***This article contains spoilers for and , both out now.***
Avenging Spider-Man debuted in fall 2011 from the team of writer Zeb Wells and artist Joe Madureira, with a variety of creators contributing along the way. It's essentially a revival of the classic series, showing Spidey partnering with Red Hulk, Deadpool, Devil Dinosaur and more.
As of Avenging Spider-Man #15.1, released earlier this week, the series has a new regular writer: and 's Christopher Yost, joined by artist Paco Medina on his first three issues. But that's not the only twist: Spider-Man isn't Spider-Man anymore, as Doctor Octopus is controlling Peter Parker's healthy, powerful body (unbeknownst to all of Peter's allies, loved ones and enemies), and Peter Parker's consciousness apparently died along with Doc Ock's's long-suffering body in Amazing Spider-Man #700.
Newsarama talked with Yost about his plans for Avenging Spider-Man, plus what's new in Scarlet Spider, and his work on the forthcoming Marvel Studios production Thor: The Dark World, out in Nov. 2013. Courtesy of Marvel, we're also debuting three pages of brand-new interior art from next month's Avenging Spider-Man #16.
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Spider-Man #16.Newsarama: Chris, you're in an interesting position of coming on board a Spider-Man title, right as someone other than Peter Parker is established in the title role. What's attractive to you about writing a new version of Spider-Man — especially in a book where he'll be teaming with familiar heroes against classic villains?
Christopher Yost: Well, now the secret is out... The Superior Spider-Man is none other than Dr. Octopus, sworn to carry on the legacy of Peter Parker in his own special way.
The premise of a super villain attempting to be heroic is endless fun to write, but Doc Ock's attempt to turn hero is going to be a very different ride than most.
Nrama: Is the plan to stick with the team-up format for Avenging? Based on the first few solicitations, it looks like that's the case, but obviously things can change.
Yost: We're sticking with the team-up format, for sure. You'll see Spider-Man meeting the X-Men, FF, Thor, Sleepwalker, the Secret Avengers... all again, but all for the first time.
This was the appeal of the book to me more than anything. The heroes and villains of the Marvel U think they're dealing with Spider-Man, but they have no idea who's actually in there.
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Spider-Man #16.Nrama: Your first issue of Avenging Spider-Man, out this month, focused on the Doc Ock/Spidey relationship. What do you find fascinating about their rivalry over their years? And from your perspective, do you see Doctor Octopus or Green Goblin as Spidey's true archenemy? It's evolved a bit over the years, and it's interesting that it's not as cut and dry as it with other iconic heroes like Spider-Man and Batman.
Yost: I think it's fascinating because they could have been the same, but chose different paths. A twisted reflection, somewhat.
Green Goblin will always have a special place as the villain who killed Spider-Man's first love, but what Doc Ock has done here is in many ways far, far worse.
Nrama: Speaking of villains, the March 2013 solicitations reveal that Electro is appearing in Avenging Spider-Man. What do you like about Electro, and what are you looking to explore with him in the story?
Yost: I love how powerful Electro is, but how much more powerful the chip on his shoulder is. But more than that, how does Ock deal with a former colleague? But more importantly, what does Octavius with him?
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Spider-Man #16.Nrama: Since you're now writing Avenging Spider-Man and Scarlet Spider, and Avenging is a team-up book, here's the obvious question: Are there any plans for interaction of any kind between the characters or titles?
Yost: Oh, yes. It may end up being the biggest team up in the history of Spider-Man team ups.
Nrama: And on the subject of Scarlet Spider: A new arc, "In the Midst of Wolves," starts in February. What can you tell us about the story at this point? And, to keep up the villain theme, what inspired the use of the fairly obscure Lobo Brothers?
Yost: It starts with issue #13 in January, and we figured what the hell... Let's kill Kaine too.
I had the Lobos in mind before I wrote issue one... Texas, Mexico, my love of old stories, but they play a big part in the overarching Scarlet Spider story that started a year ago. Big revelations on two fronts are coming, and nothing will ever be the same for Kaine or Spider-Man.
cover.Nrama: You're a writer on Thor: The Dark World — obviously, you're known for your work in animation, but has it been a fairly easy transition to live action? Not looking for spoilers of course, but what has the overall process been like thus far?
Yost: I've been working on Thor since February, I think, and its the biggest project I've ever worked on. The transition has been fine, but the practical "Let's actually go out and shoot this thing" aspect of it has been huge. [.]
Nrama: Due to the movie, you've been in London for an extended period. How unique of an experience has it been in your life/career? And how much of a challenge is it to maintain the schedule of working on a movie and also writing two monthly comic books?
Yost: It's been amazing, I'll leave it at that. As far as juggling comics at the same time, I've done my best to keep my head above water — Tom Brennan and Ellie Pyle deserve all the credit for holding it all together while I've been in a nine month long "crunch time."Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!