the format allows writers to approach stories in a different way -- more as a novel than a serialized story -- will be a game-changer in terms of who we entice to the writing table."
"Spider-Man: Family Business" is also significant as it's James' Robinson's first announced project in comics following his abrupt exit from DC Comics in May.
"Spider-Man: Family Business" hits stores May 2014.