Free Comic Book Day debuted all the way back in May 2002, the day after the release of Sam Raimi's first "Spider-Man" film. With the wall-crawler back in theaters, now swinging alongside Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Marvel uncorked an ambitious new storyline on the holiday designed to celebrate the medium.
The long-teased "Dead No More" kicks off as a flip-side to the publisher's FCBD 2016 "Captain America" #1 offering, and marks the return of many familiar, lost, but not forgotten Spider-Man characters.
Marvel's original teaser for "Dead No More" asked, If you got a chance to bring back someone who died, would you? Rhino has made his decision, and it means trouble for Spidey.
Written by Dan Slott and drawn by Javier Garron, the story finds Peter Parker meeting his mentor Max Modell for lunch, presumably to discuss their shared challenges as industrial innovators now that he's gone and made himself a mini-mogul. However, he's still that same old Peter, who looks every bit the immature flake when he has to excuse himself to pursue a lead: a woman long thought to be dead.
The pursuit brings the All-New, All Slightly Green-Glowy Armored Spider-Man across the paths of the aforementioned Rhino and the voluminous Kingpin. Although Spidey is able to make quick work of the two classic villains, the adventure only serves as prelude to a greater mystery, as both foes are fighting for the lives of people that have already died.
The previously released teaser image for "Dead No More" featured appearances by an assortment of deceased characters from throughout Spider-lore, and one of them makes a dramatic appearance here, indicating not only the power of this new villain set on ruining Spider-Man's life, but his familiarity with his foe. Is this antagonist a new character, as it appears, or does an old friend have a new disguise, and bag of tricks?
But who was it that makes that dramatic return? Spoiler alert for those dying to know.
Hold on to your Emma Stones ... but Gwen Stacy is back, and she's under the thrall of the red-suited, Egyptian-inspired string-puller barking at Spider-Man's heels. And from the looks of the series' teaser image, she's only the first to return, as it may only be a matter of time before everyone Peter has ever lost comes back to haunt him.
Billed as "The Spider-Event of the Year," "Dead No More" continues this fall, from Slott and Jim Cheung.