Late this fall, the fate of all the Spider characters may well rest with three clones.
In the SCARLET SPIDERS limited series from writer Mike Costa and artist Paco Diaz, Kaine, the Ultimate Universe’s Jessica Drew, and an alternate Ben Reilly undertake a quest to save reality that very well may end up costing them their lives even if they do complete it. Just imagine what could happen if they do not succeed…
“Obviously I can’t give too much away just yet, but the group in SCARLET SPIDERS plays a very important role in stopping Morlun,” teases editor Devin Lewis in reference to the primary villain of the Spider-Verse event. “Without this group of three and their mission, there’s a decent chance that the Spider-Men from across the multiverse won’t even survive Morlun’s assault.”
Lewis stands convinced that Marvel has recruited the perfect team to bring this series to life in Costa and Diaz.
“From the get-go, we wanted this limited series to have a unique feel, as the characters we’re dealing with all have very specific worldviews,” he recalls. “Mike has shown in the past that he has a skill at deftly blending tension and suspense with action and adventure and we knew we wanted to play with those elements in this series. From the outset, Spider-Verse is a high-stakes, fast paced story, and focusing in on characters and their motivations in that kind of environment is Mike’s specialty.
“I had the opportunity to work with Paco on SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP, and he’s got such a terrific style that we knew he’d be a great fit for this book. Paco’s a triple threat in that he has a great storytelling sense, knows how stage a great action scene, and can draw pretty much anything! We wanted someone who could make those notes sing on the page.”
Diaz, for his part, has already begun to rise to the challenge.
“I'm digitally inking my work and the results are beginning to look very good on the page,” explains the artist. “However, I think one of my peculiarities is never to be satisfied with my job, with my art, and therefore I try to improve every day.
“Digital is an exciting new technique that allows me to show my skills in a new way. I can foresee a pretty cool future for this book.”
One distinct challenge of the story comes from its ensemble nature. All three characters come from different universes; they boast three distinctly different personalities, even if they’re all clones of Peter Parker.
“Luckily, we have a terrific character writer in Mike, and he’s going to be able to interweave the big action set pieces that are in store for our heroes with more intimate character arcs that are the glue for a story like this,” contends Lewis. “From our very first phone call, it was obvious that Mike sees this as an opportunity to show the different sides of these characters, and the easiest way to do that is to play to all of their strengths.
“Kaine really serves as the entry point for readers to this group. He’s a mainstay in the Marvel Universe, now, so that gives him a unique perspective on the events of Spider-Verse as they unfold.
“The Ben Reilly in this story is from a universe where Peter Parker never returned from his time in Oregon during the Clone Saga. When we were having our first conversations on the phone, Mike was intent on working out who this guy is. How does he think? What’s his outlook and how is it different from the Peter Parker we all know and love?
“Ultimate Jessica Drew has already had a pretty rough go of it herself, and one of the things Mike and I discussed and were intent on bringing to the fore was her sense of identity, especially now that she has seen there’s a multiverse rife with Spider-People. She’s already had a difficult journey after ULTIMATUM, the death of her world’s Spider-Man, and the invasion of Galactus, and things aren’t about to get easier.”
For the artist, the characters also represent certain obstacles, especially the similarly built Kaine and Ben Reilly.
“I'm trying to improve my work, above all, with the characters’ expressiveness,” says Diaz. “When they wear masks you need to implement several different resources: repeating some motifs, developing specific body language for each and so on. It is a complicated job, but, of course, it's an awesome challenge. I hope all the work be reflected in the final result.”
In developing each Scarlet Spider for the page, he admits he certainly has a preferred character.
“My favorite character here in this limited series is definitely Jessica Drew,” he confesses. “I love to draw the female figure and I think she is a great counterpart in this party of three.”
All in all, the team makes sure that these Spiders get the respect they deserve and the Clone does not get treated as some kind of four-letter word.
“This is a team with a definite purpose, and some of them might not make it out alive,” Lewis forebodingly promises. “What could that mean? You’ll just have to wait and see!”
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