We Have Our New Spider-Man—So Which Villain Will He Fight First?

Greetings, my pencil pals! Sorry about last week’s missing column; as it turns out I managed to catch a Mutant Deathvirus (mild infection) from the Radioactive Biker Crocodiles of Texas (air travel). I was basically unconscious all last week. But I’m up now, and rarin’ to answer some of your letters (earn my paycheck)!

There Goes the Neighborhood


Dear Mr Postman,

now that Marvel/Sony has cast Tom Holland as the new Spider-Man and named a director for the solo flick, the question remains: which bad guy do you pick?

Mysterio and/or Kraven seem like the only obvious choices, but so much of bad guy selection has to do with what kind of story the filmmakers want to tell, and so much of THAT will be dictated by the way Marvel wants Spider-Man to fit into their already-running movie universe.

Black Cat and some kind of mob connection like Hammerhead could serve as side characters/antagonists, but i really hope the studio doesn’t overdo it on villains.

anyhoo, Rob, you’re a pretty cool dude, and i’d be curious to know your thoughts. i mean... i’d be curious to know your reflection on these things that already happened because you’re in the future or something? whatever... just nerd out about Spider-Man/Avengers speculation with me, please?


Easily and happily done. So Marvel has said that this new Spider-Man movie won’t be an origin story (thank god), so Spidey will have technically been around at least a little bit when he shows up in Captain America: Civil War and the first new Spider-Man movie. I think we can safely guess that since Sony felt the Amazing Spider-Man franchise was such a mess that they were forced to hand the Spider-keys over to Marvel, Green Goblin will be off the board (as will Lizard and Electro, not that they were major contenders to come back). So all that said, here are my predictions for the movie’s villain:

3-1: Venom. Marvel and Sony are going to want to make a splash, and pitting Spidey against his best-known villain seems like the obvious choice. They’ll drop the alien origin—they’ll probably even do away with Spider-Man wearing the black suit at all, given how Spider-Man 3 went down—and turn Venom into a scientifically created symbiote made by somebody (maybe Alistair Smythe? Miles Warren?) to kill Spider-Man. This also sets up a potential Venom movie spin-off nicely, which Sony has wanted for years.


6-1: The Sinister Six. Having Spider-Man face six of his foes at once wouldn’t just reinvigorate audiences who might be feeling Spider-fatgue, but would also be away to reintroduce new versions of Spidey’s rogues gallery without getting bogged down with introducing them separately. I say it’s less likely than Venom, though, because I think Marvel/Sony will want to reboot the Spider-Man movie franchise more simply.

10-1: Doctor Octopus. In the grand tradition of giving people what they liked once, it seems pretty reasonable that Marvel/Sony would try to recreate the acclaim of Spider-Man 2, the best of all Spider-movies, by bringing back (but recasting) that villain. I still think they’ll go for the wow factor of Venom, but I think the odds of the them trotting Otto Octavius out for round 2 is much greater than Mysterio or Kraven getting their chance in the spotlight.



Old Friends


Dear Mr. Postal Apocalypse Man,

Thank you for all your hard work. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of nuclear fallout stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” eh? Fine job. I was just wondering how Han Solo is going to go over in the upcoming Star Wars expansion, seeing as how (going by actors’ ages) Han will be ten years older in Episode VII than Obi Wan was in Episode IV? Remember Han saying, “Where did you dig up that old fossil?” He was talking about Obi Wan. Han’s gonna have some irony to face, for sure, but how will a geriatric space pirate go down with the true believers?


My initial reaction was that it was going to be very, very sad watching elderly Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia on-screen in The Force Awakens, partially because of their advanced age, partially because of the trauma of watching Harrison Ford try to hustle around in Indiana Jones 4. Because that definitely made me sad.

But I don’t know, man. Seeing Han Solo and Chewbacca in the last trailer, saying the perfect line—“We’re home!”—hell, I tear up a little literally thinking about it now. It’s entirely possible that I (and everyone else) will be so goddamned overjoyed to see Han, Luke and Leia back on-screen that nothing else will matter. It all depends on the movie—will it turn them into the older, wiser generation a la Ben Kenobi, or it try to portray them as the young action heroes they once were but definitely no longer are? I don’t know. But I do have hope.



Too Super for TV

Bernel N.:

Dear Rob,

So, Superman exists in the new Supergirl TV series, but it appears he will just be like the behind-the-scenes “Mother” character in How I Met Your Mother?. Which got me asking: why is it okay for DC/WB to allow two different live-action Barry Allens (one for TV, and another for film) existing at the same time, but they are not okay for Batman or Superman to have an actual TV counterpart (not just a kid Bruce Wayne, or a background Superman)?


Batman movies have historically made a ton of money, and DC/WB doesn’t want a Batman TV show to compete or possibly interfere with the massive profits of the film franchise. Since the comic movie renaissance, DC/WB knows Superman movies can do the same, which is why we could have a Lois & Clark TV series in the ‘90s, but Superman can show his actual face in a TV show about his cousin.

