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By Jim Beard
Everyone's nervous before a wedding; don't let anybody tell you otherwise.
Even super heroes like Spider-Man feel the weight of such events and the momentous minutes leading up to the nuptials that'll impact the entire Spidey-verse gain their own spotlight in July 8's AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #36. And check out Peter Parker's knocking knees!
"I'm a fan of Annuals that kick-start new storylines," says writer Marc Guggenheim. "Those are always fun. This Annual falls squarely in that category, even though it can stand on its own, too. We're introducing several very important characters who will play a significant role in the big wedding that happens in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #600."
Well, then, what's the one big bombshell that provides the story with its powerful punch?
"Who says it's just one thing?" queries Guggenheim in return. "How about reintroducing a character whose last name is 'Reilly'? How about the introduction of a new villain who will play a pivotal role in the upcoming series arc, 'Who Is Ben Reilly?'"
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But with all this "new" in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #36, should fans be concerned that their put-upon protagonist may not be able to carry the tonnage after the events of "American Son"?
"Yeah, there's a lot of new here," Guggenheim admits. "But there's also a lot of old. Both are going to rock Peter's world for the entirety of the Annual and their repercussions are going to be felt in the regular series."
As Spider-Man followers well know, Peter Parker's past too often finds a way of kicking him from behind. This Annual's new villain reputedly connects into former adventures of Pete's and in brutal ways that can hit him where it counts the most.
"The original idea behind this Annual—and the arc that will spin-off from it—was that I wanted to come up with a villain who wanted to kill Peter Parker," explains Guggenheim. "In the past, Spidey villains only wanted to kill Spidey. Or back when, say, Norman Osborn knew Spidey's secret identity, they wanted to kill Peter because he was Spider-Man. The challenge I set for myself at the beginning was to see if I could come up with a villain who wanted to kill Peter Parker because he's Peter Parker. This villain doesn't even know that Peter is really Spider-Man. Which, of course, sucks for the villain. I mean, talk about bad luck..."
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For Guggenheim, the fun of the fiction rests not only in devising the delicious danger for our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, but in collaborations with artists such as Patrick Oliffe, who just happens to join the writer on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #36.
"Patrick is a great artist because his style is so visceral," the writer notes. "His characters look like they have grace and flow to them, even when they're not fighting, swinging or doing super-hero type stuff. In other words, there's a grace to his art that you see even when the characters are just standing around, talking to each other—the 'quiet' moments.
"That having been said, there aren't that many quiet moments in this one. We begin with a nice, 'quiet' party with a fair amount of character drama, but we move pretty quickly into pure action. In terms of just action, this Annual is probably the closest I've come to a classic, Spidey-fighting-bad-guy story. It was a lot of fun to do, and I've been a fan of Patrick's since he did UNTOLD TALES OF SPIDER-MAN."
Will Spider-Man live long enough to witness a rather important wedding? The answers lie in an annual Marvel tradition, and this one's designated AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #36. We'll keep ringing those bells until you pick up your copy on July 8!
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