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All-New Marvel NOW!

Understanding Black Widow Pt. 1

Writer Nathan Edmondson speaks on what motivates the super spy supreme of the Marvel Universe!

Black Widow #1 cover by Phil Noto

By Tim O’Shea

Writer Nathan Edmondson’s grasp of what makes Marvel’s foremost spy tick ensures that readers will be in for quite a journey from the start in the All New Marvel NOW! series BLACK WIDOW. In the first of a two-part interview, he reveals how the Avengers’ “silenced pistol” confronts her dark past, which threatens to impact her present.

Marvel.com: In our first interview, you made it clear that Natasha will be confronting her dark past in BLACK WIDOW; can you hint at some of what she will revisit?

Nathan Edmondson: About all I can tell you is that the shadows in her past are dark and deep and they are reaching out for her. We will learn some things about them eventually, but keep in mind she’s a master spy: her secrets stay in the dark. When the book opens, though, we’ll be plenty busy with her present and all the action that entails.

Marvel.com: Speaking of her past, will you delve into some of the training she received to make her the one-of-a-kind spy/assassin that she is?

Black Widow #2 cover by Phil Noto

Nathan Edmondson: Where she came from is just as much a secret to the world as is who she was—and even, to a degree, who she is. Which isn’t to say it will always be a secret, but you want to know how the threads in Natasha’s web of secrets connect, you’ll have to earn it.  

Marvel.com: In preparing to shape this series, has there been any moment that you now realize was key to getting inside the head of Black Widow?

Nathan Edmondson: That’s a good question. I’m not sure I can point to any one thing.  For me so much of the inspiration rushed in when I saw [artist] Phil [Noto’s] first concept sketches. I got it. It clicked. She was perfect. The book made sense. And we were off to the races.  

Marvel.com: Unlike many Marvel heroes, Black Widow has a criminal history, although her crimes were in the pursuit of someone else's agenda, rather than to satisfy her own goals. Is that past something she will be confronting in the present? 

Black Widow #3 cover by Phil Noto

Nathan Edmondson: She confronts it with every breath, every time she wakes up. Dark, deep memories don’t fade too easily, and there are real pains, real scars in the world with her fingerprints on them, and she has to deal with those, too. She does this in passive ways, subtly, secretly, using a “web,” a network, and in much, much more active ways.  

Marvel.com: Compared to someone such as Captain America, whose heroic pursuits at times have been used in the Marvel Universe to boost the country's morale/rally the troops, Widow is the opposite—as a spy she works in the shadows and no one knows much of what she has done. Does it ever bother her that she puts her life on the line and rarely gets any public recognition?

Nathan Edmondson: It is precisely because she is this shadow warrior that she is important—no, vital—to the Avengers. Psychologically, the shadows are her cross to bear, her exile for her past. If the Avengers are a weapon for good, then Cap and Stark and Hulk are the heavy artillery—but Natasha is the silenced pistol, the knife blade. She slips in behind enemy lines, she is the deceiver, she learns the secrets—all of these tasks are impossible if you’re in the spotlight.

Hear more from Nathan Edmondson tomorrow, check out our All-New Marvel NOW! event page for the latest news and more, and get ready for BLACK WIDOW #1 coming January 8!

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