Brian Reed has been immersed in the world of Skrulls lately, but now it's time for him to be all about Spider-Man.
In the three-issue mini-series Secret Invasion: Spider-Man (which has been simplified from its former title which had the "Brand New Day" tag at the end), Reed will bring the characters from Amazing Spider-Man into the action of the regular Marvel Universe. Rarely crossing into the activities of the rest of Marvel's heroes, the Brand New Day characters will not only be affected by Secret Invasion, but they'll jump right out into the fray under the lead of Reed and penciler Marco Santucci.
And in September's Ms. Marvel Annual #1, Reed will get his hands on Spider-Man again as Carol Danvers crosses paths with Spidey, leading to as many fireworks in their dialogue as anywhere else.
In the third part of our interviews about Reed's latest projects, including Secret Invasion: Front Line and Red Sonja (the other redhead he references below), we talked to the writer about getting to work with Spider-Man and his supporting cast.
Newsarama: What can you tell us about the story we'll see in Secret Invasion: Spider-Man?
Brian Reed: It all begins with the new character Jackpot, who's been introduced in Brand New Day. Everyone's sure they just know who she is. [laughs] And again, I'm writing a redhead! But it's her investigating Walter Declun, who is someone she's been after for a little while. And she thinks she's got him. She thinks she's figured out what he's up to, and she goes to bust him. And it turns out she's wrong. Instead of busting a warehouse full of contraband, she's busted a warehouse full of DVD players. And so somehow he's given her the slip.
And somehow this ends up on the cover of The DB the next morning, about how Jackpot's insane, and about how she attacked this innocent man. And Jackpot's really irritated by this, so she goes and gets her SHRA lawyer. It's like you've got a Union lawyer now that you've been registered a superhero. And she goes in to The DB to get them to retract the article. And her morning is getting more and more out of control because it turns out her lawyer is maybe a little crazy. And that's when the Skrull invasion starts.
For the next few issues, Jackpot has to save the lives of the people that she was just really irritated with a few minutes ago.
NRAMA: So this story concentrates on Jackpot a lot?
BR: Very much so. It's a story about her and the staff of The DB. And Spider-Man is involved with it. Because, as everyone knows, he's down in the Savage Land for awhile.
NRAMA: You got kind of stuck with having to do a story about a character who couldn't be around, didn't you?
BR: Yeah, and there are solutions to that. The interesting thing that I found is making his presence felt even though he's not there. For example, Jackpot realizes this is the type of thing Spider-Man would be doing. The Skrull who shows up at The DB is a Skrull with all the powers of the Sinister Six, and he's looking for Spider-Man. So Jackpot is fighting this Skrull with all these powers that she's never gone up against before. And she's trying to keep Joe Robertson and Dexter Bennett alive, and there's also Betty Brant and Vin Gonzales, who is Peter Parker's new roommate.
So this Skrull smells Spider-Man on all of these people, and he'd really like to know which one of them is Spider-Man, so he keeps trying to kill them. And we get to have this big, fun, action romp with it.
NRAMA: When you say "big, fun, action romp," it just sounds very much like the current Spider-Man series since Brand New Day started. We've noticed the name change, but is this mini-series still in the same tone as the "Brand New Day" of the current Amazing Spider-Man run?
BR: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. There's a joke every couple of pages, there's wackiness -- but there's still those big moments of, OK, how is this going to work? But then there's a joke. [laughs] If you've ever seen Steven Spielberg's old film Duel, there's a guy in a car versus a semi. And it's two hours of this guy being chased by the semi that's trying to kill him. And that's kind of what this is. They all get into Joe Robertson's car, and they're on the run through the streets of New York in the middle of all the Secret Invasion stuff. And they have the Skrull with the powers of the Sinister Six chasing them. So throughout the whole thing, we're just seeing Joe's car being dismantled. And it's just this constant beat of where, every time something gets resolved, something more insane happens on the next page, and you're like, "My God!"
NRAMA: It sounds like what a Spider-Man movie -- tons of action.
BR: It's totally me trying to one-up myself on every page. [laughs]
NRAMA: Over the course of these issues, though, we are going to see Spider-Man, right?
NRAMA: When this series was announced, you had told me you had a creative way that you'd brought him into the series.
NRAMA: So... obviously you can't tell me what that is?
