As Spider-Man, Peter Parker set out on a quest to use his super abilities responsibly and protect his fellow man. It was a quest that brought him face to face with many of the Marvel Universe's super powered champions. Due to his sense of humor and genuine good nature, Peter befriended many of these heroes -- but what happens when some one with a more abrasive personality takes over the mantle of Spider-Man? Would someone with a more narcissistic outlook be able to maintain Spidey's established relationships with other heroes, or will these dynamics become more complex and explosive?
Readers of "Avenging Spider-Man" will get the answers to these questions and more as the events of "Amazing Spider-Man" #700 and "Avenging Spider-Man" #15.1 set up Doctor Otto Octavius, whose consciousness now resides in Peter Parker's body, as the title character of the team-up series. CBR News spoke with "Avenging Spider-Man" writer Chris Yost about his perspective on Doc Ock taking on the mantle of Spider-Man and his plans for the team-up series in this new status quo with series artist Carlo Barberi.
CBR News: Chris, as a long time Spider-Man fan, what was your immediate reaction when you heard what was going to happen in "Amazing Spider-Man" #700? What did you find most interesting about the idea of having Doc Ock become the "Superior Spider-Man?"
Chris Yost: Editor Steve Wacker called me up and offered me "Avenging Spider-Man," which I immediately said "Yes" to as Spider-Man is my favorite character in all of comics. He told me that it'd be in the middle of a big story going on in "Amazing Spider-Man," and that I'd be working closely with writer Dan Slott on it. Great.
A few weeks later, I ran into Dan Slott who he told me his plan to kill Peter Parker
and replace him with Doctor Octopus. So essentially the Spider-Man that I'd be
writing was in fact a super-villain.
So my immediate reaction was, "Wow -- that is a big story," just as Steve Wacker said. It took me a while and several conversations with Steve and Dan to kind of wrap my head around it all. Luckily, Dan was more than happy to walk me through the big picture -- and this was still almost nine months before it all hit.
As far as what's interesting about Doctor Octopus becoming Spider-Man --
"everything" isn't much of an answer, but it's the truth. And honestly, "Avenging" is in many ways a much sweeter gig than "Amazing" on this front, because while Dan has to do all the heavy lifting, I get to play with the new Spider-Man interacting with the whole Marvel Universe.
I'm insanely grateful to be working on this, at one of the most exciting times in
Spider-history. So thanks, Steve Wacker!
This isn't the first time you've written a Spider-Man villain that suddenly found themselves thrust into a heroic role. You've been doing that for several months with Kaine, the title character of "Scarlet Spider." How does writing the Superior Spider-Man compare with writing Kaine? How are these characters similar and different?
One of my initial concerns was that it would be too similar to "Scarlet Spider" -- former villains, redemption stories, etc. But as you'll see, Otto's style and personality make all the difference.
The key point that I hung onto as I went forward trying to find the difference
between Kaine and Ock's arcs here was HOW they both go about doing what they're doing. As seen in "Avenging" 15.1, Ock's attitude still needs a little work. [Laughs]
Let's talk a little bit about that attitude and the Superior Spider-Man's motivations, especially in light of "Avenging Spider-Man" #15.1, where he was reminded of how often he failed as a super villain. Going into "Avenging" #16, is Otto Octavius driven purely by ego and a desire to be better than the person who beat him so many times, or is he still affected and motivated by the emotional components of Peter Parker's memories?
The ego and a desire to be better than Peter is part of it, but it's more than that. That's what Kraven was doing in "Kraven's Last Hunt." I think Ock truly did learn the lesson that Peter taught him -- so I think he's genuine in what he's doing. It's the way that he's doing it that makes the difference here.
But not only does he feel the need to be a better Spider-Man, he sees now that he needs to be a better Otto Octavius, too. His ego got a reality check, and now he's got a second chance to be better all around. "Better," however, is a pretty subjective term. What Otto sees as being better, many people -- like the X-Men, FF, and Avengers -- will see as Peter Parker being a "dick."
I'm curious how Otto having Peter's memories (and the emotions attached to them) will carry over to the team ups in "Avenging Spider-Man." Otto will know what kind of relationships the previous Spider-Man had with the heroes he teams up with, but will he be affected by the type of interactions they had? Will he find himself liking the Human Torch and the Fantastic Four, or will the Superior Spider-Man's dynamic with these characters be more determined by Otto's past interactions with them?
Ock knows everything that Peter knows. Some of those emotions will bleed over, but Ock's emotions and attitudes are still at the forefront. This is uncharted territory for Doctor Octopus -- friends, loved ones, people who trust him, etc. But at the same time, he can't full on behave like his normal self without people realizing something is wrong.
The first characters the Superior Spider-Man will interact with in "Avenging Spider-Man" are the X-Men and among their ranks is Wolverine. What was your sense of the relationship between Wolverine and Peter Parker? Does he have any past encounters with Wolverine and the X-Men that would color his feelings about these characters?
If you look at the history between Spider-Man and Wolverine, it's fairly antagonistic. Wolverine is pretty much a condescending jerk toward Peter, and that's something that Doctor Octopus' ego will not allow.
Otto will take Peter's feelings about Wolverine and act on them in a very Ock way. But the more important member of the X-Men that's a much bigger threat to Otto is Rachel Grey, a mutant telepath.
In February's "Avenging Spider-Man" #17, the Superior Spider-Man teams with the Future Foundation. What can you tell us about the plot and themes of this issue? Will Otto only interact with the kids and Dragon Man, or will readers see original and/or current substitute Fantastic Fours as well?
Spider-Man is summoned to the Baxter Building by the replacement FF -- they've got to go deal with something, and Spider-Man assumes they want him to lead the mission. But in fact, they've called him in for babysitting duty.
But Spider-Man has his own agenda as he enters the Baxter Building -- as a former evil scientist, what treasures does the home of Reed Richards hold? Hint: It's something that Peter Parker brought there. But of course, everything goes south when beings from the future attack the FF, trying to wipe them from the time stream.
Finally can you hint, tease, or talk about any of the team ups coming further down the line in "Avenging Spider-Man?" Are there any characters you're especially interested in tackling?
You'll see the X-Men, the FF, Thor, Sleepwalker, the Secret Avengers -- and while all these team up serve to introduce the Superior Spider-Man to the Marvel
Universe, all is not as it seems.
Spider-Man is up to something very specific. Or rather, Doctor Octopus is...
"Avenging Spider-Man" #16 written by Chris Yost with art by Paco Medina is on sale January 16th