Although the cast of Amazing Spider-Man will have to deal with someone impersonating Peter, there will be no more substitutes for Spider-Man editor Steve Wacker, who has returned from vacation just in time to answer questions for our Weekly Webbing.
In last week's issue, we had a new Chameleon who gave out a creepy vibe as he non-chalantly dipped Peter Parker into an underground pool of acid. While it's likely our hero escaped, it wasn't in time to stop the impostor before he made a date with MJ and, from the looks of previews for today's issue, is really enjoying his assumed life wearing Pete's face.
So without further adieu, but with plenty of a-doo-doo, we turn things over to Steve for introductions and revelations about his latest job at Marvel.
"Oy, back from vacation early to find Brennan passed out on his desk in a puddle of human vinegar.
"And now I find out that no one has done this week’s Newsarama interview yet! When am I going to find time to ruin Spidey with this kind of nonsense?!?!
"Anyway, Vaneta has sent Tom about #604 questions, but I’m just picking a few. (She’s sure on top of things which I find annoying. I miss the days when Brady would just forget to send me stuff to answer every week.)
"And for this week, instead of droning on about how much you aren’t reading Amazing Spider-Man or this column, go ahead and leave questions in the comment section. I’ll pick my favorite droners to answer next week."
Newsarama: What was the thinking behind the development of this new Chameleon?
Steve Wacker: [Fred] Van Lente really did the heavy lifting on this. We all agreed we wanted to get closer to the original intent on Chameleon and without lifting an eyebrow, Fred delivered. You’re going to see in issue #604 hints that his return is a portent of behind the scenes machinations and you’ll start to see that various threads from the past year are coming together.
Nrama: Does the fact that he's more than willing to meet with one of Peter's friends give us any indication of what type of person this Chameleon is?
Wacker: Yeah…a real bad guy. He revels in taking on the lives of his victims, so there’s a hardcore psychosis at work.
Nrama: At the beginning of the last issue, Peter is remembering making the "usual Spidey excuses" to MJ. Instead of me drawing a conclusion from that statement, why don't you tell us what that clue was supposed to mean as it pertains to "who knows what?"
Wacker: Yes, Peter remembers that he is Spider-Man. Is that what you’re asking? I thought we had covered that somewhere in the past 59 issues. (Now ya got me thinking, maybe we should have made it so that even Pete forgot he was Spidey after One More Day. “Aunt May!! HELP!! This wall is stuck to my hand!!)
Nrama: Mark Waid told Newsarama that, "#601 pretty much makes it clear who knows what and who remembers what." And Dan Slott said in his Chicago convention panel that, "in #602 you'll know for sure." It looks like the writers think they're making it clear that MJ knows Peter is Spider-Man, but in our Weekly Webbing discussion last week, you indicated nothing at all has been revealed definitively. So which is it?
Wacker: First of all, Brennan’s just afraid he’s going to answer wrong and then get a week’s full of message board chest thumpers calling for his head, so he played dumb … the complete opposite of me.
Second, MJ knows he’s Spidey. But the question is…does Spidey know she’s MJ?
Confused? You won’t be after this episode of SOAP…doot doo do doo doot…du du du (Dear Hostile Readers, Would someone please add a link to the “Soap” theme in the comments, so the kids know what the hell I’m on about?)
Nrama: That preview of issue #603 shows the Chameleon meddling in Peter's relationship with Michele, and we know he's going to be meeting MJ. There's always the chance that Peter Parker has died… but given the distinct possibility he hasn't, how might this impersonation muck things up for the webslinger?
Wacker: Michele is someone you do not want to give mixed signals to. If Pete gets out of this deathtrap, he’s still going to potentially have hell to pay at home.
Nrama: Let's switch to that image Steve supplied us last week of himself in the mask. The covers behind him were pretty telling. Was that the Empire State Building featured in that one cover, or am I imagining things?
Wacker: Yes. That’s from a cover by Marko Djurdjevic for the Electro story that leads off 'The Gauntlet'. Pete finally realizes he could make all the money he needs just washing skyscraper windows.
Nrama: Among the covers behind Steve, it also looked like maybe Jackpot? And is that Sandman? Will they be part of the Gauntlet? Or if that can't be answered, is there anything else you can tell us about what familiar faces might show up in 'The Gauntlet' now that November's solicitations are out?
Wacker: As you know, Electro leads things off in November with art by Paul Azaceta who just drew Punisher Noir and also worked with Waid on a outstanding mini-series called Potter’s Field over at BOOM! Studios. Paul has a very seedy, very graphic style and on top of that is just a fantastic storyteller. He’s a guy we all think has a big future in comics, so between that and his creative relationship with Waid, it was an easy call to make. Joining them is legendary colorist Dave Stewart, so unless I spill coffee on every copy, this is going to be a great looking book and not at all your standard Electro story.
Also that month, we have the origin of Electro appearing inWeb of Spider-Man #2 courtesy of Fred Van Lente and Barry Kitson.
Let’s just say, with so much Electro, you’re going to get a real “DEADPOOL” out of this month.
HEY! Where’s my pun go?! Gadzooks, does Deadpool have to appear everywhere?!?
Nrama: Issue #602 revealed that Harry's going through some tough times. Will his storyline in Amazing Spider-Man play into what happens in The List? Or is it purely a vendetta against Spider-Man?
Wacker: Harry will not play too strongly into November’s The List one-shot, but he will be getting closer than ever into Pete’s life in the coming weeks.
Nrama: With this Chameleon being so creepy, along with today's solicitations pointing toward some darker dramatic meetings coming up during The Gauntlet and The List, is it right to assume we have some darker times ahead for Peter?
Wacker: I know to sound compelling, I’m supposed to say something like “You bet, Rogers! Dark days are ahead for Spidey!”
However, not to get all disagreeable, but I’ve never been one to buy this light vs. dark distinction in super-hero comics. Particularly in Spider-Man comics. After 47 years and thousands of comics, some stories have certainly been more light hearted than others, but Peter Parker has always had personal problems. On top of that people have been trying to kill him since he was 16 years old, so - at least from Peter Parker’s perspective - Spidey’s stories have always been about high-stakes … and we certainly have no plans of easing up on him. If that’s what you call “dark” then yeah, I guess it is.
Nrama: Anything else you want to share with readers of Amazing Spider-Man?
Wacker: The Spidey blog is back in action at: http://marvel.com/blogs/Spider-Office
-Second printings of #600 and 601 are coming.
-The Spidey balloon is now back in the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade where it belongs.
- Sandman. December. Javier Pulido.
-Brevoort is looking fit these days.
-If allowed, I may try to make a 104-page Spidey comic a summer tradition.
-Brennan is waking up. Gotta go!