|CHRIS SAMNEE & MARK WAID
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DF Interview: The Black Widow becomes Public Enemy No. 1 in Chris Samnee & Mark Waid’s new series
By Byron Brewer
She is the Marvel Universe’s most dangerous super-spy. Capable of hunting her targets with lethal precision. But what happens when the hunter … becomes the hunted? This week, the Black Widow becomes SHIELD’s MOST WANTED! And it’s all happening in Black Widow #1 – the brand new series from the Eisner Award-winning Daredevil creative team. Writer Mark Waid, artist Chris Samnee, colorist Matt Wilson and letterer Joe Caramagna re-team for the next explosive chapter in Natasha’s life!
Want to know more? So did we, so your DF detectives sat down with Messrs. Samnee and Waid and put it to ‘em!
Dynamic Forces: Guys, how does it feel to have the entire Eisner Award-winning bunch from a celebrated stint on Daredevil re-team for this latest chapter in Natasha’s life?
Mark Waid: Terrific. We asked to stay together as a team, and Marvel gracefully obliged. And I love where we’re going.
Chris Samnee: I wouldn’t have it any other way! [We’re] family now. It’ll be terrible when one of us decides to jump out of this cozy little nest we’ve built together.
DF: Chris and Mark, you are credited as co-creators on the book. Can you tell us a little about how that process works?
MW: Plot-wise, this is far more of a collaboration than with Daredevil. Chris and I have talked about the overall direction and, each month, get together on the phone and throw some story beats back and forth, then do the same with a written plot synopsis -- but it’s up to Chris to dive deep into the tale and do the real storytelling, after which I do the dialogue. We’re in touch every step of the way, but he’s doing more of the heavy lifting!
CS: That’s actually a pretty thorough description of our process. We sorted out the overarching plot at the onset of the series and nowadays we get on the phone and chat out what beats are needed for each issue and then I go in and make all choices as to how to pace out the issue (pages per scene, layouts, pacing and rough dialogue to give everyone an idea of the mood of the scene) in the thumbnail layouts stage and then Mark comes back in once inks are wrapped and makes it complete by adding final dialogue.
DF: Tell us about the tone of this new Black Widow book. Natasha has known so many lives: villain, spy, Avenger, Champion, etc. What’s the focus of these stories, what is the atmosphere?
MW: The focus is on Natasha out in the cold -- not only divorced from all her allies, but a wanted woman by a growing number of organizations in the Marvel Universe. She has some very dangerous secrets and her new villain, the Weeping Lion, is threatening to expose them and blow the entire M.U. wide open.
CS: Beyond that, it’s also exactly the globetrotting adventure romp that feels like the perfect palette cleanser for us after a few years relegated to Hell’s Kitchen and San Francisco with ol’ Hornhead.
DF: Let me get this straight: From the Widow’s perspective these days, SHIELD is the big-bad? Will we see any of the TV SHIELD guys in these pages?
MW: We hadn’t planned on it -- but now that you’ve asked, that’s not a bad idea!
CS: Nat may be at odds with SHIELD, but they’re nothing compared to the true big bad of this series.
DF: Any new characters we might want to watch out for? Or perhaps old flames rekindled?
MW: We’ll meet several new characters -- one who’s a SHIELD agent with a massive grudge against Widow, and more than one who taught Natasha all she knows about spycraft.
CS: And maybe one that fits the bill in both categories.
DF: Chris, artistically what has been the biggest challenge for you when it comes to planning for this book?
CS: Artistically I'm just trying to push myself to do the best work possible with the time available each month, but that's the challenge every month. The big challenge is actually on the writing end as I try to stretch my storytelling skills and help to make a thrilling tale that's worth the reader's hard-earned cash each month alongside wonderful creators like Mark, Matt, Joe and under the watchful eyes of Jake and Kathleen.
DF: Natasha is sort of unique among Marvel heroes in that she really has no powers, just skills. Is this an angle we will see in the new series?
MW: Yes -- but that hardly makes her less formidable a foe!
CS: Nat is one of the deadliest, best trained, most skilled characters in the whole of the Marvel U. I'd put her toe to toe with just about any villain. Super or otherwise. And yes, we'll definitely see that side of Nat, it's front and center.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Chris Samnee and Mark Waid for taking time out of their busy schedules to answer our questions. Black Widow #1 arrives in stores today, March 2nd!
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