Tuesday Q&A

Tuesday Q&A: Brian Michael Bendis

The ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN writer talks about Spidey's new Amazing Friends and lays the Osborns to rest once and for all

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By Eric Drumm High school can really suck. Shifting groups of friends, college prospects, and the run of the mill bullies plague every teenager that passes through the halls. For Peter Parker in ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, he has to deal with all those same problems plus super villains always to punch out his alter ego, the amazing Spider-Man. That said, things definitely haven't been so amazing for him lately.

ULTIMATE
SPIDER-MAN
#118 cover by
Stuart Immonen

"Death" and "being Spider-Man's friend" share a dictionary entry. The Osborns, the first family of goblins in the Ultimate Universe, recently joined the growing list of folks in Spidey's life who have bit the dust. Peter's best friend Harry, aka the Hobgoblin, met his end at the hands of his own father—and Spider-Man's archenemy—Norman, the Green Goblin, who then, overcome with grief, had Carol Danvers shoot him in the head. Luckily for Peter, he will be gaining some new pals in the "Amazing Friends" arc, kicking off in ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #118, on sale February 6. A throwback to the old Spidey cartoon of the same name, X-kid Iceman and the yet to be revealed Firestar join Spidey's cast for a team-up of surprisingly epic proportions. Series writer Brian Michael Bendis swung in to answer some questions on Spider-Man's new crew and put the Osborns to rest.

ULTIMATE
SPIDER-MAN
#118 pencil art
by Stuart
Immonen

Marvel.com: The Osborns have been a key part of ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN since the beginning—how does their death shift the dynamic/tone of the series and move it to a new phase? Brian Michael Bendis: Ya know, if you look at it, it was a very long story. There have been two major storylines that have taken up ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN: the Osborns story and the Kingpin story. The Osborns story is much more of a tragedy, and it's one that Peter keeps getting sucked into more than he is a part of. There was no good way for it to end. And this storyline, I think, [put] an exclamation point on that. The tragedy itself brings a bit of a maturity to Peter now, and forces him to have a little more gravitas and an understanding of stuff.

ULTIMATE
SPIDER-MAN
#118 interior art
by Stuart
Immonen

Marvel.com: Since these are Osborns we're talking about, are we wrong in thinking that we haven't seen the last of them? Brian Michael Bendis: No, I think they're dead. The second the book hit the shelf the first post on my board was like "Oh, they're not dead." I understand why people might think that. Norman Osborn in the regular Marvel Universe was dead and now he's running the Thunderbolts. So I completely understand. But as long as I'm writing the book, unless I come up with some unbelievable whopper, I think they're gone. Marvel.com: Well, it's happened before…

ULTIMATE
SPIDER-MAN
#118 pencil art
by Stuart
Immonen

Brian Michael Bendis: Notice how I didn't say "never, ever ever ever" because you just don't do that. A lesson for you up and coming writers out there: never say never. Marvel.com: Spidey and some of his pals are coming to town. Is "Amazing Friends" something that you have wanted to do for a while? Brian Michael Bendis: Absolutely. Literally, when it became clear that [ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN] was gonna do [well], and it was going to be an ongoing and I wasn't going to get fired, [I made my] wish list of stuff [I would] love to do. I wrote down "Amazing Friends" and I looked at the idea, and I was like, "How do you get Iceman in the book?"

ULTIMATE
SPIDER-MAN
#118 interior art
by Stuart
Immonen

Keep in mind that ULTIMATE X-MEN hadn't even started yet, so how do you make it organic and not just a goofball team up? But if Kitty [Pryde] joins the book on an ongoing basis, that gets Iceman into the book organically. It's been building since like the second year, so yeah, I've been waiting a long time to get this done. Marvel.com: We know Iceman, but who is Firestar? Any clues you could give us? Brian Michael Bendis: I don't want ruin it. Marvel.com: How much of an influence was the old "Amazing Friends" cartoon in your story if at all?

ULTIMATE
SPIDER-MAN
#118 pencil art
by Stuart
Immonen

Brian Michael Bendis: Most of the cartoon itself [was] actually kind of stupid. I remember Peter had a Spider-cave and a dog, and it wasn't very Spider-Manish. But there was definitely something about the camaraderie that Peter had with his little team of pals that was very cool. And I think that's what everyone liked about it because the rest of it was pretty junky. What stays is the camaraderie of the three, the cool visual of the team. Everything else will not be part of this version of it. It's not going to have a tape deck that talks and turns into one of those dot matrix computers. Marvel.com: Is this a one shot deal or will this trio become a pillar of Spidey's Ultimate world?

ULTIMATE
SPIDER-MAN
#118 interior art
by Stuart
Immonen

Brian Michael Bendis: It's an introduction chapter for something I hopefully will return to, absolutely. Marvel.com: What can we expect out of the arc? Any surprises you'd like to tease? Brian Michael Bendis: You get the introduction to a brand new mutant and you get Magneto. And it's not just who this new mutant is, but who this new mutant's father is, and what the relationship to Magneto is. It's also guest-starring the X-Men, with the awkwardness being this is the first time they've seen Kitty since she got the boot. It's good stuff. I will tell you, and I don't do this often, so I hope I won't be seen as too arrogant, but when a book comes together pretty well, you always shoot for the best, right? And every once in a while you get the lettered copy and you think, "Wow, this really came out great," and issue #118 is really one of those issues. It's [artist] Stuart [Immonen]'s best issue, and just the whole thing works. Even if you aren't and avid collector of ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN and just a casual one, this is a good one to get. ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #118 hits stands on February 6, but to tide yourself, over, check out Spider-Man and Kitty Pryde's first date in ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1 over at Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited

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