By Chris Arrant
After Spider-Island sees Manhattan besieged by spider-powered civilians aplenty, you wouldn’t think another arachnid in the mix would help things, but Spider-Woman hopes to prove that thinking wrong. Jessica Drew arrives in New York City looking for a cure and ends up fighting side-by-side with the Future Foundation’s Thing in SPIDER-ISLAND: SPIDER-WOMAN, on sale in September.
|SPIDER-ISLAND: SPIDER-WOMAN #1 cover by Stefano Caselli|
“In SPIDER-ISLAND: SPIDER-WOMAN, Jessica Drew goes on a very important mission from Reed Richards that dates back to one of her very first adventures—with [The Thing], in fact, [from] the pages of MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE,” says writer Fred Van Lente. “And that leads her into a head-to-head confrontation with a revamped villain from Spider-Woman's own rogue's gallery, now in cahoots with The Jackal.”
Recent issues of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN revealed The Jackal instigating Spider-Island by releasing genetically-altered bed bugs carrying a unique virus into the couches and beds of everyone in Manhattan. In addition, the villain has recruited and powered up several allies, including an old sparring partner of Spider-Woman’s.
“Gypsy Moth is back, folks, and she is one deadly kickass insect lady.” Van Lente announces. “As is pretty well known, rehabilitating seemingly hopelessly lame villains is my cause célèbre in the comics industry, and we've done our best to make Gypsy Moth a formidable foe. Spider-Island seems likes the perfect place to reintroduce her to the fans for the very first time. And she is on a mission directly opposed to Jessica's.”
Just as The Jackal sides with a surprising partner, Spider-Woman and The Thing also recruit from an unexpected pool.
“[The Thing’s ex-girlfriend] Alicia [Masters] may be the key to curing all of Spider-Island,” reveals Van Lente. “She was transformed herself into a spider-woman, back in that previously mentioned MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE story, and her blood contains antigens Reed Richards can use to remove the Jackal's infestation. But can Spider-Woman find her in time? She isn't the only one looking for her!”
Fresh off a run on DAKEN: DARK WOLVERINE and several issues of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, Giuseppe Camuncoli provides the art for SPIDER-ISLAND: SPIDER-WOMAN and looks forward to more than just depicting the title character.
“The Thing is one of my favorite characters ever and possibly my favorite character to draw” he claims. “He has such a unique design, and playing with his expressions, body language and his rocky skin is fantastic. I just can't get enough; it's almost like an anti-stress to me. In this particular case, you must admit that Ben is part of a very odd couple. But, quite surprisingly, it really works to have a character so different like Spider-Woman act alongside Aunt Petunia's blue-eyed nephew!”
Camuncoli brings his well-rounded illustrative talents not just to Ben Grimm and Jessica Drew but the entire cast, from the heroes and villains to the thousands of infected citizens under the influence of these spider-powers. Although he’s had some impressive assignments over the past few years, SPIDER-ISLAND: SPIDER-WOMAN provides new challenges that have the artist excited.
“It's fun,” Camuncoli says of the project. “One of the coolest things about drawing is going nuts, and drawing the impossible, or rather something that's most of the time unusual to see. And in this case, it's so cool to see—and draw—all of these characters ‘Spider-ized.’ Comics can be complex or simple, funny or dramatic, but they should always be creative! And Spider-Island, in this particular field, does deliver. Big time!”