Get ready for a Crisis of Infinite Spiders: Marvel has dropped the first details about their big Spider-Man event coming later this year from writer Dan Slott, Spider-Verse, in which every single version of Spider-Man from every single alternate universe that we’ve seen so far (and probably a few from some worlds we haven’t ever seen yet) team up to fight Morlun, a villain created for J. Michael Straczynski’s run on Amazing Spider-Man from the early 2000’s. Starting in November, Slott and artist Olivier Coipel are teaming up “every Spider-Man from every universe together for the first time.” The story begins in Amazing Spider-Man #9, and will spill over into some as-yet-unrevealed titles. The story will be previewed with a five-page back-up story in Marvel’s Free Comic Book Day book this May, of which you can see two preview pages here.
Marvel held a “Next Big Thing” press call with Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott, Spider-Man group editor Nick Lowe, and Marvel’s PR guy Chris D’Lando to give early details and take questions on Spider-Verse.
“This is every Spider-Man ever teaming up, or fighting each other,” Slott said, adding later that readers will definitely see some “spider-fights.” “It’s a Spider-Man story on a scale we have never seen before. Epic in its scope. Every Spider-Man ever wasn’t enough… we’re bringing in even more. It’s crazy! Some won’t get along. Again, there will be some spider-fights. Morlun will be back… and we’ll find out he’s part of an even bigger thing. There have only been two or three Morlun stories, and he always kicks the crap out of Spider-Man. And there has been a prophecy, in Amazing Spider-Man and Superior Spider-Man, that every spider will die.” Slott and editor Nick Lowe cracked a joke that Game of Throne’s writer George RR Martin should “eat his heart out”. “You know you’re in trouble when you get to issue three and there’s that wedding. Spider-Man can’t catch a break when it comes to weddings, can he?”
As for which version of Spidey fans can expect to see, it seems the answer is pretty much all of them. Readers can expect to see Mangaverse Spider-Man, Bullet Points Spider-Man, Miles Morales from the Ultimate universe, Spider-Man 1602, Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham, the MC2 Spider- Girl, and many, many others that Marvel is keeping a lid on for now. “There are some in here that I’m surprised we got to use. Mind blown.” If readers want a taste of what Spider-Verse is going to be like, Marvel recommends all readers pick up next month’s all-new Amazing Spider-Man #1, and within the first two pages, a major hint towards the events of Spider-Verse will be seen.
On whether “every Spider-Man ever” includes some characters that may be currently dead, like Ultimate Peter Parker, Slott responded, “There are characters, since these are multiple universes, that you may find out are dead in our universe, (but) are hale and hearty in other universes. But once Spider-Verse starts, we can’t vouch for the safety of any of them.”
Addressing a question on how they came up with the list of Spider-Man versions to be used, Slott noted, “There are some in here that I am just jaw-on-the-floor surprised that we’ll get to use. Just the hoops that we’d have to jump through… you’ll go, ‘Really, that Spider-Man is gonna be in there, too? Mind blown.” Asked if that includes Amalgam Universe Spider-Boy from the Marvel/DC crossover series of the mid-nineties, he facetiously answered, “Oh, yeah, DC’s going to let us do that, I’m sure. I’ll get on the phone with my DC contacts right now.”
“We didn’t wanna sell anyone short,” Slott asserted. “If there is a Spider-Man out there, we want him in this. No matter what universe, what take, We don’t wanna hold back on any, even they only appeared once, like the Fairy Tale version or the Mangaverse version, someone out there loves that story.”
On working with Coipel for the first time on this project, Slott said, “It’s just fantastic. He’s turned in some covers that are gorgeous. We’re just starting out now. It was kind of fun, because I got to Skype back and forth with him and walk him through the project, to see if it was something he’d be interested in. How can you not be interested when someone takes the greatest fictional character of all time, opens the toy box, and dumps in all of the toys into your play area?”
