As a member of the "New Avengers," Spider-Man often has opportunities to help save the Marvel Universe from large and powerful threats, but his number one priority is always to make sure that the streets of his hometown, New York City, are safe. It is because of this that Spider-Man will become greatly concerned by Daredevil's choice to take control of the ninja assassin cult, the Hand, and turn them into his private anti crime militia.
This July, Spidey will get involved in the fight against Daredevil when writer Andy Diggle and artist Billy Tan's five issue event miniseries "Shadowland" begins. Come October, in writer Dan Slott and artist Paulo Siqueira's one-shot "Shadowland: Spider-Man," Daredevil's actions force Spider-Man and Shang-Chi, the Master of Kung-Fu into a confrontation with the power hungry Chinatown crime lord, Mister Negative. CBR News spoke with Slott about the book.
CBR News: Dan, what made you want to get involved with the "Shadowland" storyline?
Dan Slott: Instead of favoring big events like "Siege" and "Blackest Night," Marvel is trying to pare down to smaller events focused around different groups of books that you might already follow. So if you're a fan of Marvel's street level books like "Daredevil," "Amazing Spider-Man" and "Vengeance of the Moon Knight," "Shadowland" is like a special event just for you, and there's something neat about that.
With Spider-Man, we have to plan things far in advance because of our three times a month schedule, but you want Spidey to be a part of "Shadowland." It's an important story that takes place right in his corner of the Marvel Universe. So the best way to do that is the same way we handled his involvement in the "Dark Reign: The List" specials, with a one-shot side project. That stuff is always fun to do. I love being in the thick of an event. There's something fun about that. So I read the overview of what Andy Diggle was doing and how "Shadowland" works and thought, "Yeah. That's going to be cool. I totally want to be part of that."
I imagine that, since "Shadowland" is being billed as "The Battle for the Soul of New York," Spider-Man will have a significant part to play, correct? Because to many comic fans, Spidey is the soul of New York City.
Yes, but like we did with "The List," if you're just reading "Shadowland" you're good to go for this one-shot. Or if you're just reading "Amazing Spider-Man" and want to pick up this one-shot, you're good to go, too. If you want to get the full fleshed out picture and read everything, obviously that's an option as well. There's something nice about that. You get to choose your level of involvement.
How would you describe Peter Parker's physical and emotional well-being when this story begins? What's on his mind?
I think he's pretty darn happy Daredevil doesn't know his secret identity anymore [Laughs]. Not telling him in "Amazing Spider-Man" #600 looks like a pretty smart move. Now Spidey’s thinking, "He's running the Hand now! Thank God he doesn't know who's behind this mask."
Will any of the ongoing story elements from "Amazing Spider-Man," like Peter's employment woes or relationship problems, factor into "Shadowland: Spider-Man?"
When I was a kid growing up, it was almost like there were two different types of Spider-Man. There was the Spider-Man you read about in "Amazing" and then there's the Spider-Man you read about in "Marvel Team-Up." It was like, "Wow! He's going to the moon! Now he's meeting up with Thor!" So sometimes you'd go whole issues without Spider-Man lifting up his mask because you were in that book to just read about Spider-Man. It’s like that in this "Shadowland: Spider-Man" one-shot - Spidey doesn't take off his mask. You're getting pure Spidey. He has some Peter Parker-y thoughts, but what you're really in for in this one-shot is a Spider-Man and Shang-Chi team-up, 'cause Shang-Chi is also part of the "Shadowland" event.
What made you want to bring Shang-Chi into this story?
He's the Master of Kung-Fu! I'm a big Shang-Chi fan, from all the Doug Moench years. It was a wonderful book. I love seeing him fight characters like Shockwave or being on Mordillo's Island. Anybody who read my "Thing" series knows that I couldn't wait to set something on Mordillo's Island. I got this serious jones for Shang-Chi.
And a lot of stuff that I've been playing around with in Spider-Man has involved Mister Negative, the evil crime lord of Chinatown. We really haven't seen many other heroes go up against Mister Negative. We saw him fight The Hood in the "Dark Reign: Mister Negative" miniseries and we saw him go up against Anti-Venom in "Amazing Spider-Man: Extra," but we've really just been kind of focused on Mister Negative versus Spidey. When you look at Shang-Chi and where he comes from, the idea of a criminal mastermind slowly growing an army and spreading the influence of his evil empire out from Chinatown feels very personal to him. That is someone Shang-Chi would feel the need to stop, because it reminds him of his father.
Speaking of Mister Negative, how does he feel about the events of "Shadowland?" What do they mean to him?
This is the most amazing opportunity ever for Mister Negative. There's a battle being waged for the soul of New York and here is this one faction that obviously all these forces are rising against. It's a faction that's carved out a section of power in New York, and it's a section that Mister Negative would love to expand his empire into. With all these forces rising against Matt’s power base, this is the perfect time to attack. So expect to see Mister Negative's Inner Demons in combat with the Hand. Everybody will be kung-fu fighting! [Laughs].
I think it's interesting to note that by having Shang-Chi oppose Mister Negative in this one-shot, you're having the Marvel Universe's two most prominent Taoists go head-to-head.
That is very interesting, isn't it? That seems like something that would be explored—in the "Shadowland: Spider-Man" one-shot! [Laughs]
What else can you tell us about the plot and themes of "Shadowland: Spider-Man?"
The story is called, "Unbalanced," and to say anymore might give some stuff away.
From what you're telling us, it sounds like in terms of tone "Shadowland: Spider-Man" will be a street level, action-adventure, kung-fu, epic. Is that correct?
Yes. That's exactly what I would say it is. And the things that are set into motion in this one-shot will come back into play several months down the line in "Amazing Spider-Man" in a very cool way.