Heading up both titles, writer Nathan Edmondson kicks it off in BLACK WIDOW #9 and continues it in THE PUNISHER #9, spinning a story involving Crossbones and the Skull Squad and a race against the clock that may end both heroes’ missions forever.
Marvel.com: Nathan, how did the crossover come together?Nathan Edmondson: Both stories led us to a place where a crossover was possible at just about the same time. We knew fans were clamoring for it from the beginning, but we didn’t want to rush into it; when it was a natural time, we came up with a really unique way to launch into it.
Marvel.com: What kind of history do the Widow and Frank have before this? How do they feel about each other in general?
Nathan Edmondson: Frank and Natasha are a really interesting pair to combine together: on the one hand, they seem to exist in the same kind of heroic/antiheroic space in the Marvel Universe, but at some point the similarities stop and the disparity begins, and the tug and pull between those two ends will be at play here.
Both characters are so devoted to their “mission,” so hell-bent on their internal narrative that it will not be easy for them to identify what they have in common with one another.
Marvel.com: How will those individual missions both jibe and clash in this story? Is there much hope that they can truly work as a team?
Nathan Edmondson: Natasha is more of a team player than Frank, but Frank has arguably come to better terms with his past than has Natasha, so that’s where the interplay with them gets interesting. And yes, we’ll see a bit of a distinction between their tactics, for certain. Which makes working on both titles possible, really; I don’t think I could handle both characters if they were more similar.
Marvel.com: What happens to set up the events that bring about the crossover? What's Crossbones up to and what are the stakes?
Nathan Edmondson: I can’t reveal yet why Crossbones is involved here, because that comes charging right out of the two-part story we’re publishing with Kevin Maurer just preceding this. But I can say that both sides of the crossover continue to carry each character’s ongoing narrative forward. Natasha and Frank are both on a mission here, on a journey in their own books, and that journey leads them to the same place at the same time, and we encourage readers, for many issues after, to keep asking “why?"
Marvel.com: How will the two issues relate to one another? Are they chronologically, or is it one story told from two different vantage points?
Nathan Edmondson: Both issues take place at exactly the same time, beginning and ending at the same moment and progressing at the same pace. I think this will be a truly unique experience for readers to see the story from both sides. Which means, also, that readers will need to get both books to get the full experience of this mini-event!
Marvel.com: What's the greatest challenge for you as a writer to plot a "clock ticking" type story?
Nathan Edmondson: The biggest challenge is to be sure I get the story out before the clock runs out in the story! Which sounds silly, I’m sure, but you have to keep that story taut until the very last second, twisting it even tighter with each beat, and in this case, we had to do that simultaneously in both books in different ways, but in ways that complemented each book. Marvel.com: What can you say about artists Phil Noto and Mitch Gerads on the crossover?
Nathan Edmondson: They will share art to compare and make sure they’re both walking on the same path—or, well, boat, in this case—each step of the way. It’s going to be a fun challenge for them both, I think; it certainly was for me writing and rewriting and rewriting the issues. The payoff, though, is certain to be worth the effort. This is going to be fun!