By Tim Stevens
Writer Christos Gage and artist Javier Rodriguez force the Superior Spider-Man to face a challenge that he cannot simply punch or invent away this November.
In SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1, the villain Blackout kidnaps Aunt May, and it tests Otto Octavius’ resolve like no obstacle he has faced in the webs yet. Spider-Man may have tangled with this kind of thing time and again, but with Peter Parker’s memories now expunged, Otto has no point of reference. That, according to Gage, represents a large part of the appeal.
“That’s the fun of this story: it’s a familiar situation for Spider-Man, but not Superior Spider-Man,” the writer asserts. “Otto’s attitude is a lot more like Sean Connery in ‘The Untouchables,’ they send one of yours to the hospital, you send one of theirs to the morgue. Whether that’s better or worse for Aunt May remains to be seen.”
For any Spider-Man, however, the dangerous killer Blackout comes as a brand new threat.
|Superior Spider-Man Annual #1 cover by J.G. Jones|
“Yeah, they may have briefly crossed paths when the Avengers fought the Hood’s gang, but that’s it,” confirms Gage. “What made Blackout the right choice for this story is that he is a truly vicious and ruthless villain who has shown he will not hesitate to strike at people through their families; he killed Ghost Rider Danny Ketch’s sister. So you have to take him seriously as a credible threat.”
To make matters worse, Blackout has been stung by recent events and feels the need to prove himself and regain his reputation.
“He was a top hit man and assassin, then joined the Hood’s gang, and that fell apart, so he is out to re-establish his rep by killing Spider-Man,” reveals Gage. “But he wants to stack the deck and lure Spidey into a trap, so he kidnaps Aunt May to force her nephew, Peter Parker, who Blackout has heard designs Spidey’s tech, to sabotage Spidey’s weapons and lure him into an ambush.”
“One hitch in the plan is that Peter Parker is Spidey,” he continues. “A bigger x-factor is that ‘Peter Parker’ is also now Otto Octavius.”
Artist Javier Rodriguez aids and abets Gage in tormenting the Superior Spider-Man, something the writer points out as an important factor in realizing the action fully.
“Everything I’ve seen of Javier’s has been amazing,” Gage enthuses. “If you’ve been reading DAREDEVIL, I don’t have to tell you and if you haven’t, you’re missing out on one of the most acclaimed books on the stands! I couldn’t be happier to have Javier handling this story. The stark, powerful yet character driven tone of his art is ideal for it.”
Together, the creators pledge that this will be no mere throwaway tale.
“I wanted was for this to be a significant part of the ongoing SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN story,” explains Gage. “I pick up threads [writer] Dan [Slott] has laid out in the regular book, and the story in the ANNUAL will definitely have notable repercussions in the ongoing series.”