Avenging Spider-Man started back in 2011, when some guy named "Peter Parker" was still Spider-Man. Now, Doctor Octopus is controlling Peter's body — and life and powers — and Peter, in the worst possible example of the ol' Parker luck, appears to be completely out of the picture, at least for now.
To reflect this massive change, Avenging Spider-Man is shifting to Superior Spider-Man Team-Up in July; getting a new #1 issue illustrated by David Lopez in the process, but keeping regular series writer Christopher Yost. Of course, Yost is also the writer of Scarlet Spider, which stars troubled Peter Parker clone Kaine as the titular character — who killed Doctor Octopus nearly 20 years ago in Spectacular Spider-Man #221.
Though Doc Ock was later resurrected by The Hand, it's a safe bet that he still is holding a grudge — one that's coming to the surface in August's two-part crossover "Sibling Rivalry," starting in Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #2 (drawn by Marco Checcetto) and continuing in Scarlet Spider #20 (illustrated by Carlo Barberi). With Avenging Spider-Man #21 out this week, we talked to Yost about "Sibling Rivalry," what the new Superior Spider-Man Team-Up title means to him, tying-in to Infinity, bonding with Kaine and the "Superior Six."
Newsarama: Chris, there’s an upcoming shift in July with Avenging Spider-Man transitioning to Superior Spider-Man Team-Up, with a new #1. In your mind, what does that title change mean to you? Are you approaching it as a different kind of book, or as a natural outgrowth of what you have been doing?
Christopher Yost: It’s actually both. It’s a natural outgrowth of what Dan Slott is doing over in Superior Spider-Man. The stories that he’s telling, it’s like every three months, there’s a shift or a new status quo. It’s kind of amazing to see it progress. What we’re doing in Avenging has always been reflective of that, but what’s coming up is so big that it really felt like it needed to be something new.
There’s going to be a fairly massive change in Superior that Superior Spider-Man Team-Up is really going to take advantage of. Additionally, the new #1 will hopefully bring new eyes to [the series].
Nrama: Well, there just was that big change in issue #9.
Yost: That’s just the start, though. What Dan Slott is doing is kind of like the mad genius thing, where it just keeps topping itself.
#9 was a huge change. Peter Parker’s gone. So where does it go from there? I think that now that Otto is free of that little Peter Parker angel on his shoulder, you’re going to see some fairly massive changes.
Nrama: And then August brings “Sibling Rivalry,” crossing over Superior Spider-Man Team-Up and Scarlet Spider, your other ongoing Marvel series. As the writer of both, how fun has that been to write? It’s such a natural place to go that it must be a neat thing to get to explore.
Yost: It’s been pretty great, I’m not gonna lie. It’s something that we always knew was out there — that Kaine had actually killed Doctor Octopus. Now you’ve got this situation where they both are trying to be heroes, but the minute that they come together for the first time now that the whole Superior Spider-Man thing has happened, it’s pretty explosive.
In this case, I think we’re getting people exactly what they want. [Laughs.] There’s that saying — “give people what they don’t know that they want.” Everyone knows they want this, and we’re like, “What the hell? Let’s just go for it.” So guess what? They fight.
Nrama: Upcoming solicitations reveal that the story involves the Jackal, as well — what role is he playing?
Yost: The Jackal is a story that I’ve been building up to for far too long now. We’ve seen him show up in Avenging Spider-Man — obviously he’s got a huge history with Kane, and he’s going to be showing up over there as well. He’s got a big plan in motion. He’s done things that are going to have huge ramifications. He’s got his usual crazy genetic cloning plans going, but there’s a new element in that he’s ripped off another geneticist from the Marvel Universe, by the name of Mister Sinister. So his cloning tech has really changed quite a bit.
You saw a little bit of in Avenging Spider-Man #16 with the X-Men, and now you’re going to see more of it here.
Nrama: Now that you’ve been writing the Scarlet Spider book for more than a year and a half, and been in the position of writing Kaine as a main character for the first time ever for an extended period of time, how have you enjoyed that challenge? You’ve taken this guy and made him the star of his own book, but now have lived with him for a while — what has that experience been like?
