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San Diego Comic-Con 2009

SDCC 2009: Black Widow: Deadly Origin

Explore the beginnings of the Marvel Universe's deadliest little spider in a new limited series by Paul Cornell & Tom Raney

By Kevin Mahadeo

Starting this November, writer Paul Cornell teams with artist Tom Raney to trap readers in a web of intrigue by weaving together a story filled with action, suspense and seduction in BLACK WIDOW: DEADLY ORIGIN, a four-issue limited series exploring the long history of the Marvel Universe's sexy Russian super soldier.

"Fans will be seeing every aspect of the history of the character, [beginning] from the night she was born in 1928," explains Cornell. "We'll be visiting all the different interactions she's had with Marvel characters over the years, from Tony Stark to Matt Murdock to Bucky to Hercules. There's something from the past out to get those she was close to, and so we flash back to a number of past situations."

Cornell first experienced the Widow's bite on the beach as a young man in the pages of THE CHAMPIONS, as the seaside towns near his home sold Marvel titles different from those acquirable at his usual hometown spots. When Marvel editor Bill Rosemann approached Cornell about the new limited series, the British scribe saw a chance to "do something very satisfying: a high octane spy story with a lot of heart."

"Natalia has been the greatest intelligence officer of the last five decades, at least, and can disarm people with her sheer reputation," says Cornell. "I think characters [that] stay young and remain in training, picking up martial arts moves as they go, for longer than a normal human

BLACK WIDOW: DEADLY ORIGIN preview art by Tom Raney
lifespan start being genuinely overpowering beings. I think she could go head-to-head with Steve Rogers on that basis. Here's someone who was an equal partner with the Son of Zeus, who led the Avengers. The series is about her affect on everyone she's ever cared about, the dimensions of 'the Widow's curse,' which turns out to be very real, but she's not defined by the men in her life. Actually, they are, to a great extent, defined by her."

A fan of "everything we saw having happened actually happening," Cornell plans on untangling the twisted threads of the character's history, which has experienced some changes and reconfigurations over the years, throughout the course of the spy-oriented story, fitting together the pieces her various origins into one cohesive tapestry. Cornell also says for readers to expect romance as well action in the title considering many a men have fallen to the Widow's sultry sting over the years, including the current Captain America, Bucky Barnes.

As for what he personally likes about the character, Cornell admits to really enjoying Black Widow's comedic side, which he describes as very dry and cynical-albeit sometimes misunderstood-due to her long life and various experiences, and her varying sense of style.

"I was blown away by Frank Miller's short-haired Natalia [in DAREDEVIL]," says Cornell. "It was one of those moments in comics where I just went with the change immediately, because they new costume and look was so brilliant. But I also love the way she looks now in CAPTAIN AMERICA, so we'll be going with that for the modern scenes [in the limited series]."

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      ...it is not because the up-coming 'Iron Man' movie ?you sware ?