‘Superior Spider-Man’: Christos Gage Introduces a Cosmic-Powered Spidey
Talking Terrax and SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN with writer Christos Gage
The Superior Spider-Man has found himself challenged before but never as much physically as in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #2, available now. Forced to face down Terrax for the safety of San Francisco and the wider Earth, Otto Octavius quickly discovered that even his spider-enhanced abilities could only keep him going toe-to-toe with the former herald of Galactus for so long.
However, when all seemed lost, Dr. Anna Maria Marconi and the Night Shift delivered one of his inventions to him. In the resulting tussle, the Superior Spider-Man found himself with yet another upgrade: cosmic power.
Marvel.com chatted with SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN writer Christos Gage to discuss how the fight with Terrax echoes Spidey conflicts of yore, Otto’s feelings towards another villainous doctor, his relationship to the Night Shift, and so much more.
Marvel.com: What about Terrax appealed to you as a villain for Otto? How, if at all, do you see it fitting in with the legacy of Peter Parker's cosmic conflicts like, say, Firelord?
Christos Gage: Well, if I'm honest, the battle between Pete and Firelord was very much in my mind when writing this story. I loved it when I read it as a kid. Spidey went up against an enemy vastly more powerful than himself, but he just wouldn't give up, and that's one of the qualities that defines him as a hero and a person.
I wanted to see how Otto Octavius would handle such a situation. And Terrax, who is incredibly powerful and also clearly a villain—whereas Firelord is more an anti-hero—seemed like the ideal antagonist.
Marvel.com: Otto namechecks Doctor Doom and compares his solution in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #2 to a previous machine Doom made. How do you see the Superior Spidey feelings on Doom? Do you see him experience with heroics having changed that opinion of Doom at all?
Christos Gage: Even as a hero, Otto is very sensitive and competitive about his intelligence. He would have an intense rivalry, at least in his own mind, with Doctor Doom about who is smarter. That's why I think he'd cling to the fact that Doom dropped out of college while he, Otto, has multiple degrees, and view that as a badge of honor (and superiority).
Marvel.com: Otto's internal narration has been a very interesting aspect of the book so far. There is a sort of removed clinical nature to the evaluation of his injuries that we see slowly become more personal as the issue continues. From a stylistic perspective, how did you arrive at that being the right tone for Otto's internal "voice”?
Christos Gage: Nick Lowe, our editor, was a big influence on that. It was meant to indicate that the more battered and beaten he gets, the more the impassive scientist is stripped away. Sort of showing what a toll the battle is taking on him.
Marvel.com: There is an understandable chaos to issue #2, but Hawthorne also makes the art stay close and intimate. How has the collaboration been progressing? How do your approaches complement and inform one another's approach to the book?
Christos Gage: I think we're having fun, which is the most important thing.
Mike, Wade, Jordie, Clayton, and our editors are doing amazing work, and it makes me want to up my game. I feel like, in the best sense, we are feeding off each other's work, which is the best kind of collaboration—when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. For example, the Night Shift weren't supposed to be as big a part of the book as they've become, but Mike, Wade and Jordie did such an amazing job bringing them to life, I couldn't resist using them more. And Anna—they convey her strength as a person perfectly.
Knock wood, it just keeps getting better from a collaborative standpoint.
Marvel.com: Dr. Anna Maria Marconi has gotten swept up in Otto's wake and become involved in this conflict. She is obviously very angry at him but motivated to save San Francisco and the world. However, as anyone who has gone through a break-up knows, feelings afterward are rarely cut-and-dry. Will we have a chance to continue to see her internal struggle with processing of what Otto did and how she feels about him?
Christos Gage: Yes. And there's a big development with Anna next issue. I knew I didn't want them to get back together romantically, but I wanted her to be a huge part of the book, and I wanted her to be the person who doesn't let Otto get away with anything. It's a relationship/partnership I love writing...and one that carries a lot of risk for both parties.
Marvel.com: The Night Shift took it on the chin this issue and fled. However, soon thereafter they helped get Otto the cosmic energy device. What is the state of their relationship at this juncture? Any fallout from them running that we may see?
Christos Gage: I adore the Night Shift and so does Mike, so they'll be around. I could write Digger all day long. Part of the fun is that Otto doesn't trust them, and they would sell him out in a heartbeat if they thought it would benefit them. So I don't think anyone came away from it with hurt feelings. It is what it is.
Like when you have a friend who always eats all your food when they come over—at some point you have to either stop inviting them over or, if you're getting enough out of the friendship in other ways, just accept that if they get a chance, they're going to eat all your food.
Marvel.com: Tease, if you would, Issue #3 (on sale February 27). What should fans look for from the Cosmic Superior Spider-Man and Terrax's throwdown?
Christos Gage: Cosmic action. A decisive winner. And the status quo for the future of the series being set. Plus, hopefully, a twist at the end that'll make you go hmm...
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