By Jim Beard
Behind a humongous Spider-Man epic like “Ends of the Earth” stands not only writer Dan Slott and a bevy of amazing artists, but also the wondrous Steve Wacker, the Senior Editor charged with overseeing the exploits of the webslinger.
The next chapter of this massive Spidey tale hits shops on May 23 with AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #686, but we jumped to get a word with Steve about Doc Ock’s master plan as well as what’s swinging our way as spring turns to the Summer of Spider-Man.
|Amazing Spider-Man #686 cover by Stefano Caselli|
Marvel.com: Steve, thinking back over the construction of “Ends of the Earth,” what was your ultimate goal, your intentions for the character of Doctor Octopus?
Steve Wacker: Dan’s been building Doc’s story since AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #600. Dan’s a writer who thinks big and executes even bigger. What we get out of it in the end is a reminder that Doc Ock and Peter are two very similar people and the conflict between them is personal. In each of these men are the seeds of the other. They used their gifts for very different purposes and for Pete, when their paths cross, it’s like watching a darker shade of yourself.
“Ends of the Earth” should be a violent reminder that there is no bigger bad in Spidey’s life than Otto Octavius.
Marvel.com: The story has a pretty big global range and feel; do you think Spidey works best in his own backyard of New York City or in a bigger playground?
Steve Wacker: I always like Spidey best in NYC, but he’s an Avenger now and his scope changes. Regardless, Pete’s not too worried about boundaries when it comes to saving innocents.
Marvel.com: The villains who've made up the various Sinister Sixes, etc., over the years—why do you think they continue to band together, often under a leader like Ock, when they don't seem to make much headway in a group?
Steve Wacker: I guess I’d disagree slightly that they “don’t seem to make much headway.” They have many times comes very close to defeating Spider-Man.
|Amazing Spider-Man #687 cover by Stefano Caselli|
For the most parts these are all men who have been trying to kill the same person since he was 15-years-old. Spidey gets under their skin like a splinter and each of them are driven to remove him. That said, every good villain should be the hero in his own eyes. So if they believe they are doing the right thing, there’s no reason they should ever stop trying to defeat Spider-Man and become the most successful bad guys they can be.
Marvel.com: Obviously you can't tell us how “Ends of the Earth” wraps up in June, but in general, what's exciting you most about the conclusion? What kinds of things can the readers look forward to?
Steve Wacker: Dan’s got a big ending in mind which affects each member of the Sinister Six as well as Spidey. Plus, because it’s a Dan Slott comic, there’s plenty of threads that he’ll follow up on in these months leading up to AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700. It’s a pretty big ending.
Marvel.com: How will we transition into “No Turning Back,” a major Lizard story that begins in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #688? Does Spidey even have time to breathe?
Steve Wacker: Nope. Giving a reader a chance to catch their breath means there’s a chance they’ll look away for a second. We roll right into our big Lizard story by Dan, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Klaus Janson and [Frank D’Armata]. Scheduling luck got this story out right in time for the [“Amazing Spider-Man”] movie, but that’s pretty much where the luck ends for Spidey.
Marvel.com: How would you characterize the Lizard story against the Doc Ock story, in terms of mood or tone?
|Amazing Spider-Man #689 cover by Giuseppe Camuncoli|
Steve Wacker: “No Turning Back” has a pretty dark mood as much of the beginning takes place in the sewers we last saw the Lizard in during the story “Shed” a couple years back. Again we have an extremely personal conflict with Spidey and Curt Connors so this one is bound to hurt.
And with Morbius the Living Vampire involved, I can pretty much guarantee that things aren’t going to be sweetness and light for Spidey.
Marvel.com: What other Spidey villain, maybe one who's off the radar, would you love to build a new storyline around going forward?
Steve Wacker: I keep hoping Dan does something with Hobie Brown, The Prowler, but he doesn’t seem interested. Hopefully the fans out there will prove to him there’s an interest.