J.J. Abrams Just Introduced a Massive Change to Spider-Man Comics
The following post contains SPOILERS for Spider-Man #1 by J.J. Abrams and Henry Abrams.
For the first time, J.J. Abrams has written a comic book. Spider-Man #1, which is on sale today at comic stores and online, was created by Abrams with his son Henry Abrams, and illustrated by Sara Pichelli (the co-creator of Miles Morales). It was mostly sold on the strength of its impressive creative team. The early preview pages and plot description talked only in vague terms about Spidey fighting a new villain named “Cadaverous.” But in typical J.J. Abrams mystery box fashion, that’s really just the first few pages of a story that sets up a huge new change to the world of Spider-Man. (Again, we’re about to get into SPOILERS, so if you want to read the story fresh, go buy it — you can purchase a digital copy on your phone or iPad right now).
It turns out that most of Spider-Man #1 is set 12 years after the fight with Cadaverous — where Peter loses an arm and Mary Jane is killed — leaving Peter a single father of a young boy named Ben. Yep, Spider-Man is now a dad.
The story picks up 12 years later, with Ben in high school, and basically in the role of Peter Parker when he was a teenager: Defending kids from bullies, feeling like an outsider, not knowing how to talk to girls, living with his Aunt May. (Peter is still around, but he spends most of his time traveling for work.) Ben is just starting to develop spider powers of his own as this first issue ends.
Spider-Man has been a dad in comics before; a long-running series called Spider-Girl imagined a daughter of Peter Parker named May fighting crime in the future. Another recent book called Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows imagined Peter, MJ, and another daughter named Annie working together as a mini team of superheroes. But he’s never had a son — and none of those books were ever part of mainstream continuity.
It remains to be seen how, if at all, Marvel will try to connect this Spider-Man with the rest of his monthly comics adventures. Either way, there are five more issues of J.J. and Henry Abrams’ Spider-Man, and probably a few more mysteries to unravel along the way. (Like who, exactly, is the “other guy” Peter and Mary Jane are talking about in the comic’s first few pages. Could it be Peter’s famous clone, Ben Reilly? Or is this “Peter” actually Ben Reilly? Those kinds of twists would be right up J.J. Abrams’ alley too.)
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