Marvel Announces New Black Widow Series from Entire (All Male) Daredevil Team
Black Widow has been missing so far from Marvel’s All-New, All-Different lineup, but with good reason! According to Entertainment Weekly, Marvel will be debuting Black Widow #1, from the entire creative team of the recently-ended Daredevil series (writer Mark Waid, artist Chris Samnee, colorist Matthew Wilson, and letterer Joe Caramagna) in early 2016.
Waid explained to EW that the new series will be both its own story and a continuation of some of the themes fans saw in Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto’s run:
It’s similar to way we approached Daredevil, in that we’re not picking up specifically from the end of the previous issue or specifically from any one moment. But we’re acknowledging that, and making use of the fact that what happened in the previous series happened, and using some of that stuff as a springboard. And it is, by Marvel time, at least eight months later. It’s not the next day, anyway. Especially in issue 2 in particular, we’re sort of spring boarding off of some of the previous events, but not so specifically that anyone should feel like they’re missing anything if they didn’t read the previous run.
Samnee also told EW what fans can expect tonally from the run:
I started work on Widow a week after I finished Daredevil. It’s my love letter to Gerry Conway and Gene Colan in a way, but also we’re doing the absolute worst things possible to Widow. But I think that’s kind of what you have to do — kill your darlings. If I didn’t love her so much, I wouldn’t give her such a hard time. She gets beat down, but the great thing about Widow is that she always gets back up. And I think we’re going to see that for at least a year: getting beat down and getting back up on top. I’m looking forward to dragging Widow through the dirt.
When asked by EW what it felt like to go from writing Natasha as a tangential character in Daredevil to having her as his #1 focus, Waid went on to say,
It’s a much trickier situation, because Daredevil was a very internal book. Daredevil was narrated by Daredevil and we were very much inside Matt [Murdock]’s head the entire time. We’re very close to Daredevil as a person in this book, whereas with Natasha and the Black Widow book, it’s the opposite. We don’t want to get a running narration of what’s happening in her head at every moment. We need her to be a little more distant and a little more removed, because that’s just who she is. She’s not open with her thoughts and her feelings. So it’s a whole different challenge with us. How do you tell emotional really intimate stories with these characters, without having that tool in our toolbox?
Although I love Waid and Samnee’s work, it’s still jarring to say the least that no women are on the newly-announced team. Marvel editor Jake Thomas explained to EW how he selected Waid for the series:
I remember I had inherited Black Widow from [former editor] Ellie Pyle, and when she passed the reigns over to me, I knew that the end was coming for that arc. We had the Final Days story right before Secret Wars, and I talked with Nathan Edmondson a lot about how we were going to wrap that series up. And his last two issues came to such a beautiful end that I thought, we really need to start over after this. There’s gotta be a new fresh take on this, because I think Nathan really captured it here. So we were searching around, trying to figure out what we were going to do with Black Widow, and there were a bunch of options on the table. And then I sort of heard someone mention, “Hey, I think Mark might be interested.” As soon as I heard that, for me, all the other options were off the table. This is perfect. Because I think what we like to talk about with our books, particularly when we’re transitioning them, is the idea that all characters exist on a pendulum. And they go from one side to another, but they always sort of come back to the center — that’s where they live, that’s their truth. One creative team will take them one direction and another creative team takes them in another, but they spin around that center. I thought Mark would be a great answer to Nathan when you look over the long life of Widow, what the next great sort of swing for her pendulum was.
It’s reassuring as a reader to know writing Widow was a dream of Waid’s, but it’s important to point out that the gender divide in comics often doesn’t allow for women to be assigned passion projects in the way Thomas describes above. When just getting a foot in the door is significantly harder for women at Marvel than it is for men, we’re less likely to have the luxury of making our interests in a project known and then landing it via word of mouth.
What do you think of this news, gang?
—Please make note of The Mary Sue’s general comment policy.—