For the last year, Norman Osborn has been manipulating the Marvel Universe into believing he's one of the good guys -- something that has been bothering no other hero quite as much as Peter Parker.
With the current series of one-shots that make up the event "Dark Reign: The List," Norman's hold on the MU has been tested, as he works his way through a "list" of things he wants to do, such as take care of the Hulk problem and, ultimately, rid the world of Spider-Man.
Seven of the eight one-shots have been released, and it's not surprising which character's part of the list is being saved for last, as this week sees the release of Dark Reign: The List - Amazing Spider-Man.
Written by Dan Slott with Adam Kubert on art, the Amazing Spider-Man tie-in has been promised as a game-changer in not only Amazing Spider-Man, but all of the Marvel Universe.
For this installment of Weekly Webbing, we talked to Slott to get the story behind Dark Reign: The List - Amazing Spider-Man.
Newsarama: Dan, how did you get involved in this project?
Dan Slott: Two Avengers summits ago, I was there when Brian Michael Bendis and Matt Fraction pitched The List. Back then it was called [laughs] "Project Muscle." I know. That was the "working title." It's like when they shot Star Wars and called it "Blue Harvest." The silly name was Project Muscle.
But what Brian and Matt's idea was was to get a different set of artists on the comics. You know, there are guys you work with and you get this good relationship going and it's comfortable. Like I love working with Marcos Martin now. We're in a groove when we're working. But a lot of time there are guys who only work with this person or only work with that person.
And part of the idea was to get some of the biggest artists and mix and match them and put them on different projects. It was like, let's do this project so far ahead that we can get guys that aren't working on a monthly book and can really take their time on these books. We got Ed McGuinness and John [Romita] Jr. and the cream of the crop. And I got to work with Adam Kubert. So you got some of the best guys who got to really take their time on these books. What a joy to do that.
A lot of us, we wrote our List issues way ahead of time. And we knew we had to do big things. These were going to be big issues that really turn the tide for Dark Reign and for all the titles. So it was important to get the people working on each title to work on The List.
Nrama: Did you know up front that the last one would be Spider-Man?
Slott: Yes. When we were talking, and as we've been talking about the List and Dark Reign, the main power broker in all of Dark Reign is Norman Osborn. So, dear God! Spider-Man's got to be integral to this storyline. Spider-Man has got to be the driving force as things come to a boiling point in Dark Reign. He's got to be there. He's got to be the guy. That meant he was either going to be the guy to kick it all off and be List #1, or he was going to be a "save-the-best-for-last" scenario and be the guy who wraps it all up. And that's the way it ended up working.
Nrama: Did you all know what the overall story would be of the List?
Slott: We talked at that summit and we talked at other summits about what was going to happen in The List. When you look at all The List issues, big things happen. Ronin's been captured and locked up. You have Bruce Banner's been exposed to stuff that can turn him into the Hulk again. The instigating thing for that is in The List. Hundreds of people die under Daredevil's watch, which kicks Andy Diggle's Daredevil run into high gear. Then oh my God, what Remender did to the Punisher. That was insane! And that happens in The List. So you can bet there's a big thing that we've all been planning for and gearing toward with Spidey and Iron Patriot.
Even if you haven't read a single issue of the List so far, it's a done-in-one story, and you should pick this up. It's an important chapter in the lives of Spider-Man/Peter Parker and Iron Patriot/Norman Osborn.
Nrama: Does the story refer more to the Amazing Spider-Man run? Or to other things in the Marvel Universe?
Slott: Both. It builds off things that have been happening in Spider-Man, but if you haven't been reading Amazing Spider-Man, everything is explained for you. And it does propel the Marvel Universe toward the next phase. I don't want to say.... well, let's just say it moves the story forward.
I know, for example, I've been putting the finishing touches Mighty Avengers #32 and #33. And they're affected by this story. In those issues, the Dark Avengers are showing up.
Nrama: Does the List issue also affect the future of Amazing Spider-Man?
Slott: Yes. I can't say a lot more than, yyyyeeesss.
Nrama: One way or another, either Spidey or Norman is going to have to go down, aren't they?
Slott: Well, we are doing a comic called Spider-Man 36 times a year, so that probably weighs things heavier in his favor.
Nrama: How was it working with Adam on this issue?
Slott: Oh, it was a dream. Every time a page came in, I was giddy. I've been doing this for some time, and this is one of the most beautiful looking books I've ever worked on in my entire career. The pencils by Adam, inks by Mark [Morales], coloring by Dean [White]. Everyone really stepped up. Joe Caramagna did amazing letters. I am so proud of this book. We turned into one big mutual admiration society in every email. We were all so happy with this.
Nrama: Now Dan, your career has really taken off in the last couple years with your work on Amazing Spider-Man and Mighty Avengers. How does it feel to work on a pivotal issue like this and come this far as a writer to where you're writing a scenes that are so important to the future of the Marvel Universe?
Slott: It's very daunting. I've worked on stuff, like I got to be the first guy out of the gate with Brand New Day. And I saw Bendis and some other guys compare it to storming the beaches at Normandy. [laughs] Or like when I was working on "New Ways to Die" with John Romita Jr., knowing it was going to be our first major six-part storyline. This job is fun. There are guys that write Spider-Man for fun, like fan-fic. And having this career, there's also that level of pressure. It's like, "Oh my gosh! I'm stepping up to the plate!" But I think everyone on the Spider-Man team feels that way. There are just over 600 issues of Spider-Man and this is a comic that Stan Lee and Steve Ditko started. There's a feeling of legacy and obligation and let's borrow a Peter Parker word: Responsibility. There's only so many issues of Amazing Spider-Man out there, and they're trusting you to write a good one.
Nrama: You mentioned that this week is the Spider-Man summit. How often do you guys have those Spider-Man summits every year?
Slott: I think we do about two a year, where we all get together in person. But we do lots of conference calls where it's everybody on the phone. A day or two can't go by without all of us doing a massive email chain to each other. There's a lot of work to do on this book. You're reading everyone's outlines, everyone's plots, everyone's scripts. I'm just reading through Fred Van Lente's latest issue, which is this killer issue about the Sandman.
On one level, you're reading these things for the sake of the team, to keep everything going and maintaining continuity. But on the flip side, it's going to school. I get to read Mark Waid and Joe Kelly and Fred Van Lente scripts. Oh my God, how can you not get better at your job when you get to read some of the best guys out there in their raw form? You get to see how they put a story together. That's been one of the greatest advantages of doing this, is I get to learn from the masters.
Nrama: What's coming up that you've seen in Amazing Spider-Man scripts? I know you don't want to spoil anything, but are there any stories you want to talk about in particular?
Slott: It's all about The Gauntlet now. People have read the Joe Kelly stuff that we've seen hints about since Spidey #600, about hunting spiders. And now you see more of it with the Deadpool issue. This week, we've got the start of the Elektro issues by Mark Waid, where The Gauntlet starts. Everything is gearing up now. You're in for some good runs. For a long time, we've stayed away from the big characters, or at least the big Spider-Man villains. With stuff like "New Ways to Die," Norman and Venom were running around in the Marvel Universe, so it seemed right to use them. And in Amazing Spider-Man #600, we brought back Doc Ock. But short of that, we've stayed away from a lot of the big toys. And now, with The Gauntlet, you're getting all your favorite Spider-Man villains, one after another.For a preview of Dark Reign: The List - Amazing Spider-Man, click on the link...