By Chris Arrant
With Spider-Island spinning its web across the streets and citizens of Manhattan, Peter Parker finds its good to have friends in high places, including the Avengers.
|SPIDER-ISLAND: AVENGERS #1 cover by Leinil Francis Yu|
In the upcoming one-shot SPIDER-ISLAND: AVENGERS, Marvel’s flagship team of heroes ends up at ground zero for this arachna-demic and discovers a group of mercenaries using the confusion caused and the powers given by Spider-Island to plot a coordinated strike on the United Nations headquarters.
“It's day two, and Manhattan lives under quarantine,” says writer Christopher Yost, who is joined on the book by artist Mike McKone. “The citizens of New York City are developing a bad case of spider powers, and things have gone a little nutty. The island has been sealed off, and the Avengers are trying to hold everything together. The one-shot has a few members of the Avengers dealing with a very specific threat. There's any number of super villains in New York at any given time, sure, but there's also random, heavily armed terrorist groups as well. Now imagine a trained, organized group of mercenaries with Uzis, RPGs, and super powers.”
The group in question: ULTIMATUM, a long-running terrorist cell led by Flag-Smasher that has crossed paths with Captain America, S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Punisher over the years.
“ULTIMATUM has one simple, bizarre goal: the elimination of all governments all over the world,” Yost shares. “They see things like maps and borders as divisive for humanity, and we'd all be better off without them. So Flag-Smasher sees several of his men getting super powers as a sign—now's the time. And the United Nations exists as a symbol of pretty much everything they hate.”
But just as the United Nations calls New York City home, so do the Avengers. Between the spider-powered outbreak and ULTIMATUM resurfacing, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have their hands full; so full, in fact that they call in one of their most unlikely reservists, according to Yost:
“The majority of the Avengers are in NYC for the event, but this one-shot focuses on Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye and Jewel. And former member of the Kentucky branch of the Avengers Initiative, Frog-Man.”
Although some may doubt Frog-Man’s super hero credentials, he’s a card-carrying member of the Initiative and has teamed up with the likes of Captain America on occasion. Most important of all, he believes he’s an Avenger.
“Frog-Man really sees himself as an Avenger, even if nobody else does,” explains Yost. “And in the insanity of Spider-Island, maybe Frog-Man is the hero that New York City needs right now. Or maybe I kill him off mid-issue. You never really know with me.”
Yost has crisscrossed the Marvel Universe, writing series such as X-FORCE as well as being a key figure at Marvel Animation and spearhead of “Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!.” That kind of dedication gives him a special kind know-how for cult Marvel characters like Frog-Man, as well as another fan-favorite: Squirrel Girl.
“In SPIDER-ISLAND: AVENGERS, Squirrel Girl has what will probably be the most intense day of her life in this issue,” the writer reveals.
With all that’s going on inside the Spider-Island event and this one-shot in-particular, Yost has endeavored to give readers a unique experience that will prove memorable on its own as well as part of the larger story.
“You'll get to see Hawkeye really sucking at something for the first time in his life, other than relationships,” he promises. “And one other member of the Avengers cast will be getting spider powers. It's a sight to see.”