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Omega Effect

Omega Effect Q&A: Mark Waid

The Daredevil writer talks about the upcoming crossover with Punisher and Spider-Man in the first of a two-part interview

By Jim Beard

The upcoming Omega Effect event spreads over three Marvel titles—AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #6, DAREDEVIL #11 and THE PUNISHER #10—this April and involves two writers at the top of their game: Mark Waid and Greg Rucka. In the tale, Spider-Man, Daredevil and The Punisher must scramble to stop the Marvel Universe’s leading crime organizations from securing the Omega Drive. What’s the Drive contain? Only enough information on each criminal cartel to blow the lid off of everything—and we do mean everything.

It’s a big story, one in which its three stars must find a way to work together or get out of each other’s way. We checked in with both writers to find out exactly what it’s like to coordinate the actions of Spider-Man, Daredevil, The Punisher and the biggest crime syndicates of the Marvel Universe, all in one massive event. First up: Mark Waid!

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #6 inked preview art by Marco Checchetto

Marvel.com: Mark, aside from you writing the DAREDEVIL issue of Omega Effect and Greg tackling THE PUNISHER, the two of you are going to be co-writing the AVENGING SPIDER-MAN kick-off issue?

Mark Waid: Exactly. We’ve basically, you know, along with editor Steve Wacker, sort of game plotted the three issues; and then the two of us, Greg and I together, sat down and outlined the thing, back and forth sort of outlining all three issues. And then when it came to the first issue of the cross-over in AVENGING SPIDER-MAN, we just thought it’d be fair and fun to split the workload where it was “you take this scene, I’ll take that scene.” We’ll throw it back and forth and we’ll work together to just bring it all together.

I can have some insight on Daredevil’s voice and certainly nobody knows Punisher the way Greg knows him. He certainly knows the character much better than I do; so you know there’s that trade off, back and forth.

Marvel.com: What does Greg do, in your opinion that no one else does as a writer? What’s the joy of working with a guy like him?

Mark Waid: There’s a real subtlety to what he does—which, in comics, a visual medium full of bomb blasts and explosions, is a very difficult thing to pull off well; because subtlety in comics generally closes out of town as they used to say. But, Greg has a way, a very economical way, of getting thoughts across with brief snippets of dialogue with a look of a character. He’s great communicating with his artists and he’s just a thinking man; he plots like nobody’s business. He asks questions about the story, trying to break it from the inside before he’s willing to put one letter down, one word down on the page. He wants to get in there and sort of try to exercise it and feel it out and, like I said, sort of break it from the inside to make sure it’s a plot, whereas I tend to be more seat of my pants, which is always a good denomination.

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #6 inked preview art by Marco Checchetto

Marvel.com: Do you think, with Greg, that it comes from him being a novelist?

Mark Waid: Yeah. He and I were talking about it recently. The idea that I have the luxury of writing things in 20-page installments and kind of hoping it will all come together in the long run. But, when he writes a novel, he’s got to know how it ends; he’s got to have a pretty decent outline before he even begins. I think he brings that same discipline to his comic works and I think it’s great.

Marvel.com: Some people tend to think of Spider-Man, Daredevil and Punisher as three faces of the same thing or maybe even “id, ego, and super ego.” Do you think of them like that?

Mark Waid: Yes, and I’ve said that before. There he is, Daredevil, and certainly as I’m writing him these days, he’s all about the hedonistic; his act first-think later, ask questions later attitude. And Punisher of course all that scheming and planning and thinking twelve steps ahead. Spider-Man is somewhere in the middle. Spider-Man is all about responsibility.

Marvel.com: On the surface, Peter, Matt and Frank don’t tend to get along. What do you think is going to be their common ground in Omega Effect?

Mark Waid: They really don’t get along, especially these days. Because Spider-Man in his own book [AMAZING SPIDER-MAN], which really is so well-written by Dan Slott, has made a very important vow that when he’s around, nobody dies. And that’s really hard to pull off with a character like Punisher around. And then Daredevil’s whole new “I’m going to smile when I do this, when I punch your lights out” attitude is sort of chafing Frank Castle the wrong way. So what brings them together is the Omega Drive. It’s that artifact that Daredevil has captured that has key information on it on all of the mega-crime families in the Marvel Universe and they’re all after it.

