By Kevin Mahadeo
Another soul finds himself helplessly caught in the Widow's web on September 22: novelist Duane Swierczynski, who takes the writing reins on Natasha Romanoff's eponymous series alongside artist Manuel Garcia beginning with BLACK WIDOW #6.
A longtime staple of the Marvel Universe cast of characters, the super sexy super spy gained her own ongoing series earlier this year following her blockbuster big screen debut in "Iron Man 2." Although the character first appeared as a
Swierczynski's first arc, "Kiss or Kill," features the Widow attempting to clear her name after a journalists suspects her of murdering his father, a high-powered senator. In the midst of crafting his Marvel Universe espionage tale, the author talked about his plans for the series, his upcoming crossover with HAWKEYE & MOCKINGBIRD and the world's deadliest lip lock.
Marvel.com: Before we get into everything, I heard something pretty interesting about your love of Black Widow. You actually based a character in one of your novels after her? Molly from "Severance Package"?
BLACK WIDOW #6 cover by Travel Foreman
Duane Swierczynski: Yes. In part. I was a big fan of Greg Rucka's and Devin Grayson's run on the character from 10 years ago and had Natasha in mind when I was writing about Molly, a secretary-turned-killer spy in "Severance." The big nod is Molly's bracelets, in which she hides all kinds of crazy devices.
Marvel.com: What about Black Widow appeals to you both as a writer and as a fan?
Duane Swierczynski: This might sound weird, but I think it's great fun to watch people who are very, very good at their jobs. Some of my favorite characters are top-notch professionals, be they hit men, cops, bank robbers or spies, and Black Widow fits right in that tradition. And what's especially fun is watching these pros reach their breaking points.
Marvel.com: When new writers take over a character, they usually have their own take on how they see them and plan to write them. But with Black Widow, most writers seem to all agree on how to approach her. What do you think are the qualities that make Black Widow who she is? Why do you think she's usually so universally understood by so many creators?
Duane Swierczynski: Everyone knows that you approach Black Widow very, very carefully. Never, ever sneak up on her. But she's resourceful. Smart. Sexy. And most compelling of all, she's fighting on the side of the angels. You can't help but admire someone like that.
Marvel.com: Of course Natasha knows how to kick major butt, but she's also extremely intelligent and doesn't need to always throw a punch to win a fight. How will you be approaching her in the combat aspect? Also, as it's a spy story, can readers be expecting her to employ some gadgets
here and there?
BLACK WIDOW #7 cover by Travel Foreman
Duane Swierczynski: I think Black Widow is more about brains than brawn, but sometimes brains are all you need in a combat situation. And yes, there will be gadgets. I love gadgets, especially ones disguised as everyday objects. I read a lot of websites like Wired's Danger Room, which is full of pieces on real-life military/spy gear. So many crazy weapons and devices exist in the real world thanks to our tax dollars.
Marvel.com: Your first arc, "Kiss or Kill," teams Natasha with a journalist, Nick Crane. What can you say about this story and how Crane plays into it?
Duane Swierczynski: Nick Crane is a young journalist who blames a mysterious "woman in black" for the death of his father, a vice-presidential candidate. And he believes this "woman in black" is none other than Black Widow.
Marvel.com: What other characters can readers expect to see in this first arc?
Duane Swierczynski: There are some surprise appearances in the arc, but surprises are half the fun of a spy story. You're going to have to shoot me up with sodium pentathol to get anything else out of me.
Marvel.com: Natasha currently shares a relationship with the current Captain America. Spy stories, as action-packed as they are, are usually known for a bit of romance. Do you plan on incorporating her relationship with Bucky into the title at all, even beyond the first arc?
Duane Swierczynski: Mayyyyyyyybe.
Marvel.com: What can you say about working with artist Manuel Garcia? What does he bring to the table in both the action sequences and how he approaches Natasha?
BLACK WIDOW #8 cover by Travel Foreman
Duane Swierczynski: Manuel's art is amazing-kinetic, expressive and always inventive.
Marvel.com: What can you say about what you have planned beyond the first arc of the title? What sort of villains do you plan on putting Black Widow up against?
Duane Swierczynski: Well, right after this first arc, I'm launching into a crossover with [writer] Jim McCann's HAWKEYE & MOCKINGBIRD. Someone's dressing up in a Ronin suit and taking out/neutralizing spies left and right. Spies are the eyes and ears of the world; clearly someone wants the world temporarily blind and deaf. But for what? As for villains, well, in spy fiction, sometimes your greatest enemy turns out to be masquerading as your closest ally.
Marvel.com: As a final question, what would you do if you ran into the Black Widow? Kiss or kill?
Duane Swierczynski: If I went for a kiss, it'd be a battle to see who'd kill me first: Natasha, or my wife.
Still, it might be worth going for that kiss.
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