Writer Mark Waid, artist Chris Samnee, colorist Matthew Wilson, and letterer Joe Caramagna will pick up Natasha Romanoff’s storyline roughly eight months after the previous series left off—but reading that series, which ended before Secret Wars, won’t be necessary for new fans.
The new creative team told Entertainment Weekly that events from the old series will only loosely affect the new story.
“[By] Marvel time, [it’s] at least eight months later,” Waid said. “It’s not the next day, anyway.”
“Especially in issue 2 in particular,” he continued, “we’re sort of spring boarding off of some of the previous events, but not so specifically that anyone should feel like they’re missing anything if they didn’t read the previous run.”
Samnee promised that they were coming up with “a new Big Bad” for Natasha to face off against—one they hope will be her greatest challenge yet.
Waid also mentioned a plot concern that will be familiar to fans of their run on Daredevil.
“What’s the worst thing that could possibly happen to this character?” Because that tells you everything about them. 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.
This statement might raise concerns that the creators will use sexual assault or the threat of sexual assault to victimize Black Widow—a trope so frequently used in comics that it’s become a controversy linked to the idea of “fridging” female characters. But fans most likely won’t have to worry about this from Waid and Samnee; their run of Daredevil gained considerable critical acclaim and was particularly praised for its lack of reliance on sexist and misogynistic tropes.
So what might a character like Black Widow fear most? Given her long and troubling history as an orphan taken in and brainwashed by Soviet intelligence, anything dredging up her past would hit her in a vulnerable spot. Might she face off against another member of the original Soviet “black widow” team, like her previous fight in the comics against Yelena Belova? Better yet, what about having her fight against someone she loves, like Hawkeye or Daredevil?
Samnee was exciting about the freedom he felt with the new series. He compared it to “how we would do a creator-owned book, but we’re just doing it at Marvel with an established character.”
“I’m just having a ton of fun playing with an established character in a world we all know, but without any constraints,” Samnee said. “I wanted the first issue to feel like an action movie.”
October is gearing up to be a big month for Black Widow and her fans. In addition to the announcement of the series, Marvel released more hip-hop variant covers today, including one featuring Black Widow and paying homage to Missy Elliot’s famous Supa Dupa Fly album cover.
In addition, the famous double agent is getting her own young-adult novel, Black Widow: Forever Red, written by Margaret Stohl, the co-author of the bestselling young-adult series Beautiful Creatures, which Lionsgate adapted into a 2013 film.
The book will explore an unusual moment in Natasha’s story, as she befriends a Brooklyn teenager named Ana Orlova who falls unexpectedly into Natasha’s life. The novel will explore Natasha’s backstory and take fans on a journey into her past—quite literally, as the novel spends part of its time in Eastern Europe.
“Getting to write the first Black Widow novel has probably been the greatest honor of my life, honestly,” Stohl confessed to Entertainment Weekly in an interview earlier this week.
Fans can pick up the novel on Oct. 13. The new comic starts in early 2016.
Photo via Comic Book Resources