Marvel has announced (via Entertainment Weekly) a new Black Widow ongoing series in early 2016 from the creators of the recent Daredevil, Mark Waid and Chris Samnee. Described as "more old school spy" than previous Black Widow stories, the new series will tap into Natasha's long career in espionage.
"It’s spy craft and secrets and all of her pasts, and it all ties together in ways that it couldn’t be anything else," said Samnee.
Although EW credits Mark Waid as the sole writer, Samnee is said to be heavily involved in creating and developing the story -- in addition to drawing the series. That sometimes puts him at odds with himself, he admits, in adding certain story elements that can be more difficult to draw.
"[In the first issue] there’s a motorcycle, and a car, and a helicarrier, and all these things that are time intensive and all these things that I see in the script and go, 'Come on!'," laughed Samnee. "But when I sat down to come up with something to do, it was just, 'I want this to be as big as possible,' and these were the action pieces I wanted to see in a comic. You don’t see a lot of car chases in a comic, and I wanted to see if I could one-up what we did with Daredevil."
"I wanted the first issue to feel like an action movie, and there were certain things I had to get on paper, regardless," the artist continued. "Just trying to push myself out of a comfort zone and trying to make something that’s really fun and entertaining for people to read."
One of the first things Samnee and Waid are doing is developing a new villain for Natasha.
"I try to think of it as how we would do a creator-owned book, but we’re just doing it at Marvel with an established character," said Samnee. "I’m just having a ton of fun playing with an established character in a world we all know, but without any constraints. We can kind of do whatever. We’ve started coming up with a new Big Bad for Widow — she’s had a few big opponents over the years, but I think this is the biggest threat to her."
Putting Black Widow in a bad place -- and then charting her course to get out of it -- looks to be the main thrust for the two creators with Black Widow.
"What I always ask myself going into these things — and I ask Chris and we talk about it — is always, 'What’s the worst thing that could possibly happen to this character?' Because that tells you everything about them," said Waid. "That tells you what they’re made of, that tells you what you’re putting them up against, their greatest fears or greatest threat. It just makes it a real fight, and that’s what we talked about with this. And that’s kind of where we’re starting with this."
Waid and Samnee will be joined by their Daredevil colleagues Matthew Wilson on colors and Joe Caramagna on lettering. But narratively, Waid said Black Widow will be much different than what they've done before.
"Daredevil was narrated by Daredevil and we were very much inside Matt [Murdock]’s head the entire time. We’re very close to Daredevil as a person in this book, whereas with Natasha and the Black Widow book, it’s the opposite," the writer explained. "We don’t want to get a running narration of what’s happening in her head at every moment. We need her to be a little more distant and a little more removed, because that’s just who she is. She’s not open with her thoughts and her feelings. So it’s a whole different challenge with us. How do you tell emotional really intimate stories with these characters, without having that tool in our toolbox?"
Series editor Jake Thomas said Black Widow will be a book about secrecy, in terms of Natasha being a spy but also in terms of what the character withholds from the audience.
"This Natasha is all about her secrets, and she’s going to have secrets from the audience. We are going to be kept at a distance," Thomas said. "And it’s going to be Natasha as the spy, Natasha as the inscrutable figure, and because Waid and Samnee are very good at finding that different take, that thing that we haven’t quite seen before, I knew they would come in with something different and something fresh and they absolutely did. I think the story they’re putting together is stunning and is everything that I wanted. I’m thrilled to have these guys on this team."