Welcome to SPIDER-MANDATE, the newest CBR Q&A column where fans submit their Spider-Man questions to Marvel's oracle of all things Spidey: Senior Editor Nick Lowe. An alum of the X-Office, Nick recently made the move and became the editor in charge of the Spider-Office, helping to usher Peter Parker back into the land of the living -- and a new ongoing series.
"Amazing Spider-Man" #1 by Dan Slott, Humberto Ramos and a laundry list of other top shelf creators, launched this week to a lot of fanfare. The issue answered questions , set up a great many plot points, and left plenty of other questions unanswered.
In the debut installment of SPIDER-MANDATE, Lowe tackles queries about Peter's romantic life, the current and future status of fan-favorite character Anna Maria, the connectivity of the Spider-titles as "Amazing" continues to take shape, and when readers can learn more about newly-created character Silk.
Steve Sunu: Nick, before we kick things off, there were many readers this week with questions about Anna Maria and her role in "Amazing Spider-Man." Hopefully, the release of "Amazing Spider-Man" #1 answered a few of those questions, but what's the extent of her involvement in the series moving forward?
Nick Lowe: She will continue to be a major character in Spider-Man's life. Peter certainly has some 'splaining to do, as you can see at the end of this first issue. She has been though a lot and she doesn't even know the half of it yet. Anna Maria is going to be a major supporting character in this book moving forward. She's a big part of issue #2, she's a big part of issue #3, and she'll continue to be a big part of the series. I don't want to give too much away, but there's some really cool things that Dan has planned for her. But the first thing that they're going to have to deal with is what happened. How much is Peter going to explain? Is he going to tell her the truth, or give her some white lie to color it in some way? What about that ring? I hope Spidey fans enjoy waiting for issue #2.
As many questions as there were about Anna Maria, there was also a lot of concern about Peter's love life, especially with Mary Jane and Carlie Cooper attempting to distance themselves from Peter at the end of "Superior Spider-Man." What's Peter's love life going to be like now that he's back with no memory of Ock's actions?
That's a great question. He's got a lot of detective work to do to figure out what happened, how much he can figure out. He's got little bits and pieces -- Doc has erased most of the things. Peter will remember a little bit, bits and pieces that you'll see -- but for the most part, it's wiped away.
The love life is something that Dan and I have had lots of long conversations about. It's something that is very much a high priority for us, and something to really deal with. I can't say too much without spoiling things but it's on our agenda. His first hurdle is figuring out what he's going to do about the relationship that Otto had with Anna Maria in his body and his life. That is a problem that I don't think anyone reading this has ever had to deal with! [Laughs] Have you ever woken up to find someone took over your body and built a life with someone that you have no memories of? I mean, for me there was that one time, but for the most part, this is very much a super hero problem, but there are little bits of it that we can all relate to -- having to deal with the problems of someone else, but also figuring out how to handle this crazy situation.
Kicking off reader questions is Nicolas, who wants to know if things will ever shift back to the "Big Time" status quo.
I've been a longtime Spider-Man fan since I was a child and although I loved the rough life Parker has had to lead in his personal life (Parker luck), I really enjoyed it when he finally started turning it around with becoming an Avenger and working at Horizon Labs. Since Octavius has basically destroyed Parker's life, will he ever get back to that status again?
Well, Horizon Labs as we know it is no more -- what's left of it is on that ship. While he's not going to be going back to Horizon Labs, he owns his own company. As of the end of "Superior," and for those of you that have read "Amazing" #1, Parker Industries still exists. Yes, the "P" in the logo has fallen off the wall, but it is still alive and kicking. That'll be a big part of the book moving forward.
Peter's never been anyone's boss, and that's going to be a whole new role that he's going to have to fill and to deal with the expectations people had when Otto was running the show.
You'll see a lot of Avengers stuff in issue #2. There's some great business there with the Avengers, especially with Captain America -- so I'm going to leave that as a wait-and-see kind of thing.
