Marvel fans may be getting excited about the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming, but Marvel Animation has plans for the web-slinger too! In a recent interview with CBR, Marvel Animation Vice President Steve Wacker revealed that the next plot to be adapted for animation will be a tremendous arc known as "Spider-Island"!
What Is "Spider-Island"?
Back in 2011, Dan Slott — who's still writing Amazing Spider-Man to this day — launched an exciting event known as "Spider-Island". In a smart riff on the classic 'power and responsibility' concept, Slott unveiled a world where everyone in Manhattan was developing Spider-powers. Peter Parker was no longer unusual, and he soon learned that there were dark forces behind the developing Spider-creatures.
"Spider-Island" was actually the work of the Jackal, and, in a clever nod to various 'mutation' arcs we've seen over the years, the Jackal's actual plan was to have every human in Manhattan mutate into spider-creatures. Then, they could come under the thrall of the Queen, a powerful old Captain America villain he'd allied with.
Dan Slott is a genius when it comes to the long game, and "Spider-Island" picked up on major elements of the new status quo he'd developed. Horizon Labs, a science company Peter Parker was working with, played a major role; Eddie Brock's Anti-Venom was an essential part of the story; and Slott enjoyed hinting at possible renewed romance between Peter and Mary-Jane. Mary-Jane, for her part, was both the last to develop spider-powers, and the last to lose them, giving her a new understanding of Peter's life.
The Challenge — and the Potential!
Now, let's be clear; adapting "Spider-Island" isn't going to be easy. The event was launched off the back of Dan Slott's new status quo, which included Horizon Labs and J. Jonah Jameson's time as Mayor of New York City! #Marvel's challenge will be to adapt this story without it becoming too confusing for new viewers — especially since most modern Spider-Man animations have focused in on the idea of a teenage Spider-Man!
But "Spider-Island" is definitely a challenge worth embracing. The event shines a unique light upon Peter Parker's character; what is it that truly makes him a hero? There's a wonderful scene where Peter stands up and rallies New York's new spider-people around him, leading them against spider-powered criminals. In that scene, we see Peter Parker as he truly is; a man who won't just stand back, a man who won't watch from the shadows, a hero who can't help getting involved. This was one of the most powerful moments in the last few years' worth of Spider-stories, and for this scene alone "Spider-Island" deserves to be adapted.
More than that, though, "Spider-Island" is also a very rare thing among Spider-Man adventures; it's that story where, at the end, Spider-Man truly triumphs — and the whole world knows it. Even J. Jonah Jameson can't help but admit that Spider-Man is the one who saved the day in "Spider-Island", and at the very end the citizens of New York light the Empire State Building up red-and-blue in Spider-Man's honor. Spider-Man stories are often bittersweet at their ending, with the webhead winning but the world looking at him with disgust. We all know the famous Daily Bugle headlines: "Threat or Menace?" "Spider-Island" is almost unique in that it ends with a moment of true celebration, as the whole of New York unites around Spider-Man. At a time when the United States is politically divided, this is a very powerful story to tell.
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As far as this spider-fan is concerned, "Spider-Island" is a smart move for Marvel Animation. The event is a powerful, memorable one, with strong themes and concepts that meant he arc really resonated with readers. It shines a unique light on Peter Parker's character, exploring the hero not in terms of his powers, but in terms of his character. And it also gave us a unique opportunity to see how the supporting characters of Spider-Man's world would themselves handle the questions of power and responsibility.
Are you excited about a "Spider-Island" animation?
(Source: CBR; Poll Image Credit: Marvel Comics)