'No Escape' for SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN as Gage Joins Slott

last week's announcement that Angela, formerly of Image's Spawn, is making her Marvel Universe debut in the final pages of June's Age of Ultron #10, the last issue of that series.

The events of Age of Ultron have already been a big deal for the story's fictional participants, especially Spider-Man, who has been a focal point of the first two chapters. Of course, Spider-Man isn't really Spider-Man anymore — he's Doctor Octopus controlling Peter Parker's body, with a ghostly shard of Peter Parker mostly helplessly observing and occasionally able to intervene. The affect on a world-threatening cataclysm on a guy who used to specialize in such things is explored in Superior Spider-Man #6AU, out this week from the creative team of writer Christos Gage and artist Dexter Soy.

Superior Spider-Man

#11 cover.

Nrama: You're also co-writing Superior Spider-Man #11-#13 with Dan Slott, which thanks to advance solicitations we know is the "No Escape" arc. That certainly seems to be an eventful few issues for Superior — what's got you excited about the arc? Looks like it's bringing a lot of recent Spidey events full circle.

Gage: That's exactly it. Superior Spider-Man is going to be facing off against some of the bad guys he really exerted his superiority on… Boomerang, Vulture, and Scorpion, powered-up and out for revenge on the guy who maimed them! It's also cool to put Doc Ock back in a place, the Raft super-prison, that he spent so long trying to break out of… but now he's trying to keep others from breaking out!

Nrama: Over on Angel & Faith at Dark Horse, things are nearing closer to the end game. With a finite run like this, has the story been fairly meticulously planned from the onset, or has there been any room to improvise a bit as the series ran? And how much did you enjoy getting to write Spike in recent issues? (Season 5 of Angel was a personal favorite in large part due to their interaction.)

Angel & Faith

#23 cover.

Gage: I too loved the Angel/Spike interaction in Angel Season 5, and that was a big part of the appeal of bringing Spike into the book, but I also wanted to play Spike and Faith off against each other. In addition, I felt that it would be an opportunity to show a side of Spike we haven't seen in the main Buffy book, because being around Angel sort of brings out the competitive instinct in both of them.

As for the level of planning, when we had the original summit for Season 9, it was kind of like preparing for a season of a TV show… we planned out the "spine" of the story for the season. But within that framework, there was a pretty good amount of room to improvise and let inspiration strike. I think that sort of gives you the best of both worlds… you have a road map guiding you on where to go, but you still have the freedom to stop and check out interesting sights along the way, if that makes any sense.

Nrama: You're also working on a couple of Avatar series, starting with the sequel to Absolution. What different elements are you looking forward to exploring with Absolution: Rubicon? And it's being previewed with Avatar's Free Comic Book Day issue, but does the series have a release timeframe yet?


Gage: Absolution: Rubicon comes out soon after the FCBD book. Four of six issues (including the Happy Kitty special) are in the can already, so we're in good shape. What I'm excited about with this new series is ramping things up. We get to see John Dusk take his crusade as judge, jury and executioner to a new level…and we introduce an arch-villain, the Polymath, who may be the most powerful enhancile in this particular world. It's everything you liked about Absolution, but bigger!

Nrama: Elsewhere at Avatar, you're joining Crossed: Badlands for a stint. What's it been like playing in that very unique world? And though you've written horror before, is Crossed — which can clearly get rather extreme — something of a different level for you in the genre?

Gage: I love post-apocalyptic stories like Crossed, so I was excited to write this arc, and am very proud of what resulted…but man, does writing that series make you go to some dark places in your head! After writing the first two issues, I had to write some all-ages stuff for Marvel to balance out all the horror and depravity before going back and finishing it.

But at the end of the day, I think I stretched myself as a writer and I am really glad I did it… and as the goal is, of course, to tell the best possible story, I hope it's a tale fans of the series will feel lives up to the standard of quality set by Garth Ennis, Jacen Burrows and the other amazing talents who've worked on it. Crossed is definitely not for everyone, but for fans of my work who aren't bothered by that kind of hard-hitting horror, and the large and loyal Crossed audience, I'm anxious to hear what they think!

Superior Spider-Man

#12 cover.

Nrama: Right now seems to be an interesting period for you in that you're doing a wide variety of very different projects at several different publishers. How do you view this current phase of your career? And, though we've already covered a lot, is there anything else that you're currently working on that fans should know about?

Gage: There are some things in the works that should be announced soon that I can't discuss, but I think they'll be revealed over the course of convention season.

As for this phase of my career, well, I've always worked for a pretty wide variety of publishers, except for the time when I was Marvel exclusive, but what's cool about what's happening now is that I feel I'm getting the chance to stretch myself creatively more than I ever have. I guess because I've built up a track record in the industry, editors and publishers are comfortable letting me try different types of genres, characters and stories. I definitely see the appeal in sticking to what you know best, but the more I challenge myself, the more I feel that it makes me an overall stronger writer, in everything I do. I'm just grateful that readers and retailers support my work enough to give me the chance to do that. 

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