Spider-Man has a new woman in his life.
Peter Parker learns that he apparently has a sister in Spider-Man: Family Business, one of Marvel Comics’ new line of original graphic novels debuting April 2, 2014. The revelation sends the superhero on a tale of international intrigue from New York City to Monte Carlo to Cairo to a host of European destinations.
Mark Waid, one of a revolving team of Spidey writers on Amazing Spider-Man from 2009-10, signed on for Family Business because he wanted the chance to do something with gravitas and in a long-form graphic novel.
“The format was as much of the appeal as the character was,” says Waid, the Daredevil series scribe who is co-writing with James Robinson (Earth 2) and teaming with artist Gabriele Dell’otto (Secret War). His paints are “just gorgeous and give it dimension to the characters that I don’t think I’ve seen before.”
In Family Business, the Kingpin is organizing a large crime syndicate and it’s Peter Parker, not Spider-Man, who finds himself under attack, Waid says. The ruthless supervillain has “finally decided to expand his criminal empire on a global scale — if Spidey can’t stop him.”
But before Peter can figure out who’s after him, a mysterious woman in a convertible screeches to a halt in front of him, and she tells him she’s his long-lost sister, Teresa. The two of them never knew anything about each other, but Peter hops in the car anyway to get the bottom of the situation.
“The story is moving at such a breakneck speed that there’s not much of a chance to catch a breath,” Waid says. “He has every reason to be skeptical about who this woman is and who she says she is.”
About this new character, the writer describes her as “the anti-Peter. She’s got it all together, she’s smooth as silk. She’s Modesty Blaise.”
Along the way, there will be insight into Teresa as well as more about Peter’s CIA parents, Richard and Mary Parker, and their deaths that orphaned Peter and put him in the care of his Uncle Ben and Aunt May.
“It seems very bizarre to him that Aunt May never mentioned anything about this woman, who’s about his age and the resemblance is there,” Waid explains. “Peter wants to try to figure out what this mystery is all about but basically they’re running from a crime syndicate out to kill them both throughout the novel, so there’s not a whole lot of time for Spider-Man to sit and relax and slowly suss this out.”
Some longtime Spider-Man rogues such as Cyclone and Rhino guest-star, yet Waid has a lot of human moments in store, too, since Family Business is as much a Peter Parker story as a Spidey one.
“It really is a focus on Peter drafted into the spy James Bond-ish, super-secret-agent life that his parents left,” Waid says. “It’s always fun to put Peter Parker in situations where he’s in over his head.”
Recent years have focused on Peter Parker’s present issues, dealings with supervillains and relationship with Mary Jane Watson, Aunt May and other supporting cast, but hasn’t dipped much into the mysteries of his parents.
“Peter is generally most interesting when he’s as ordinary as possible, except for the spider bite. There’s the one freakish thing that happened to him,” Waid says. “One of the reasons we haven’t explored a lot of untold secrets behind his lineage is the danger is obviously there to make it a little too convoluted and take away the everyman aspect of Peter.
“If you were to reveal that his parents were really Skrulls or reveal that Aunt May was really his mother and not his aunt, if you try to pull something like that it feels like you’re pulling the rug out from the ordinary Joe that Peter is. We’ve successfully sidestepped this in this graphic novel.”
Family Business is also set before Marvel’s current Superior Spider-Man series, where arch enemy Doctor Octopus has taken over Peter’s body, to make it a “a little more outside-audience friendly,” Waid says.
“If most people are asked on the street who Spider-Man is, they may know Peter Parker. We dodge continuity that way to make it a little more timeless.”
Source: USA Today
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