Next up is Tim, who wants to know about the possible introduction of some new antagonists.
Will we be seeing the introduction of any new villains in "Amazing Spider-Man?"
Not right away. The villains he's going to be facing are going to be the ones you saw in the backup stories for "Amazing Spider-Man" #1: Black Cat and Electro. They are the primary villains for this first arc of "Amazing Spider-Man."
But, there is a new character, Silk -- she was bitten by the same spider that bit Peter and thus, has her own spider-powers. What role she's going to fill is a mystery. You're going to get a taste of it almost every issue leading up to #4, where we really get to meet her during the "Original Sin" tie-in issues.
Taimur Dar is hoping for some answers to supporting cast mysteries -- including the former mayor of New York and an old friend of Peter Parker's.
- After nearly 5 years of being mayor of NYC, what's next for J. Jonah Jameson? Back to the Daily Bugle or something else entirely? And just as important, who's gonna replace JJJ as mayor?
Dan has such a genius plan for J. Jonah Jameson. You'll get a taste for it in issue #3, but he is not disappearing from the Spider-Man books. As for the mayor, I believe that Bill De Blasio will be the mayor in the Marvel Universe as well as our universe.
- Surprised there was no appearance by Harry Osborn or baby Stanley during Goblin Nation. Does Dan Slott have plans for them?
Dan Slott has plans for every character in the Marvel Universe. I think that goes without saying!
Harry was very purposefully trying to stay away from all things Goblin and just trying to raise his son as safely as he can. But Dan has plans for everybody Spider-Man has interacted with and many that he hasn't. It's just a matter of time before we cross that bridge.
Kevin is hoping for some kind of Gwen Stacy-centric story, and also has a question about fashion.
Given that Gwen Stacy plays a huge role in the rebooted Spider-Man movies, can fans expect to see any sort of Gwen-centered story (not necessarily a resurrection story)?
Gwen got a mention in the backups of "Superior Spider-Man" #31, but we aren't in any rush to do as much Gwen stuff.
One of the things that I've been working on since I've been in the Spider-Man office and reading everything from the beginning from "Amazing Fantasy" #15 on, one thing that blew me away is that Gwen Stacy hasn't shown up in the first 30 issues of "Amazing Spider-Man." I was fascinated by that. My memory of reading these, I thought for sure she was in high school. No, they didn't meet until college. The same goes for Harry Osborn and Norman Osborn.
That doesn't have anything to do with answering that question, it's just a fun fact -- you don't hear the word "Osborn" in the first 30 issues of "Amazing Spider-Man." Blew my mind.
Now that Peter is back in control, will we see him experimenting with different suits like he did at Horizon or will he stick with the blues and reds for the time being?
For the time being, he's sticking with the blues and reds. Right now, I think he's happy to be back in his own body and wants the familiar. I mean, he is Peter Parker, he is a scientific genius, and he's always going to try and use his noggin to solve things. I would be shocked if we didn't get him in a specialized suit at some point in the near future.
Lukas, a reader from Sweden, wants to know about other Spider-books that could potentially connect to "Amazing Spider-Man."
I'm wondering how important all the spider-titles will be to the main "Amazing Spider-Man" title. Will they be closely connected, or barely connected at all, or something in between? Also, how many spider-titles will there be?
"Amazing Spider-Man" is, of course, the main, core Spider-title, which includes "Learning to Crawl" -- they're issues of "Amazing Spider-Man," they're just numbered oddly. That book is hugely important in that way that only Dan Slott does nowadays or can do. Dan is going to be planting seeds in the "Learning to Crawl" origin story that are going to come back to haunt Peter in "Amazing Spider-Man."
We've got "Spider-Man 2099," which is launching in July, and is tied pretty tightly to "Amazing Spider-Man." Miguel is still in the present, he's working at Alchemax, so you're going to have stuff with Tiberius Stone, with Liz Allan, all of that stuff. Peter and Dan are working very closely with this sort of thing. If you're a big fan of "Spider-Man 2099" and the stuff in "Superior Spider-Man" with him, you're definitely going to want to pick that book up. They're going to be interacting pretty much in an ongoing fashion.
