Just because two people fight the same thing doesn’t mean they’re on the same side. This August, Marvel’s The Punisher and Black Widow comic series cross over in a quick one-two push of a story titled “Friend From Foe.” This story, taking place in each series’ ninth issue, finds Marvel’s foremost gun-toting heroes stuck on an abandoned oil tanker and on the trail of a mystery; they’re not alone however, as Crossbones and his Skull Squad are on deck and trigger-happy. Nathan Edmondson, writer of both series, describes this two-part arc as one story told from two perspectives, with the clock ticking as the boat they’re on is set to explode.
Newsarama: Nathan, what is bringing the Punisher and Black Widow together here?
Nathan Edmondson: Both are on journeys that have led them to the same place at the same time. Pure chance. And yet it’s a crossing that will affect both of their journeys.
Nrama: As taken from the solicitations, Crossbones versus the Punisher seems like a natural pairing, just with their shared skull insignias. But what does Crossbones and his Skull Squad bring out in Frank and Natasha?
Edmondson: We’ve seen Punisher against Crossbones in the previous issues (which Kevin Maurer co-wrote with me). Bringing in Crossbones was Kevin’s idea, but it did feel right and natural for Punisher, and we carry all of that forward a bit. The real villain for both Black Widow and Punisher in these crossover issues, however, is time.
Nrama: And what about Frank and Natasha and their connections. They both carry guns, but have a different set of goals it seems. What do they think of each other?
Edmondson: Their motivations and internal dialogue and moral codes are very different, though they both are on similar paths, though they wouldn’t admit it. They both might travel from point a to point b, too, but how they make that journey is very different. Black Widow sees Punisher as someone unfocused, uncontrolled, and purposeless; but Punisher would see Black Widow as an emotionally-driven “corporate gal” in a sense. They don’t have time or use or patience for one another, really.
Nrama: Black Widow does a lot of travelling, but The Punisher for the most part has taken place in Los Angeles. Is that where this crossover will take place?
Edmondson: All I can say about the crossover now is that it takes place primarily on a ship.
Nrama:You've writer of both of these two characters' solo series; has this crossover been in the works since the beginning, or something that's came about since?
Edmondson: The rough idea was in the works since the beginning, but we weren’t in a rush for it. We waited until the stories were both ripe for it, and when both books would have devoted followings that would seek out the other side of the story —and readers will really want to see both sides...