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Amazing Spider-Man: The Gauntlet

Amazing Spider-Man: Sparkplug

Mark Waid talks about the start of The Gauntlet and Electro becoming a man of the people

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #612 preview art by Paul Azaceta
By Tim Stevens

After months of signs and whispers, "The Gauntlet," a massive storyline set to shake Peter Parker's world and juice up his foes, will commence on November 11 in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #612, presented by writer Mark Waid and artist Paul Azaceta. Waid sees the responsibilities of batting leadoff as two-fold:

"One, to demonstrate how we're ramping up Spidey's rogues' gallery for the 21st century, and two, to create a real sense of foreboding dread in Spidey's life," he explains.

Electro, the first villain to receive a second look, finds himself with problems that many of us can relate to: he's broke. The decision to reflect the real world financial realities of America today came as a conscious choice during the most recent Spider-Man creative conference, despite some of the risks such an approach might bring.

"While we try to stay away from topical references that'll be forgotten about in a few months, the economic meltdown is too big and touches upon too much of America to ignore," Waid explains.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #612 preview art by Paul Azaceta
For Max Dillon, being touched by the collapse of the economy means that the nest egg he has worked so hard on has shrunk to the point that it can no longer offer him a carefree retirement.

"Electro-being a lifelong union man before he became a villain-was always pretty smart with his money, and even after he became a villain, he was clever enough to stash plenty away for his old age, using careful accounting to hide his investments from the Feds," Waid divulges. "But when Wall Street melted down last year, just like millions of Americans, Electro lost his life savings. Yes, it was stolen money, so there's a limit to how sorry we can feel for him, but Electro doesn't see it that way."

Electro, angry at his misfortunes, taps into a zeitgeist and unexpectedly becomes a figure for the general populace to rally around.

"In our story, Electro particularly fires up the anti-government-bailout faction of Americans," reveals Waid. "The folks who are frustrated at their seeming helplessness in the face of the economic catastrophes that have peppered us recently, they're energized. Electro says just the right things at just the right times and has clearly been taking lessons as a

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #612 preview art by Paul Azaceta
motivational speaker. He whips New York into a frenzy of angry activists screaming 'Power to the people!'"

Caught in the middle of this stands Spider-Man; on the one hand, he knows Electro as a super villain who has nearly killed him on multiple occasions. However, the principal target of Dillon's campaign happens to be someone Peter Parker really does not like.

"It's difficult for Spidey to have any sympathy for Electro given their history," Waid points out. "Spidey's bigger problem is that Electro's set his sights on Dexter Bennett, recipient of a massive government bailout, and Spidey's forced to defend a man he hates."

In making that choice, Spidey sets himself up for tragedy:

"Something very shattering happens to Peter Parker in the story's climax."

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spider-warrior member

I like this upcominc arc. Although I hate the artwork for the Electro story,it sounds like an awsome story. I just wish they didn't make Electro sentimental. Because we've seen alot of sentimental villians over the years. There was Joker in the killing Joke and in the Dark Knight movie, the Sandman in Spider-Man 3 and the Skrulls in Secret Invasion. For once it would be nice to see someone who's actually evil.


the art looks kind of old school :cool: