What If: Woes of the Wallcrawler

In WHAT IF? SPIDER-MAN: BACK IN BLACK, Mary Jane, not Aunt May, drives Spidey into the darkness

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Preview art by
Gus Vazquez

By Tim Stevens When a sniper shot May Parker, it shook Spider-Man's world so badly he would make a decision that changed his entire life. On December 24, it happens all over again. This time, in WHAT IF? SPIDER-MAN: BACK IN BLACK, written by Steven Grant with art by Gus Vazquez, the crucial moment reoccurs with a twist. Instead of Spider-Man's kindly aunt being felled, the sniper's bullet strikes down his then-wife, Mary Jane. While the event similarly sparks Spidey's desire for vengeance as it did in the source arc, fans can expect some notable discrepancies. "There are differences," Grant explains. "Your connection to your wife will always be different from your connection to your mother, I hope. But also the circumstances are changed. Peter had options to him when May was shot that are closed off to him in this story. His priorities are different."

Preview art by
Gus Vazquez

The issue marks Grant's return to Marvel many years after crafting a body work including several definitive Punisher stories. The desire to collaborate with some familiar and new talent drove Grant's homecoming. "[Editor] Justin Gabrie, who was on the editorial team when I was doing PUNISHER for Marvel in the mid-90's, was always a dream to work with, so when he called and asked, I was there," notes the writer. "[Also] there was Gus Vasquez. I'd never heard of him but when Justin sent me his samples, I thought, 'I have to work with this guy.'" Additionally, the chance to write one of Marvel's biggest characters in the context of the current Marvel Universe proved too tempting to pass up. "I always liked writing Spider-Man, once I figured out how the character should be written," Grant recalls. "I'd also been reading the Civil War stories and had some questions of my own about them, and this story gave me the opportunity to pose some of those questions, and put my own spin on some of the philosophical quandaries left in the wake of [that story]."

Preview art by
Gus Vazquez

The writer found the ongoing conflict between Spidey and his former ally and mentor, Iron Man, to be of particular interest. "Our story is as much a conflict between Spider-Man and Iron Man as between Spider-Man and The Kingpin," he teases. Fans can see these conflicts unfold as well as witness the ultimate fate of Mary Jane on December 24 when WHAT IF? SPIDER-MAN: BACK IN BLACK hits stands. And to revisit the original "Back in Black", head over to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited! Check out the official Marvel Shop for everything Spider-Man!

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      Comments

      6 comments
      SilentmanX
      SilentmanX

      Haven't they done this already? Why not make a "What If" series of the Back in Black series like What if the shooter were to have missed? why can't they do that?

      Danya123
      Danya123

      I CAN'T FIND IT IN MARVEL DIGITAL COMICS!! HELP?

      SPNWareZ
      SPNWareZ

      I think tis will be very kewl.

      Nova1
      Nova1

      Not sure if I will get this What If...looks like it will be interesting, but for some reason I feel like I am not going to like the end of it.

      Unknown-X3
      Unknown-X3

      It could have been better a What If? series about OMD, but anyway...

      johnnysword
      johnnysword

      Why couldn't they have done this instead of OMD? It would have been SO much easier and it wouldn't have alienated [i] half[/i] of all ASM readers! If they had done this instead of the whole Mephisto thing, I would still be buying and reading Amazing Spider-man.