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #6 inked preview art by Marco Checchetto

So basically, at this point of the story, by the time we get to the crossover, the crime families are tired of trying to strike some sort of a treaty between themselves and they just decide that, you know what? It’s every man for himself. We’re all going to come after it and we don’t care that it’s going to create this gang war and that’s going to tear the world in half. We just won’t care. And Daredevil, Spider-Man, and Punisher, they all want it for a different reason. Daredevil will want to hang onto it because it’s his insurance, because as long as he’s got it, they can’t do anything to him, and they can’t do anything to his friends and co-workers. Spider-Man wants it because it’s just the right thing to do. You’ve got that information you should use it. And Punisher wants it for that same reason too, which is that he wants to use it, but he wants to use it in a much more “blood in the streets” way then Spider-Man would ever be happy with.

Marvel.com: How does Frank Castle even know about the Omega Drive? How does he come into the Omega Effect story?

Mark Waid: Without giving anything away, by the time we hit that point in the story, one of the crime families has been taken down by Matt and as a final parting shot, if you will, they make sure that if they go down, the rest of the criminals in the Marvel Universe know why. So basically, it’s like, okay, yeah, you took us down, but guess what? We just blew you into The Hand, we just blew you into everybody from the Zodiac to the [Circus of Crime]; we’ve blown you into everybody. So it’s a free-for-all across the Marvel Universe, as anybody who considers themselves a villain wants this thing.

Marvel.com: Speaking of these criminal groups, in the Marvel Universe how does an organization like the Secret Empire, for example rate against, say, Hydra?

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #6 cover by Steve McNiven

Mark Waid: Everybody has their specialty. I mean, Hydra’s specialty is strength in numbers and infiltration. A.I.M.’s big specialty is they make stuff that makes Reed Richards go “Wow, that’s pretty cool.” Black Spectre is a lot more of the shadows, as we’re going to see in the next few issues. And then the Secret Empire, they’ve got their hands on a lot of stuff that even Hydra doesn’t know about. Those are organizations that tend to work a little bit more under the radar. And then the fifth organization, Agencé Byzantine, the French organization, which is new to the book; their M.O. is going to be a big part of the next chapter of the story as well.

Marvel.com: Mark, overall, is there any aspect of Omega Effect that you’re really excited about and you’ve maybe been hoping someone will bring it up?

Mark Waid: How do I put this without giving anything away?

Marvel.com: Carefully?

Mark Waid: Yeah. It’s really exciting for me to see how the emotional heart of the story is something above and beyond all the things we’ve already spoken about. The emotional heart of the story has nothing to do with the Omega Drive. It has nothing to do with the villains; it has everything to do with Daredevil’s reaction to Frank Castle’s new accomplice/partner/what-have-you. Her name is Cole. And Daredevil’s attitude towards her is, well, I can’t save Frank Castle anymore, but maybe there’s hope for her.

Omega Effect teaser by Marco Checchetto

Marvel.com: We will definitely talk to Greg about that character, then. So, to wrap this up: the team-up in comic books used hold a higher place among fans and it was something that they looked forward to. In your opinion, what’s the status of team-ups in modern comics and with modern readers?

Mark Waid: It’s funny that you mention that. I agree. It is a little less super-special than it used to be, because I think we’ve seen so many of these characters in combination and it’s so easy to make crossovers now. There are so many heroes and villains it’s almost like they’re tripping over each other. That said, you know we have to work harder now to make sure that things like Omega Effect feel special. One of the ways we do it in this crossover is that we have the same artist, Marco Checchetto, drawing all three parts so it feels like one big story. It doesn’t feel like three separate chapters. It feels like an epic with a beginning. It feels like a big budget movie with Marco. He’s doing all three parts and they are phenomenal.

Come back next week as we speak with Greg Rucka in part two of this Omega Effect Q&A!

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