Spider-Man’s not the only hero who knows how to spin a web: classic Marvel femme fatale Black Widow is spinning a web in the upcoming mini-series Black Widow: Deadly Origin. Originally created by Stan Lee, Don Rico, and Don Heck back in 1964, she has been one of the most popular female characters in Marvel history, with several limited series of her own and co-star status in such books as The Avengers and Daredevil.
In recent years, she’s become a larger part of the Marvel Universe as a member of the original Mighty Avengers title, and now as the partner of Bucky Barnes as he fills out the role of Captain America in his titular title. In this upcoming mini-series Black Widow: Deadly Origin, writer Paul Cornell (Captain Britain & the MI-13, Dark Reign: Young Avengers) tells a story that pits former Russian super-spy against a foe who knows her layered past and is using it against her. Cornell is joined by veteran comic artist Tom Raney, who is fresh off the Dark Reign: Hawkeye mini-series.
Newsarama recently talked with writer Paul Cornell for more on this new Marvel mini-series which is scheduled to debut this November.
Newsarama: Paul, it’s good to talk to you again. I just received word about the upcoming miniseries Black Widow: Deadly Origin; what can you tell us about it?
Paul Cornell: It's a high tech, high power thriller, the nature of which, something from Natalia's past reaching out to hurt those closest to her, allows us flashbacks to all the different facets of her past.
NRAMA: The Black Widow is known to keep good company – partnering with Daredevil, Hawkeye and now Captain America, and being members of several superhero teams. Besides Natalia herself, will we be seeing any other familiar faces in this book?
PC: Loads, because she's been involved with loads: Logan; the Winter Soldier; Clint Barton; Tony Stark; Matt Murdock, even Hercules. This plot involves something trying to hurt everyone she's ever been close to. And it shows how she hasn't been defined by any of these guys: to a great extent, their lives have revolved around her.
NRAMA: Black Widow's been a lot of things to a lot of people - soviet spy, S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Avenger, friend, lover and foe. How would you describe her as a character?
PC: She's been the greatest intelligence officer in the world for five decades, during which she's stayed young and fit, and kept learning martial arts moves. She's got this enormous reputation. She was an equal partner with the son of Zeus. She's also got this morbid sense of humor that I really like.
NRAMA: Sounds right up your alley.
With the title of this being 'Deadly Origin', that made me look back to previous tellings of her origin -- and I see a few different versions of it. What can you tell us about this book's ties to the past origins of Natalia?
PC: My policy as always is: it all happened. And it's not too hard to square it all. We won't be ticking continuity boxes, but we will offhandedly show how one thing moves into another. Natalia was born in 1928, so there's a lot of ground to cover here.
NRAMA: My mind harkens back to the classic Uncanny X-Men issue with Wolverine, Captain America and Natalia.
You mention there being a lot of ‘ground to cover’, so will we be seeing Black Widow from beginning to end, or more in a flashback sense?
PC: It'll mostly be a modern spy thriller, with flashbacks to various aspect of Natalia's past.
NRAMA: When I first heard about this book, I thought about possible connections to the character's appearance in the upcoming movie Iron Man 2. What brought on this miniseries, behind-the-scenes wise?
PC: As far as I'm aware, the movie motivated moving the character more to the front rank of Marvel characters. To anyone coming to the character for the first time, hopefully the style will reflect the action and high tech hedonism they found in the movie.
NRAMA: Lastly, we can’t go without talking about your artistic partner on this: Tom Raney. His last big project was the Dark Reign: Hawkeye series with Andy Diggle, so he’s been on a roll here. What’s it like with him on your side?
PC: It's been an absolute pleasure to see Tom's work on this so far. He's a great artist for this, because he does glamour and action without doing cheesecake.