Comic-Con2013: “Darkest Hours” Await “Superior Spider-Man”

(CBR) Flash Thompson, the title character of Marvel Comics’ “Venom” ongoing series had a rough life growing up. The physical and emotional abuse he suffered at the hands of his alcoholic father lead to him tormenting others like his school mate Peter Parker. Ironically though, Peter’s alter ego Spider-Man was one of the big bright spots in Flash’s life. The actions of Spidey inspired him and made Flash feel like he could be a better person and help others.

Now a super hero himself as the latest host of the alien Venom symbiote, Flash still looks to his childhood hero for inspiration. The only problem is Spider-Man is no longer the childhood hero Flash remembers. The consciousness of Spidey’s old foe Doctor Octopus has taken over Peter Parker’s body and is using it to conduct his own ruthless and egotistical brand of crime fighting as the Superior Spider-Man.

So what will happen When Agent Venom, who currently resides in Philadelphia, comes face to face with Spider-Man? And what will happen when Doc Ock’s new life as Peter Parker is interrupted by the man who used to bully Peter? Writer Dan Slott and artist Humberto Ramos will begin to answer those questions and more in November when they kick off “Darkest Hours,” a new arc of “Superior Spider-Man” that brings Agent Venom to New York City for a face to face confrontation with Spider-Man. Comic Book Resources spoke with Slott about the arc, which was announced yesterday at the “Marvel Superior Spider-Man” panel at Comic Con International in San Diego.

CBR News: “Darkest Hours” doesn’t start until November, but what do you want fans to know about the “Superior Spider-Man” stories that lead up to it?

Dan Slott: One of the things that we’re doing in “Superior Spider-Man” is that in every arc major developments happen, they keep ramping up, building to something. That doesn’t stop in the Spidey 2099 arc. There’s a big shakeup that really affects the supporting cast, the world of Spider-Man, and the world of the Marvel Universe. Something happens in this time traveling tale involving Spider-Man 2099 that will have a lasting effect on the Marvel U as we know it and will have massive fall out for the Spider-Man supporting cast.

Then the two issues that follow, an arc that features art by Giuseppe Camuncoli which we know from the solicits involves the Black Cat, is filled with heart break. The stuff that happens in the issues before really changes up the landscape of the Marvel U and the Spider-Man cast, but this story gets to the heart, and something that will have a lasting effect.

Also in issue #20, the first part of that, there are so many seeds that are sewn for the future and that’s on top of the fallout from everything that happened in issues #17-19. When people see the opening pages of that issue they’re going to freak. I’m expecting people to be completely blindsided by “Superior Spider-Man” #20. They’ll be like “WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED HERE?” Secrets will be revealed, threats for the future will emerge, and when you add that to the stuff that’s going on in the present it’s a key issue. Then “Darkest Hours” begins in issue #22 and bam! We go right into Venom after all of that.

Let’s talk a little bit more about the character of Venom. You made Flash the new Venom host during your “Amazing Spider-Man” run and he was part of your “Spider-Island” storyline. A lot has happened to the character since then though. Which of Flash’s recent developments do you find most interesting?

I really liked his move to Philadelphia. It allowed him to set up his own place and be his own thing. We are bringing him back to New York for this story though.

Can you hint at what “Darkest Hours” is all about? Or perhaps what sets it in motion?

The biggest tease I can give you is that we have worked long and hard to keep these two characters apart. Even when they were both on different Avengers teams and those teams were together in a room these guys were kept away from each other. Spider-Man really hasn’t interacted with Agent Venom. They met up in early issues of “Venom,” but that was when he was all symbiot-ed out and looking like classic Venom.

So these two guys have been kept apart for a long time, and this is the big payoff. We’re finally bringing them together for a throw down. To make it even worse it’s not the Peter Parker Spider-Man. It’s Doc Ock as Spider-Man! This could be brutal! Flash Thompson is Spider-Man’s biggest fan, but this isn’t that Spider-Man.

Is “Darkest Hours” primarily a story about the conflict and relationship between Spider-Man and Venom? Or will we get some scenes with Flash and the man he believes to be Peter Parker as well?

You’ll have to wait and see, but I will say this, where we see Otto/Peter at the beginning of issue #22 is a really big and interesting place for the character. It’s something we’ve never really seen before in the past 50 years of a Spider-Man comic.

What can you tell us about the points of view in “Darkest Hours?” Will we see things primarily from Otto’s perspective? Or will we get Flash’s point of view as well?

That would be telling.

Fair enough. Let’s move to a subject you might able to talk a little more about, the work of artist Humberto Ramos. What do you feel he brings to “Darkest Hours” as an artist? I believe he’s a huge fan of the symbiote characters. Is that correct?

He has so much love for those characters. So he’s chomping at the bit to do this story. This is a chance for Humberto to go crazy and have symbiote-fun. Remember, he’s the first artist to do a full adventure of Flash Thompson as Venom. So he’s really excited to get another crack at the character.

It sounds like you have Humberto ready to unleash the full fury of the Venom symbiote in “Darkest Hours.” Can you offer up any final teases about the scope or tone of the story?

Things are going to get a lot darker in the world of Spider-Man.