By Marc Strom
Who says a villain can't change his spots?
While the Spot has never posed much of a threat to your Friendly Neighborhood Wallcrawler in the past, all that changes as he makes his return in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #589 on March 25, courtesy of writer Fred Van Lente and artist Paulo Siqueira.
Van Lente couldn't spill too much of that issue's plot, but he would offer up the circumstances that bring the villain back into Spidey's life.
"As much as we cleverly tried to disguise it on that cover, the Spot returns to menace everyone's favorite Wallcrawler this March," the writer jokes. "Spider-Man is hot on the trail of a Russian mob boss when the Spot shows up, apparently trying to kill this same guy, putting Spidey in the awkward position of defending this gangster at all costs.
"But is there more to it than that, and more to the Spot's mysterious transformation into a cold-blooded killer? Read AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #589 to find out!"
As for that transformation, Van Lente says that making the Spot into a viable threat for the Webhead, despite his more lightweight portrayal in the past, didn't prove all that much of a challenge.
"Considering he can pop up behind you wherever he wants, whenever he wants, the Spot is somebody any normal person would be scared witless of, regardless of how much of a goofball he is," Van Lente elaborates. "All that's really holding the Spot back in terms of being an utterly terrifying opponent is his own personal limits on what he's willing to do with his abilities. And in this story, as I alluded to before, he loses much of those inhibitions. So look out, world. You have a nearly unstoppable assassin on your hands. And look out, Spidey, too!"
This upcoming story marks the second time Van Lente has tackled the Spot after SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP: M.O.D.O.K.'S 11, but the writer took a slightly different angle with the character this time around.
"The mandate from Spider-God Steve Wacker was to rethink the Spot and make him less of a joke and more of a formidable member of Spidey's Rogues Gallery," Van Lente remembers. "Which was
surprisingly simple to do. We made two important decisions—one a design change, the other a dialogue thing—that did the bulk of the heavy lifting in that regard. I'd rather not reveal what those elements are before people read the story, but I think they're pretty cool and work really well."
Though he utilized the character once before, Van Lente reveals that he didn't always have such an attachment to the villain.
"The characters in M.O.D.O.K.'S 11 were all chosen by me—and M.O.D.O.K., I guess—to serve specific functions in this spectacular super-heist," Van Lente recollects. "So I needed a teleporter. Originally I wanted to use Sidewinder, I think, but that was when the approach was much more serious, with A-List villains like Sabretooth and the like.
"Then we took a left turn somewhere and we ended up using...well, I guess the polite way of putting it would be less accomplished villains, so I replaced Sidewinder with the Spot, and quickly fell in love with the character and his potential."
The Spot's appearance in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN won't mark the last time Van Lente will get his hands on the character, either.
#589 cover by
"Why, funny you should say that, I am in fact writing a story with the Spot in it right now as we speak," the writer teases.
Van Lente will also return to the Wallcrawler's corner of the Marvel Universe before too long.
"First up will be the DARK REIGN: MISTER NEGATIVE limited series that launches in June, in which the Hood tries to yank control of Chinatown away from Brand New Day's most formidable bad guy. Expect the streets to run with blood as all-out gang war breaks out between the two, with Spidey caught in the middle!"
Drop into Spidey's life with the Spot in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #589 on March 25. And enjoy SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP: M.O.D.O.K. on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!
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