Black Widow is easily one of Marvel's most intriguing books at the moment, and things are only going to get better with a new arc starting in Black Widow #7, and more importantly, the introduction of a brand new villain. Natasha's thrown down with the deadliest villains in the Marvel Universe, but her newest foe, named Apogee, is something alltogether different, and we can exclusively reveal a new look at the villain and some thoughts from Thompson about Widow's new arc and the new character created by her and artist Elena Casagrande, and you can check out the new images starting on the next slide.
Marvel's rogue's gallery is pretty stacked, so we wanted to know the biggest challenge when crafting a new villain in general and the most challenging aspect of that process specifically related to making that character a villain for Widow.
"Well, I think you really want a design that pops, that you can put on a cover and people will be excited and intrigued by, but a lot of that falls more on my artist than on me, so it’s a bit of a cop-out I suppose," Thompson said. "I think when it comes to Black Widow, she’s so formidable, even though her powers are a bit less flashy than some of her contemporaries – that you need someone with real power, but you don’t want to lose the sort of grittiness and street-level that Natasha brings so naturally to her stories. I enjoy seeing Nat go up against Thanos with the Avengers as much as the next guy, but in her own adventures I’d always rather see her being an incredibly clever and slightly brutal spy mixed with some great street-level superhero stuff. So finding that balance for her through her adversaries is important."
As for the new villain, Apogee is as deadly in the boardroom as he is in the streets, and that duality is represented in his design.
"Apogee is definitely a two-fold villain – both a guy in a mask doing horrific things and also a guy that can take off the mask and do horrific but socially still 'acceptable' things," Thompson said. "Things like real-world corporate businessman shenanigans. So we wanted someone who could walk in that corporate world, but could also put on a mask and build a cult following as a pure supervillain. I gave Elena a lot of broad strokes ideas that were probably quite messy, but because she is so damn good she came back with this brilliant and terrifying look that I can’t wait to see in the pages of our book."
You can check out Apogee up-close as well as previews of Black Widow #6 and #7 starting on the next slide, and the official description for Black Widow #7 can be found below.
BLACK WIDOW #7
KELLY THOMPSON (W) • ELENA CASAGRANDE (A) • Cover by ADAM HUGHES
A NEW STORY ARC, A NEW MISSION!
"With a new suit, a new base of operations, new allies and a new perspective, Natasha sets her sights on a mysterious emerging villain in San Francisco known only as Apogee. But Natasha might not be as ahead of the game as she thought, and not everyone in her orbit is exactly what they seem. San Francisco desperately needs the Black Widow...it just doesn’t quite know it yet."
Hit the next slide to see more images and more from our interview, and as always let me know what you think of the series and the new villain in the comments or on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!
Importance of the Mask
Speaking of Apogee's mask (which you can see above), it does play a role in not just his story but also those who end up rallying behind it as a symbol.
"It certainly plays an important part in the sense that this guy is hiding his two selves and in the super-villain persona has built a cult following – and when people rally behind a symbol–like that mask – things can get dangerous incredibly fast," Thompson said. "I don’t think I can say much more without giving away important plot stuff but the mask will definitely be a factor in a hopefully unexpected way by the end of the book!prevnext
Moving to the West Coast
Widow's got a new headquarters in a new city, and setting Natasha's series in San Francisco brings a fresh energy to her adventures, and is yet another example of Widow following her own path.
"Well, it’s no secret that I love West Coast super-hero stories. I love NYC as a setting of course, but the West Coast as a location is a way to immediately set yourself apart from the other books in style and tone. It just instantly feels sort of refreshing to me, Thompson said. "And Jordie Bellaire’s colors on Black Widow have been a huge part of that. Her palettes are so perfect, she really knows how to lean into a location and make it a character. And while it’s a little inconvenient in some ways for Natasha to be based on the West Coast (she’s still an Avenger from time to time, most her friends/colleagues are in NYC, blah blah blah!) Natasha is – and has always been – a character that walks her own path. She’s different than a lot of her fellow heroes and leaning into that is strength, not a weakness as far as I’m concerned. So yeah, we’re going to play with it as much as we can."prevnext
The Guest List
Widow's first arc featured two of her longtime friends in Hawkeye and Winter Soldier, and while Thompson hopes to bring them back down the road, she's excited to bring in new characters like Apogee and even teased the appearance of another fun guest in issue #10.0comments
"Hawkeye and Winter Soldier will definitely be back if we get a third arc…but for this second arc, we’re going to be focusing primarily on Black Widow, White Widow (Yelena Belova), a new character, and a Marvel character that I don’t think people expect to see, but who is going to be a badass and necessary addition to Team Widow," Thompson said. "I’m also trying to work in a really fun guest appearance for issue #10…fingers crossed!"
Black Widow #6 hits comic stores on April 28th.prev