As Norman Osborn checks things off his "to-do" list, it's not surprising that one of them is Spider-Man.
And for this one, he's going to get his hands dirty.
As Tom Brevoort and Brian Michael Bendis explained to Newsarama this weekend, "The List" is a series of eight specials that tie together. Written by eight different creative teams, they each explore one thing that Osborn has decided needs done in the Marvel Universe, with a total of eight things on his "list."
In Dark Reign: The List - Amazing Spider-Man by writer Dan Slott and artist Adam Kubert, Osborn as Iron Patriot will finally get his big showdown with Spider-Man.
Newsarama talked to Amazing Spider-Man editor Steve Wacker about issue and the Iron Patriot/Spider-Man battle that ensues.
Newsarama: Norman Osborn comes up with this list of things he wants to get done in the Marvel Universe. How does this affect Spider-Man?
Steve Wacker: As the Iron Patriot, he knows he's got some unfinished business with Spider-Man. Our story actually spins out of some unfinished business after American Son and New Ways to Die, which are two of our big stories of the last year.
Pete decides he's got a small window to do what he was trying to do in American Son, which was to take Norman down. He's got a piece of information now, and he thinks he can do it.
And it ends up with a city-wide battle, solely between the Iron Patriot and the Amazing Spider-Man.
NRAMA: So this is where the big confrontation finally goes down?
SW: Yeah. I mean, it's been building ever since the issue in New Ways to Die when Norman was sitting in Peter's apartment. And there's a lot of the conflict here between Norman and Peter here also that comes to a head.
NRAMA: When you say he's got a piece of information, is this more about the investigative side or rather the journalist side of Peter that's going to try to take Norman down?
SW: Yes. I can absolutely confirm that we're going to be seeing Frontline here. We're going to be seeing Nora, everyone's new favorite lady reporter. Initially, this is about power through the press.
And a lot of frustrations about Norman's family and Pete's best friend are worked out through violence.
NRAMA: So when you say this issue spins out of American Son and Norman's family is part of it, you're talking about Harry, right? He's a part of this?
SW: Yeah. I think Harry's the subtext of all of this. Or at least a lot of this. There's also baggage with Gwen and a lifetime of baggage from a guy who's been trying to kill Pete since he was 16 years old.
NRAMA: And Adam Kubert is the artist?
SW: Yeah. He's back at Marvel and his schedule was open for an issue. I worked with Adam on Hawkman on some covers, and I really only knew him from that and lunch I had with him and his kids. So we got in touch. And I've always wanted to work with him on a full issue of Amazing Spider-Man. It's a dream come true for me. I love his work.
NRAMA: Brian Bendis told us that he sees these issues as functioning somewhat like annuals for their respective comics, which implies this isn't just something standing alone within Dark Reign. Are you treating this as something that every Amazing Spider-Man reader should read, much like an annual?
SW: I am, yeah. If you're not reading Amazing Spider-Man right now, this is a decent taste of what we do week in and week out. But if you are reading Amazing Spider-Man right now, this is a nice, juicy piece of our picture. I think you should pick this one up.
NRAMA: Let's talk for a minute about how involved Spider-Man is with Dark Reign. It seemed like when you guys started the thrice-monthly series, Amazing Spider-Man was somewhat separated from the Marvel Universe and what was going on. When Dark Reign started and Norman Osborn became so powerful, did that provide the perfect time for your book to become central to what's going on in the rest of the Marvel Universe again?
SW: I think it provided the opportunity for fans to realize we were connected with the Marvel Universe, because we always were. I guess if the only way to be considered as interacting with the Marvel Universe was to cross over with New Avengers every month, yeah, we didn't do that. But from the get-go, we've seen Peter responding to things going on in the Marvel Universe, we've seen him meeting Ms. Marvel, we've seen him at Avengers mansion in our first couple months. We were working far enough ahead that we weren't reflecting that week's comics, I grant. But at the same time, we were also coming off three years of Amazing Spider-Man that was one crossover to another, where the issues were difficult to stand on their own without knowing the ins and outs of politics in the Marvel Universe. So I guess we drew back on that a little bit. But we've been square in the middle of the Marvel Universe from the beginning. It's more that some of the readership was assuming we weren't, and that became the conventional wisdom.
The Dark Reign labeling certainly became an opportunity but it was also part of the story that we already wanted to do. We'd been building toward a conflict with Norman for awhile. And once Brian [Bendis] started doing stuff with the Iron Patriot, it sort of just brought Norman's story to a head in our book too. But a lot of this isn't as conspiratorial as it may seem. We didn't think, "OK, we need a Dark Reign crossover right now!" It was where our story was headed anyway.
NRAMA: You were always in the middle of Dark Reign, huh? We just didn't know it.
SW: That's right. [laughs] If it were up to me, I would go back and put Dark Reign labels on all the comics we've ever done.
NRAMA: Dark Reign: The List - Amazing Spider-Man comes out in November, and that's about the time your new ongoing "theme" called The Gauntlet begins. Is this issue part of the turning point that allows that portion of the story to begin?
SW: This comes out a week or two before our first Gauntlet issue hits, which I'm just realizing as we're talking.
NRAMA: So it really is a turning point?
SW: Yeah, I guess it is.
NRAMA: OK, then, in the course of things, is this issue just the middle of the confrontation between Norman and Spider-Man during Dark Reign, or can you say this is the big final show-down? They've met before, so is this one different?
SW: I don't want to give too much away, but there's a big event at the end that will be important. I mean, I don't have a big book of all the Marvel Comics that will ever be published. Will Spider-Man and Green Goblin fight again? I imagine so. It might be after I'm gone from the book, though. But what Pete does to Norman here at the end of Dan's story in The List, is something that he can't go back on.