In the Marvel Universe, conflicts between would be world conquerors and costumed heroes occur on a regular basis, and sometimes, the best way to both fight evil and atone for past sins is through ruthless and lethal action. Two characters who understand and believe this are the Punisher, a marine turned vigilante who began a one man war on crime after his family was murdered by mobsters, and the Black Widow, the Russian spy turned Avenger, who also happens to work as a mercenary on her days off in an attempt to atone for the deaths and damage she caused as a secret agent.
Writer Nathan Edmondson chronicles both Frank Castle and Natasha Romanov’s quests in “The Punisher,” which features art by Mitch Gerads, and “Black Widow,” which is brought to life by artist Phil Noto. This August the Punisher and Black Widow’s separate journeys will bring them face to face in “Friend From Foe” a two-issue crossover that unfolds in issue #9 of each of their self titled series — and may result in a hinted-at new series. We spoke with Edmondson about the story which is set on a mysterious and gigantic boat and pits them against the mercenary Crossbones and his Skull Squad.
CBR News: In the ninth issues of both “Black Widow” and “Punisher,” your protagonists will meet for a crossover storyline. Is this a crossover in the traditional sense of the word? Will the story start in one book and then continue into the next? Or is this a case of the same story told from two different perspectives?
Nathan Edmondson: This is a story told from two different perspectives in two different books (in “Punisher” #9 and “Black Widow” #9). The story is completely accessible, even to readers who haven’t touched either title, although both sides of the story continue the ongoing narrative of each book.
What’s your sense of the history and dynamic between Frank and Natasha? Do these characters like or respect each other?
That’s key, here; both are complicated characters on the fringes of super heroism, both have troubled pasts and have to sift through the fog of guilt and regret to see their own mission clear. The similarities end there, though, as we see pretty readily in the crossover.
What is this crossover about? Can you tell us about some of the big action set pieces that we’ll see?
It’s on a boat! A big one, and the story is all about the mystery of this boat and the journey that has led both characters right to it at the same time.
One of the antagonists in this story is Crossbones and his Skull Squad. Is this sort of a continuation of the rivalry between Frank and Crossbones that starts in “Punisher” #7-8? What makes Crossbones and his team good adversaries for Frank and Natasha?
The story does carry on from the previous “Punisher” issue where Punisher was engaged with Crossbones, so you can do the math there and see what’s connected that issue to the next one (or maybe it will indeed be a surprise). Crossbones is a mercenary, and he’s doing someone’s bidding; there’s an interesting triangle here of duties between him, Natasha and Frank. All three are moving around the central mystery I mentioned above.
Are there any other antagonists in this story? Will any of the supporting players from “Punisher” and “Black Widow” play roles in this story?
The cast list is pretty small here, but that doesn’t mean both characters aren’t up against it and fighting for their lives.
This story takes place far away from home for both of them; it’s a bit of an isolated, bottle episode, but one that has significant ramifications into both
What does the “Friend From Foe” crossover between “Punisher” and “Black Widow”mean for the larger stories you’re telling in both books? Are Frank and Natasha’s ongoings sort of two sides of the same story in the way that Jonathan Hickman’s “Avengers” and “New Avengers” are? Or is this crossover more of an intersection point where the Punisher and Black Widow’s separate stories meet?
I can’t talk about much, but I can say that no, these books will not become all that intertwined — but — we may see some ripple effects where certain parts of each character’s world will cross into the other’s — and perhaps into a third title, as well!
Be sure to get both “Punisher” and “Black Widow” for the full experience of this story! Shameless sales trick, I know, but we’re totally shameless over here, and we’re very excited about the way we’ve approached this mini-event. We expect you, the reader, to be thrilled with it!