Spider-Man and the X-Men are now caught up in a Dark Web.
No, not the wild and weird part of the Internet that has become the stuff of urban legend nightmares.
In this case, Dark Web is a comic book crossover bringing together Spidey and Marvel's merry mutants as they face the combined threat of two former allies turned enemies who both also happen to be clones: Ben Reilly/Chasm, a clone of Peter Parker, and Madelyne Pryor/Goblin Queen, a clone of Jean Grey.
You can see a trailer for the event above.
And as of Amazing Spider-Man #14, Dark Web is officially underway, with the villainous pairing having now been solidified, along with the introduction of the new villain Hallow's Eve.
If you're already scratching your head wondering how Ben Reilly, the former Scarlet Spider and Spider-Man, went from being a hero to a villain known as Chasm, we're one step ahead of you (and we'll be sure to give you the TL: DR recap as well).
See, Dark Web has been building in both the Spider-Man and X-Men franchises for some time, with current Amazing Spider-Man writer Zeb Wells having made the leap from the X-Men title Hellions while sowing the seeds for Dark Web along the way.
So we'll break down everything we know, and what you need to know now that Dark Web is underway.
What is Dark Web?
Dark Web is a crossover between Spider-Man and the X-Men that kicked off in November 23's Amazing Spider-Man #14. Written by Zeb Wells, it'll consist of a core story in the Amazing Spider-Man title, which will crossover into tie-in titles including limited series, one-shots, and the Venom ongoing title, as well as possibly other ongoing titles.
As for the story of the crossover, it all revolves around Ben Reilly and Madelyne Pryor, two clones who are former allies of Spider-Man and the X-Men, respectively, looking to get revenge for the way their progenitors have treated them.
Along with Spider-Man and the current X-Men team (consisting of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Sync, Forge, Havok, Magik, Iceman, and Firestar), Peter Parker's ex Mary Jane Watson will play a role in the story, as well as a brand new villain named Hallow's Eve, who is secretly Ben Reilly's girlfriend Janine Godbe imbued with demonic power.
Notice that Iceman and Firestar, who '80s kids will remember as Spider-Man's so-called 'Amazing Friends' from the classic animated series Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends will appear, meaning there's a reunion for the cast of the classic cartoon coming.
The crossover started with a prelude in November 2's Venom #13, in which Eddie Brock has an encounter with Madelyne Pryor, who may become an unlikely ally. November 23's Amazing Spider-Man #14 also serves as a prelude issue, reintroducing Chasm and catching readers up with exactly what he and the Goblin Queen have been busy with.
Then, the event proper will kick off in a one-shot titled Dark Web #1 (sub-titled 'Dusk') in December, written by Zeb Wells with art by Adam Kubert, and a wraparound cover from Ryan Stegman, seen above, which shows off the story's core cast.
Several other tie-in titles have been announced for Dark Web, with the first starring Peter Parker's arch-enemy Norman Osborn taking on the apparently heroic mantle of the Gold Goblin in his own limited series. Similarly, after the event, Norman's grandson Normie Osborn will get a Red Goblin title spinning out of Venom's portion of Dark Web.
In terms of the event itself, Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan, will also get her own Dark Web tie-in limited series, consisting of three issues, while Mary Jane Watson will get a co-starring role in the tie-in title Mary Jane and Black Cat, which also runs for three issues.
The whole event will be capped off with a Dark Web Finale ('Dawn') one-shot, with the previously mentioned Red Goblin title and a Hallow's Eve solo title each spinning out of the story's conclusion.
Marvel has released a checklist showing the order and contents of the event, seen above.
What happens in Dark Web?
Before we get into the exact details of Dark Web, here's what we know about the villains.
The villainous team-up between Ben Reilly/Chasm and Madelyne Pryor/Goblin Queen was revealed in Marvel's Spider-Man/X-Men: Free Comic Book Day 2022 one-shot, which showed the pair observing Spider-Man.
But the roots of their team-up start before that. In Ben Reilly's case, his transformation into Chasm occurred at the end of the recent 'Spider-Man Beyond' story, in which he temporarily replaced Peter Parker as Spider-Man.
At the story's end, Ben was engulfed in a kind of matter-altering goo that transformed him into Chasm, imbuing him with new powers that have yet to be fully explored. The transformation also drove him to villainy, with his now-fractured mind focusing on getting revenge on Peter Parker for his perceived mistreatment.
Madelyne Pryor's history as a villain goes back further, to the '80s, when she was introduced as a new love interest for Cyclops of the X-Men when his longtime love Jean Grey was presumed dead.
When Jean returned through the power of the Phoenix Force, Madelyne was revealed as a clone. She became embroiled with demonic magic, taking on the infernal identity of the Goblin Queen in the classic story X-Men: Inferno (the '80s one, not the 2021 title which borrowed its name).
Madelyne was also presumed dead but returned to life in the finale of the recent Hellions title when she was resurrected through the power of the mutant Resurrection Protocols, which allow any mutant to be brought back to life. Her on-again-off-again relationship with Cyclops' brother Havok will almost certainly come into play in the story, as Havok is part of the current X-Men roster.
Now with Amazing Spider-Man #14 officially on the books, we know that Ben Reilly and Madelyne Pryor have a plan to capture the souls of Peter Parker and Jean Grey, which the two clones believe will make them the one and only "real" versions of the people from who they were cloned.
To do so, Chasm will lead an army of demonic minions from Goblin Queen's realm of Limbo into Manhattan, similar to the events of the '80s X-Men story Inferno with a Spider-Man twist.
We'll keep you posted on all the Dark Web updates you need to know as they happen.