Yost: It’s been great. I really wanted to make him into a character that people could root for. He’s always been kind of a villain, he’s always been the misguided guy that people have taken advantage of — there’s always been something horrible about him. He’s a very sad character. He was created and thrown away; he’s always been dying. He’s always been this horrifically scarred, messed-up clone of Peter Parker. He did horrible things. To be able to tell that redemption story has been really fun — in some ways well deserved, and in other ways, probably not. He’s crossed lines that other people really haven’t.
There are still horrible things around every corner, but I think he actually has a place he can call home, and he’s got people he could actually call friends. So now, of course, is the perfect time to take all that away from him.
Nrama: Well, he’s not acting especially heroic in the most recent issue, trying to kill Wolverine and invading the X-Mansion. But that must have been for you, getting to revisit the X-world again after being associated with the franchise for so long.
Yost: Yeah, I’m a huge X-Men fan. Being able to work with the characters again is always a ton of fun. What Jason Aaron and Nick Lowe are doing over there in Wolverine and the X-Men; it’s fantastic fun. To be able to put our characters in the middle of it — and not only that, but really for one of the first times in the series to actually have them interact with the rest of the Marvel Universe — I think is a progression for the book, too.
That issue was fun because he was going to do something so horrible. You’ve got these two characters, Hummingbird and Scarlet Spider, that both seem to have a lot of evil inside of them, but generally want to be good people. It was kind of fun to have them go off and kill someone.
Nrama: In Avenging Spider-Man, you’ve been building this big story with OckSpidey gathering the former members of his Sinister Six. It looks like things are coming to a head to an extent with this current Chameleon story — plus Mysterio is showing up soon — but does this story wrap up before the transition to Superior Spider-Man Team-Up, or continue into the new book?
Yost: It’s going to continue over into the new book. It’s going to wrap up in issues #5, #6 and #7 of Team-Up.
The plan right now — and it’s always subject to change — is issue #1 is a big Marvel Universe jam, issue #2 is Scarlet Spider, then #3 and #4 are Infinity crossovers. Then #5 and #6 and #7 are "The Superior Six."
Nrama: What will the Infinity tie-in involve?
Yost: Spider-Man has seen a lot of stuff — a lot of insane things in his history. Anywhere from magic and space invasions and all that. But Doc Ock hasn’t, necessarily. So you’re going to have this cataclysmic event happen in Infinity, and now Doctor Octopus is the one kind of in their shoes. It’s going to be him dealing with and reacting to the Marvel summer tentpole event — just something so big and so freak-out. Spider-Man’s been there, he’s done it. But Doc Ock really hasn’t, with the exception of Secret Wars.
At the same time, you’ve got a new character that we’re introducing called Sun Girl, and she’s like the rookie newbie. She looks at Spider-Man for stability — the shoulder to lean on, the experienced guy. And Doc Ock’s perspective on things is not what this character was expecting. Everything that I do is going to have that element of fun, hopefully, but fun in wartime.
Nrama: This is a little more of an open-ended question, but you’re in such an interesting position with both of these books right now in that you came on Avenging right as the Superior status quo began, and you’ve been doing Scarlet Spider now for a year and a half now. So basically two Spider-Man books, but neither of which star Peter Parker — yet they’re both at least Peter Parker-adjacent. Do you miss Peter Parker at all, or is it so exciting getting to chart this new territory that it’s not really something you’re concerned about?
Yost: The irony is that Spider-Man is my favorite character, and my dream was always to finally get to the place where I could write Peter Parker. [Laughs.] To have these two books that are basically Spider-Man titles with no Spider-Man in sight is a little crazy, but you know what, they’re fun. But one day it would be nice to actually write Spider-Man.
Nrama: Well, I’m guessing he won’t be gone forever.
Yost: That’s what I thought, too. I actually thought he’d be back by now, but nope.
I think the key of it is that Peter Parker is always there, and I’m not just talking about the ghost Peter Parker thing. The shadow of Peter Parker looms over Kaine every issue. Everything that Kaine does, the influence of Peter Parker is there. The same with Octavius. I think to a certain extent, this is just showcasing what an amazing character Spider-Man is, because just the idea of him casts such a large shadow on these characters.