BR: Nope. [laughs]
NRAMA: OK. Secret Invasion: Spider-Man sounds like it's a lot of fun, but does it really interact with the main Secret Invasion story?
BR: Oh yeah. The first issue is very much in the Brand New Day corner of the world. And that was kind of intentional, because that's how they've been with the Spider-Man books so far. I had Ms. Marvel mention that Jonah had a heart attack, but other than that, I don't think Brand New Day has been referenced in other Marvel Comics. And so our first issue is still kind of in that little bubble world. And then by the second issue, we're out in the Marvel Universe, in the middle of the invasion, seeing things that other characters are seeing, being part of events that other characters are part of, and that's where I kind of go -- "No, really! Brand New Day is part of the Marvel Universe! See?"
NRAMA: So you're the guy who's bringing Brand New Day into Secret Invasion?
BR: Yep. With Secret Invasion, I've known the outcome forever, but now I had to learn what all the twists are for Spider-Man for the next year. And I have to make it all work together.
NRAMA: And this isn't your first time writing Spider-Man because you had written him for video games, right?
BR: Yep. And my first Marvel gig was Spider-Man Unlimited. And the Ms. Marvel Annual this year is a story with her and Spider-Man.
NRAMA: That must have been a challenge to write. Ms. Marvel and Spider-Man are very different characters, aren't they?
BR: Extremely different. When I was writing it, I realized I had written four pages of just dialogue because they're so different from each other. And I was just having fun writing them talking to each other. And I all of the sudden had a 70-page script, and I had to take a whole bunch of it out.
NRAMA: Couldn't they let you do a Giant Annual or something?
BR: [laughs] I hadn't even gotten to the plot! I just had these two characters talking to each other. There was sort of this angry flirting going on.
NRAMA: OK, then, for Newsarama readers, explain what you think is so different about them.
BR: Carol is a soldier with a job. And she's going to do that job. Sometimes she's not going to agree with it, but she's going to do it because doing her job is what's right. Peter is you or me -- he just wants to go home and sit on the couch and watch TV, but it just so happens that he's capable of saving the world today, so he's going to go do that. It's always that he's putting the world before him, and it's that regular guy aspect of him that I love. And when you're writing Spider-Man cracking wise to his enemies, it's just your chance to let your smart-ass out. In Ms. Marvel, if I put in a joke, like, every five pages, I've overloaded the issue with comedy. But with Spider-Man, it better be, like, every five lines is a joke.
NRAMA: What's the overall story in the Annual?
BR: At the beginning of the annual, Peter is taxed with the world-changing job of going to the store for Aunt May. But in the midst of that, there's something going on in the street, and there's this grey goo that's eating a car, and everyone's freaking out, and he's trying to figure out what's going on. And then he starts realizing that this grey goo is turning the car into little tiny pieces and turning them into little robots that are running around. And as he's trying to deal with that, Ms. Marvel sees him and says, hey, look -- unregistered superhero. Everybody wants to bring in Spider-Man, so she's going to bring him in. And as time goes on, you learn that the robots are building bigger and bigger robots. And the big question is who? And that's what the rest of the issue is about.
I wrote the first draft of it, and I sent it to Steve Wacker, and he called me and said, "It's like you opened your brain and a Marvel comic fell out." [laughs] He was like, "This is Spider-Man 1970." And I love that. I was like, "Thank you!" 'Cause that's exactly my kind of Spider-Man story.
NRAMA: It sounds like you enjoy writing this type of Spider-Man. Are you enjoying the Amazing Spider-Man series amore now too?
BR: Oh, I love it. I love to read it. It's the Spider-Man that I grew up with. When I was a kid, all my money went to comics, and I bought all the Spider-Man back issues I could. You know, I have back issues back into the teens. And for me, this is Spider-Man. And also, I was 10 years old when he got married, so I spent my whole life with a married Spider-Man, really. But I love what they've done with Brand New Day.
NRAMA: So, Brian.... between you writing Secret Invasion: Spider-Man and this Ms. Marvel Annual, is this your try-out for Amazing?
BR: [laughs] It would be nice! It's certainly a job everybody wants! But I also know they've got things planned through the end of next year. So I don't know when and where there would be an opening. But it's something I've brought up that I would be interested in, yes.
Secret Invasion: Spider-Man #1 is due in stores on August 27th.