Those are really the main Spidey books. Now, that will change going forward. We've got a big thing coming up called "Spider-Verse," and most of the changes are going to revolve with that approaching. That's our big Spidey event of the year, and once we start letting you know what books we're going to do there, I think people are going to be pretty shocked and pretty surprised with what we're doing.
As of right now, though, it's those two books: "Amazing Spider-Man" and "Spider-Man 2099."
Ryan is hoping for some insight into how Peter's methods might be impacted by Otto's time as a crimefighter.
While Peter Parker and Otto Octavius are very different people and have different methods of fighting crime, it seems to me in both cases there are elements to those methods that are more effective than the other's. Will we see Peter using any of Otto's tech or enhancements from the Superior era?
That is a great question. One of the things that Dan is doing that I am really enjoying is that while Peter and Otto are both geniuses, their specialties don't always overlap. Otto had a lot of robots with the spider-leg things that would pop out with the claws. That's something that Peter has way less of an expertise with. I think initially, Peter is just going to want to go back to basics, re-become is own Spider-Man.
Re-become! I think that's a new word that I made up. It's not a very good word, but I like it.
He's going to try a back-to-basics approach in the beginning. He wants to jump back into life and embrace what it is, and I don't think he's going to get too into Otto's stuff. That's not saying other people in Spidey's life and other people in Parker Industries aren't going to be using stuff that Doc started making.
Micah is here with an artist question.
Hey Nick! Super pumped for the fresh start for Pete and the stories coming down the pipe are intriguing to say the least. I was just curious about the artist situation for the series; Ramos is great and it's been announced that the extraordinary Olivier Coipel will be doing "Spider-Verse" but will there be a rotation for the book? I'd love to see others take crack at the web-head or artists return, like Ryan Stegman!
We are so blessed with artists! "Amazing Spider-Man" #1 - 5, Humberto Ramos is drawing all those issues. Since we're doing two issues a month, there's "Amazing Spider-Man: Learning to Crawl" by Ramón Pérez who is so incredible -- Eisner Award-winner for "Tale of Sand," readers of "Wolverine and the X-Men" know his stuff very well. It's mainly Humberto and Ramón out of the gate. We are so blessed to have one of the best art teams in comics. Humberto with Victor Olazaba and Edgar Delgado are so wonderful.
Coming back with issue #6 will be Giuseppe Camuncoli, and I think he proved with "Goblin Nation" that he is one of the best Spider-Man artists ever. Having two of those on rotation is something I gratefully inherited from Steve Wacker [former Spider-Man editor]. We're not jettisoning that. We're adding Olivier to it for "Spider-Verse." He's already turning in pages and they look so good.
Finally, we have some unknown fan named Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort, who asks:
Dear Nick Lowe,
Why can't you be good at your job like Stephen Wacker?
Everything that I've learned to do wrong, I've learned from Tom Brevoort!
He lives well over the borderline of incompetence. He's also just a monster of a human being. The amount of small baby animals I've seen him kick is innumerable.
[Laughs] Before we wrap things up, is there something in particular in "Amazing Spider-Man" #1 that fans should especially pay attention to?
To be honest, the backup stories -- the Electro and Black Cat backup stories are stunning. I know sometimes people think backup material is throwaway, but these were written by Dan Slott with scripting help from Christos Gage. These are really laying down the tracks for both of these arcs. It's a game-changing arc for both of these villains that is going to really change the way people look at them and change the trajectory of Peter's world in such a big way. I cannot wait until people see what we do, especially with the Black Cat. She's already a character that I really love, but what we have planned for her is so cool and terrifying in a lot of ways.
Look forward to more Nick Lowe and SPIDER-MANDATE in the next few weeks -- keep an eye out for more details on the next installment, and be sure to visit the new CBR Community's SPIDER-MANDATE forum to post questions that you'd like answered!