Will there be alternate universe versions of Spidey’s supporting cast included as well as Peter? “Spider-Man’s world is New York,” Slott noted, “and when we go to other dimensions, I mean other New Yorks– I don’t wanna see Peter out in space with a lightsaber, and when we go to other dimensions, we go to other New Yorks. This is a story that has a fantasy element to it: Going to other dimensions, going to other worlds. So what is the Jonah Jameson of that world? What is the Aunt May of that world? What is the Flash Thompson of that world?”
About whether the story would run through Amazing Spider-Man or any ancillary mini-series, editor Nick Lowe answered, “Just like the great Spidey events of the past few years, this runs through Amazing Spider-Man, and there will be ancillary titles that we’ll be announcing closer to the date, but this will run starting in Amazing Spider-Man #9.”
Nerdist asked if we might see the Peter Parker from the beloved and untimely cancelled Spectacular Spider-Man animated series as one of the Spider-Men. Slott answered “Spectacular‘ is partly owned by Sony, But you will see the Spider-Man of the Ultimate Spider-Man animated universe in this.”
“I wrote the story and script for the Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions video game.” Slott said, responding to a question about the origins of the story. “While I was working on this, I was thinking, ‘Why can’t we do this, but bigger?’ That was the game you have four Spider-Mans of four universes. ‘Why can’t we have everyone?’ What would be so awesome that we needed ALL the Spider-Men? So as far back as that.” One of the Spider-Men in the game was Spider-Man 2099, and he features in the promo art for Spider-Verse. Will there be a Spider-Man 2099 book? An announcement, the Marvel reps said, would be coming soon.
What about the Dock Ock version of Spidey who has headlined the Superior Spider-Man book for this past year? Lowe said that to know the answer to that question, we’d have to read this week’s final issue of Superior Spider-Man. Why Morlun, not traditionally one of Spidey’s classic baddies, as the primary villain for this event? Slott answered that the few times he’s appeared before, he’s done major damage to Peter Parker, including killing Peter in the storyline called The Other: “When he shows up, the readers’ Spider-Sense goes off.” How about merchandising? The Marvel reps said that if and when that happens, it’ll have an announcement all its own.
Nerdist asked whether any of the three women who have been called Spider-Woman would be involved in this story, or if this was only going to be a testosterone fest. “All the 616 spider-characters will be enmeshed in this,” Slott answered, including Jessica Drew, the original (and current) Spider-Woman. Lowe added that MC2 Spider-Girl, who is the alternate universe daughter of Peter Parker and Mary Jane, will be in the story as. “And it wasn’t always a male Peter Parker in every universe,” Slott reiterated.
Is this event a sequel to last year’s Spider-Men mini-series by Brian Michael Bendis, where “our” Peter Parker met the Ultimate universe’s Spider-Man, Miles Morales? Lowe responded, “They remember meeting each other, for sure. But you shouldn’t consider this a sequel. That will probably be up to Brian Bendis and whoever he ends up working with, but this wouldn’t be Spider-Men 2.” On the duration of the event, Lowe added, “The main story unfolds over six issues of Amazing Spider-Man. To see the full extent, you’re going to have to wait and see. We’ll have new series that will launch with this. We’ll have miniseries that will run alongside it.”
Why does this event have Peter Parker at the center of things rather than, say, Doc Ock Spidey? Slott said, “you only get to do this story once, and that’s why he realized it had to be a Peter Parker story, not a Superior Spider-Man story. If it had been Superior Spider-Man, it would have been like a team of Moriartys leading a team of Sherlocks, and Marvel was pretty insistent that this be Peter behind the mask. The entire dynamic would change otherwise.” Will this event spill into any of the other Marvel Universe books, like the Avengers line? “If you don’t have ‘spider’ in your name, get out,” Slott said, “since the cast is so enormous as it is.” No non-Spider characters?? I asked, with a story this cosmic, how could you leave Reed Richards out of it? Slott jokingly answered that “maybe Reed could be a Spider-Man in another universe.”
With this series, it seems that might be actually be a possibility.