Brock in Black: Aguirre-Sacasa Talks "Sensational Spider-Man"

Fri, June 8th, 2007 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Dave Richards, Staff Writer

"Sensational Spider-Man" #38, on sale June 20

Fortune may be smiling on Spider-Man at the box office this summer, but in the four-color world the Wall-Crawler's luck is just as bad as ever. The entire planet knows his identity; he's a fugitive from justice; and his beloved Aunt May lies in a coma after being shot by a professional assassin. It might seem like things couldn't get any worse for Peter Parker, but in June's "Sensational Spider-Man" #38 readers will find out that Aunt May is even more vulnerable than Peter Parker thought, when one of Spider-Man's most violent adversaries is checked into the same hospital as his frail aunt. CBR News spoke with "Sensational Spider-Man" writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa about the Marvel Comics series and its next storyline, "The Last Temptation of Eddie Brock."

Under Aguirre-Sacasa "Sensational Spider-Man" has become the book that chronicles the weird and mysterious world of Peter Parker. Aguirre-Sacasa's stories have generally been horror style tales, straight character driven stories, or a combination of both. "I'm a huge fan of horror films and horror fiction. I love the genre," Aguirre-Sacasa told CBR News. "In my work on 'Marvel Knights 4" and now on 'Sensational,' a new way to look at these characters was to put them in horror stories. That gave kind of a fresh take on the characters.

"Sensational Spider-Man" #38, page 4
"I personally gravitate to those kinds of stories," Aguirre-Sacasa added. "I think in the case of 'Sensational,' those old 'Peter Parker Spectacular Spider-Man' issues were very weird. I wouldn't say they were horror stories but they were definitely sci-fi and kind of psychedelic stories. It was the 'weird' book and I feel that with 'Sensational' I've tried to take up that mantle a little bit; to tell those weird stories be they sci-fi or whatever in addition to the character driven stuff."

The most recent arc of "Sensational Spider-Man" was a horror story that focused both on the characters of Peter Parker and one of his former science students, Jordan Harrison, upon whose life Peter made a huge impact. Jordan isn't involved in the next story of "Sensational," but fans of the character shouldn't worry. "I think we'll definitely see him again," Aguirre-Sacasa confirmed.

"Sensational Spider-Man" #38, page 7
As readers may have guessed by the title of the arc, they will be seeing the return of one of Peter Parker's most dangerous foes in June. "In keeping with the rest of the series, 'The Last Temptation of Eddie Brock' is kind of like a gothic horror tale set in a hospital," Aguirre-Sacasa explained. "It really is a claustrophobic horror story, which has Eddie Brock realizing that one of the closest family members of one of his greatest foes is literally there for the picking if he's willing to go there. It reimagines Venom as if a demon has possessed Eddie Brock."

Some readers may believe the cancer-ridden Eddie Brock doesn't pose any sort of threat to Peter Parker or his loved ones, but those readers would be incorrect. "He's a pretty big threat," Aguirre-Sacasa remarked. "Especially when you consider the person he targets is a frail old woman in a coma. That said, as frail as Eddie is, he's someone who's literally driven with such hatred, confusion, and madness that I think he's a little more resilient than you might think. It does feel that this might be a last gasp attempt. Eddie has decided to go out with a bang."

"Sensational Spider-Man" #38, page 10
One of the last times fans saw Eddie Brock, he appeared to be a man of strong faith with a code about attacking innocents, leaving some readers wondering why Brock's decided to target the decidedly innocent May Parker. "That's a huge part of the story," Aguirre-Sacasa said. "[Brock's] faith and his belief that Aunt May has always been an innocent, and therefore untouchable, is shaken to the core in this story. He's very much a man who has either lost his faith, turned his back on his faith, or is willfully flying in the face of it."

While Brock is hatching his scheme to harm Aunt May, Peter Parker is busy with a desperate plan of his own to save her. "Peter is definitely at his wit's end and is kind of grasping at straws," Aguirre-Sacasa stated. "He's turning to anyone and everyone who might be able to help Aunt May, which means doing stuff he wouldn't normally do. In this case he gets the idea and seeks out help from Madame Web to gather a group of friends to try and essentially conduct a séance to reach Aunt May in her coma. This isn't the usual way Spider-Man deals with problems. Madame Web has been an advisor to him but he rarely teams up with her in this direct sort of way."

"Sensational Spider-Man" #38, page 11
Another hero Spider-Man will be teaming up with in the "Last Temptation of Eddie Brock" arc is the Black Cat, who is a member of the pro-registration Heroes for Hire, while Spider-Man is a member of the anti-registration New Avengers. Still, Black Cat considers Peter Parker a friend and ally even though the outcome of "Civil War" had them on opposite sides of the superhero registration issue. "There is a mention of that in Sensational," Aguirre-Sacasa said. "In this story, Black Cat helps Peter as Felicia Hardy, not as the Black Cat. Plus Felicia at her core is an outlaw, even if she's fighting on the registration side. I think no matter what she says and does, who she's dating and who Peter's with, she for sure always has a soft spot in her heart for Peter and is always kind of carrying a torch for him."

In addition to the Black Cat and Madame Web, Spider-Man will also be enlisting the aid of his wife Mary Jane and her aunt Anna Watson in his plan to save Aunt May. Because of Spider-Man' status as a fugitive in both his civilian and costumed identities, he'll need all the help he can get. "We do see him briefly in costume but in this arc he's pretty much operating as Peter Parker," Aguirre-Sacasa explained. "He's definitely operating under the radar as someone who is on America's Most Wanted List. We see him doing some things but we don't get a whole lot of him being in agony over being an outlaw. He's mostly in agony over May and his attempts to save her."

"Sensational Spider-Man" #38, page 17
Following his attempt to save his aunt in "The Last Temptation of Eddie Brock," Spider-Man will have what just might be one of the strangest encounters of his entire career. "The next arc of 'Sensational Spider-Man' is called 'The Book of Peter,'" Aguirre-Sacasa revealed. "It's essentially 'Peter Parker meets God.' That's all I can say about it." The following month sees the release of a story guaranteed to rock Spider-Man's world, "Spider-Man: One More Day." "'One More Day' crosses over into 'Sensational Spider-Man. So I think it will definitely have a huge impact on the book and afterwards for sure."

Aguirre-Sacasa hopes "The Last Temptation of Eddie Brock" makes an enjoyable impact upon fans. "Looking back over my run on 'Sensational Spider-Man,'" Auirre-Sacasa said, "I'm proud of all my stories but there's some that I'm more proud of. This Eddie Brock two-parter is one of those that I'm most proud of. I have to give the devil his due. My editor Warren Simons really encouraged me to write about the character. Lee Weeks is drawing these two issues and I think they're going to look great.   I'm really excited about this story. I think it's a good combination of character stuff and horror stuff.

In addition to his monthly duties on "Sensational Spider-Man," Aguirre-Sacasa will soon have two more Marvel characters' adventures to chronicle. "I'm working on a book that stars an X-Men member and reimagines their origin, which I think is going to be really exciting. I'm also working on a book that stars a supporting cast member from 'Sensational Spider-Man."

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