Traditionally, Venom’s birth comes after Spider-Man finds out that his black suit is in fact a living, parasitic symbiote and rejects him, which scares the symbiote away and finds a more willful host in Eddie Brock. But in the tradition of Marvel’s What If? comics, Spider’s Shadow shows an alternate universe where Peter fails to part ways with the symbiote and instead becomes Venom himself. What happens when New York’s greatest hero becomes its mortal protector?
“I’m excited to kick off a new era of ‘WHAT’S’ stories with this story of a Spider-Man gone wrong!” Zdarsky said in the Marvel press release. “How bad will he be? Will he have a goatee and no hyphen in his name? Take number one to find out!”
Zdarsky continued, “But seriously, I think with SPIDER’S SHADOW we’re exploring dark situations with Spidey and the Marvel Universe, while also making it cool and fun to read. I think longtime fans go. love it and new readers will be amazed at what Marvel allows us to do. Pasqual and Matt are doing an amazing job on this book. When every page comes in I share it with all of my friends even though Marvel says I’m not allowed to do it. “
What is Marvel’s What if…? The Disney Plus animated series explained
While Zdarsky’s comments seem to imply that the series officially falls under the What If? banner, IGN has confirmed with Marvel that Spider’s Shadow is a standalone project and the What If? The name is simply used as a point of comparison. In fact, what if? # 4 has already explored a hypothetical scenario where Peter permanently bonds to the symbiote. But with Spider’s Shadow pointing to four issues rather than one, Zdarsky and Ferry will be able to explore this plot twist in more depth.
Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow # 1 is slated for release in April 2021. This is also the month Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman end their Venom run with the Venom anniversary special # 200.
Spider’s Shadow isn’t the only alternate universe saga Marvel fans can look forward to in 2021. The Marvel’s What If … will premiere on Disney + this summer, giving MCU fans a taste of various alternate realities in which Peggy Carter becomes Captain America and T’Challa becomes Star-Lord. Be sure to check out IGN’s full breakdown What to expect from Marvel in 2021.
Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by follow @jschedeen on Twitter.