Though he spent the last decade getting his own record-breaking movie franchise outside of comics and seeing his continuity reboot straight to single man status on the printed page, Spider-Man will apparently have his biggest year ever in 2010. That's the promise of a new series of promotional images released by Marvel Comics this week as drawn by artist Pasqual Ferry, with more set as the week rolls on:
UPDATED ON 12/30: This morning, Marvel released another image showing more details of the Lizard and Kraven:
Set against an oblique jigsaw-themed background, the images were accompanied by very little textual information, though their content may speak to the future of the thrice-monthly "Amazing Spider-Man" title after the current villain-themed "The Gauntlet" story wraps.
The first puzzle piece released featured a group of Spider-Man supporting players including the recently seen Madame Web and Araña and two former Spidey alter egos. The women in question were last seen in "Amazing" #611, falling to the traps of the new Kraven the Hunter – Ana Tatiana Kravinoff. The writer of #611, Joe Kelly, told CBR in September that "Madame Web plays a key part in the long story I'm building towards, which plays out next year. So periodically we'll check in on her, and unfortunately for her those scenes won't be pretty...We've been talking about this story for quite a long time. Some of it actually predates my involvement with the group, but I think because of what it is and where it's gotten to, it's going to be pretty epic and scary. It allows us to look at some of the other characters in the Spider-Universe in a different light, and allows us to do some stuff with interesting continuity threads that are just hanging out there. I'm excited about it. It's going to be really bad ass.
"It's a dark 'Spidey's in a hell of a lot of trouble' style story," Kelly concluded. " It's also a Spidey responsibility story in terms of who gets yanked into the conflict through no fault of their own. It's going to be very cool."
As for the Iron Spider and Black Costume versions of Spider-Man, it remains unknown whether new heroes will take up those roles as the clones of M.V.P. previously did as the Scarlet Spiders in "Avengers: The Initiative."
The second image features "Amazing's" titular hero reaching for something just out of his grasp with background and tertiary pieces of the puzzle revealing the villain the Lizard as well as Peter Parker's now erased relationship with Mary Jane Watson. In a recent Cup O' Joe column at CBR, Marvel Editor-in-Chief spoke to the Spider-Man writer's plans for 2010 saying, "I did say some time ago that many of the unanswered questions about the wedding were going to be answered in 2010, and we're gearing up to that. It's very cool to see that we're finally coming on to that time."
Edit: In the comments thread for this article, board member donuil23 forwarded the theory that the woman in the second image was not Mary Jane but current supporting cast member Carly Cooper.
Quesada later added, "Well, I think it's pretty obvious that MJ is going to be back, so that's going to open a whole new can of worms with respect to relationships the characters will have or won't have. Should I even say the word "baby"? Should I use that word? I'll just put that out there: Baby. Mary Jane. Baby. Mary Jane with a… yes, baby. I'll stop there."
While fan speculation has led to talk of Marvel finally acknowledging the supposed survival of Peter and Mary Jane's lost child from reviled '90s story "The Clone Saga," though true answers may not be immediately forthcoming as "The Gauntlet" stretches well into Marvel's March plans for the character.
Keep your eyes on CBR in the coming days for any additional breaking news from Spider-Man's puzzling images!