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Marvel Legacy: Spider-Man goes back to basics, Venom becomes a protector

Writer Dan Slott and artist Mark Bagley tease their respective characters’ futures

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This fall will see the launch of Marvel Legacy, a new initiative by the world-famous comic publisher to return many of its famous characters to core principles — and, along with it, the comics’ original numbering. Marvel has gone through a few different initiatives in recent years that relaunched series with new number-one issues — Marvel NOW! in 2012, with All-New All-Different Marvel following a couple years later in the wake of Secret Wars. But this new numbering will tie Marvel’s books back to its predecessors and the long-running history of Marvel.

Legacy, however, will drill heroes back down to what their fans love about them. Recent years have seen much experimentation with status quo — Peter Parker became a tech billionaire, Steve Rogers became a Hydra agent, and so on. Legacy, by contrast, will see heroes like Spider-Man go back to what they do best, while still looking ahead to the future.

EW can exclusively reveal the Legacy covers for Amazing Spider-Man #789 (which reverts back to this classic numbering after September) and Venom #155 (which already went back to original numbering in May to celebrate issue #150). That Amazing Spider-Man issue will begin the “Fall of Parker” storyline, in which Peter returns to The Daily Bugle in a mysterious capacity following the disappearance of Parker Industries, while Venom begins the “Lethal Protector” story that will pit everyone’s favorite symbiote against fellow Spider-villains like Kraven the Hunter.

EW talked to Amazing writer Dan Slott and Venom artist Mark Bagley about what they have in store for their characters under Legacy‘s brand-new day. Look for both issues to hit stands this October, and look for another Marvel Legacy post to hit EW.com later on Friday…

Marvel Comics

Amazing Spider-Man #789
Dan Slott (writer), Stuart Immonen (artist), Alex Ross (cover artist)

“Fall of Parker”

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Marvel Legacy seems to be bringing Marvel characters down to their core aspects. Peter Parker’s gone through a lot of changes in recent years, from his time of possession by Doc Ock to his recent stint as head of Parker Industries. How does Legacy bring him back to earth?
DAN SLOTT: This is a Peter Parker who’s had it all, lost it all, and now has to find his place in the world again. It’s a return to the scrappy underdog status that’s the Peter Parker we all know and love. We’re going to see a return to form, with old friends coming back onto the stage, some in all-new ways. It’s all been leading to this — from Big Time, to Superior, through Spider-Verse, and the Parker Industries era. It’s been a crazy ride, but now that we’re here, we’re going to get a Peter/Spider-Man that’s closer to a core Spidey than we’ve had in years. Everything counts. Payoffs for longtime readers are coming, but the Marvel Legacy of it all will also make this a great jump on point for new readers — or people who’ve just discovered Spider-Man in Homecoming.

It sounds like Peter will be involved with The Daily Bugle again after some time away. What role does the Bugle fill in his life?
In Amazing Spider-Man we’re going to see The Daily Bugle and the Bugle cast come back in a big way. And, no, it is NOT about Peter becoming a photographer again. It’s a new twist. It’s something we haven’t seen in Amazing Spider-Man yet. After 55 years, that’s a pretty cool trick, right? And it’s a development I’ve been dying to get to for a long time!

You’ve worked on Spider-Man for a while now. How has your relationship to the character changed over that time?
Since I was 8 years old, Spider-Man wasn’t just my favorite super hero, he was my favorite character in all fiction. That hasn’t changed. It’s just now I’m the guy stacking the deck against the poor schlub. Every year, every issue, every panel it’s my job to find new ways to test him, to knock him down. And it’s always worth it because nobody gets back up like Spider-Man. And when he gets back up, we all do.

Between this, Chip Zdarsky and Adam Kubert’s new Spider-book, new cartoons, and of course Spider-Man: Homecoming, this feels like a great time to be a Spider-fan. What will hungry fans get out of Amazing going forward?
Couldn’t agree more! Chip and Adam on Spectacular, the Miles Morales, Ben Reilly, and Spider-Gwen books, the new Disney XD Spider-Man cartoon, Homecoming — this is a golden era for Spidey fans! Over on Amazing, we’re going to be serving up everything you love about Spider-Man, all the quips and thwips! There’ll be big adventure, soap opera twists, the craziest villains, the greatest supporting cast, and you’ll be getting it gorgeously penciled by Stuart Immonen, inked by Wade von Grawbadger, and colored by Marte Gracia — the best damn art team in all of comics! Plus, don’t forget, when Legacy kicks off, Amazing Spider-Man goes back to its original numbering. And that number is #789. Amazing Spider-Man #1 kicked off in 1963. This book has been charting Peter Parker’s destiny all that time, and the countdown to Amazing Spider-Man #800 is starting now. The ride from here on out is going to be epic! And the payoff is going to be huge!

Marvel Comics

Venom #155
Mike Costa (writer), Mark Bagley (artist/cover artist)
“Lethal Protector”

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’ve been drawing Venom for awhile now — I particularly remember your depictions of him back in Ultimate Spider-Man. What have you learned about drawing such a unique-looking character in that time?
MARK BAGLEY: The “regular” Marvel version of Venom is actually a much different character than the Ultimate version of Venom. Venom in the regular Marvel universe is very much the prototypical archnemesis antagonist we’ve come to know in superhero literature, with a mind and a purpose driving him. The Ultimate Venom was really meant to be more of a monster than a super villain and the way I portrayed him in those stories was meant to reflect that. I was really thinking of him as a huge cancerous/tumorous creature which is why I had masses and random rows of teeth growing all over him.

Venom’s teeth/tongue/muscles are sometimes exaggerated to ridiculous proportions, but on the cover for #155 he looks relatively restrained. What’s the key to striking that balance? Does his appearance coincide with his mindset?
Venom’s more exaggerated look, the huge muscles, massive fanged jaws, and that amazing tongue, really evolved over the years from artist to artist. With the Legacy stories I think Marvel really wanted to rein that in quite a bit. Bring Eddie Brock/Venom back to his roots, so to speak. But the tongue and more monstrous aspects of his look aren’t gone for good. Instead, they are going to be used thematically as more of a visual cue to reflect the symbiote’s mental state.