Look, this doesn’t really make sense, but it’s how the studio thinks. Featuring regular Batman and Superman on TV could adversely affect the movies. But seeing the back of Superman’s head on Supergirl? Fine. Showing Li’l Bruce Wayne slice bread in Gotham? Also fine.


Other characters like Flash, Green Arrow, even Wonder Woman, don’t have that same cache. So people can make (or try to make) TV shows based on them, and if they work, hey, maybe WB will make a movie out of them—but with a new star and script because obviously the TV show couldn’t possibly be worthy of being a movie.

It’ll all super weird. But it’s the only possible answer. That said, if Superman finally gets properly introduced in the last season of Supergirl then dies off-screen in the last episode, I will never stop laughing.


Dead and Marginally Enjoying It

Eric S.:

If you died and became a ghost, but then your body was raised as a zombie, could you possess your own corpse and continue on as yourself, albeit a rapidly decaying version of yourself?

Asking for a friend.


If you’ve managed to become a ghost and as a ghost you have an ability to possesses people’s bodies and if your body has been raised from the undead, I see absolutely zero reason why you couldn’t reinstall yourself.

There’s actually a decent term for this specific monster—a revenant. It’s an undead creature, but it’s not a mindless monster; it’s controlled by the same spirit it contained when it was alive. I guess you could quibble that if the spirit never left the body, even after it died, it might technically not be a ghost, but that’s just a detail to me. It’s still the spirit of a person living on, controlling his former body.


Nota Bene: In DC’s Blackest Night, the ghost hero Deadman tried to possess his corpse, but was kicked out. However, this was likely due to his body not being a normal zombie, but animated by crazy Black Power Ring death magic. So I still say yes.

White Out

Stephen S.:

This morning, whilst eating my Rice Krispies (do they have those in the future?), I was thinking about the anger that rears its head whenever it is suggested that a person of colour take on the role of an originally caucasian superhero character. Then I started thinking about one of the most egregious examples of whitewashing in history. And this thought occurred to me:

Which would cause the greatest amount of uproar? A major studio film featuring Peter Parker played by an actor of colour, or a major studio film featuring Jesus Christ played by an actor of colour? I’m sure that we can assume that a Venn diagram of comic book fans and Christians will have some crossover, so I’m not suggesting that the two groups would be mutually exclusive. But given the racism that has been emerging from canon obsessed comic book fans, and the racism that is exhibited by more fundamentally inclined Christians, I’m curious which would be met with more anger and vitriol.


Spider-Man, no doubt about it.

Look how so many people have lost their minds about… well, virtually every bit of diversity that has been added to pop culture entertainment in the last five years. The low stakes somehow results in the shrillest, loudest freak-outs as people who feel threatened when people try to bring gender and race equality to fictional characters. Case in point: When Donald Glover merely mentioned that he’d like to play Spider-Man. This completely untrue supposition made the internet explode with prejudice garbage for months. Currently, there’s a live-action show on Adult Swim called Black Jesus starring, well, a black Jesus. There are of course a few smaller religious groups who are losing their minds about it, but they’re few and far between. Nothing like the thousands of racist nerds who climbed online to make sure their favorite superhero whose skin is never actually exposed in his outfit stayed lilly-white underneath.


Beside, Jesus has actual history going in that we’ve been portrayed a Middle-Eastern Jew as a white dude for millennia. If for some reason a great Asian actor like Ken Watanabe was cast as Jesus in a movie, some people would freak out, but then we could all give them a look like this:

…and remind them that we’ve been representing a Middle-Eastern Jew as a white hippie for millennia, so we can’t really get upset if someone else does it, too.


Pass Times

Adam H.:

So these new Justice League shorts that are leading up to the new DCAU movie Gods and Monsters. What are your thoughts?

Female exploitation dress. Batman a vampire. Superman kills. You hate it right? Given your track record it seems like something you would hate. Or are you giving it a pass because its an “Alternate Universe”? Do “Alternate Universes” get free passes?


Alternate Universes get a free pass. They’re not in canon, so they can do whatever they want. Batman can be a vampire. Superman can kill people. Batman can carry guns. Superman can be born in Russia. The whole point of alternate universes is to present new versions of their characters to explore different ideas and themes, I’m not thrilled with Wonder Woman’s—hmm, it’s bigger than a boob window; let’s call it a cleavage garage—because that’s not really exploring an idea or theme, obviously.

I’m not saying you don’t have room to explore new things in canonical stories; far from it. Hell, I’m not exactly sold on Commissioner Gordon piloting a Bat-mecha in the current Batman comics, but it’s different and I can appreciate it. But a few characters have a few such intrinsic qualities that to change them means, effectively, you’re writing about a totally different character. If that’s a wacky Justice League on Earth-458 or something, that doesn’t bother me.


Do you have questions about anything scifi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related? Email the postman@io9.com! No question too difficult, no question too dumb! Obviously!

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