When you possess super powers and live in a world of fantastic phenomenon like the Marvel Universe is a “normal life” even possible? Jessica Drew, the star of Marvel’s ongoing “Spider-Woman” series by writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Javier Rodriguez, certainly hoped so. It’s why she quit the Avengers and recently began working as a street level super hero with journalist turned detective Ben Urich and the former super villain known as the Porcupine (AKA Roger Gocking) to assist normal people who find themselves caught up in strange and dangerous situations. It’s also why she agreed to take maternity leave from her new job when she became pregnant.
In the aftermath of the series’ inaugural arc, which found Jessica giving birth to her son on an alien hospital under assault from Skrull invaders, Spider-Woman is beginning to reconsider her thoughts on what a “normal” life is and what it might mean to her. CBR News spoke with Hopeless about her perspective and what it means for the book’s upcoming adventures, the mystery of her child’s father and the book’s involvement in the upcoming “Spider-Women” and “Civil War II” storylines.
CBR News: You ended the initial arc of this new volume of “Spider-Woman” with Jess sort of coming to terms with the fact that a normal or perhaps somewhat grounded life may not be in the cards for her and her newborn son. Can you elaborate more on what that outlook means for her adventures moving forward? Will she still be interested in working with Ben Urich and the Porcupine to help average people caught up in strange problems?
Dennis Hopeless: I think Jessica is just acknowledging that her normal will always be a little crazier than she’d like. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe it’s time to embrace the crazy. It’s a moment of reflection and levity, not some big life-changing realization. Jessica definitely plans to go back to street level super heroing with Roger and Ben. She has a bit more maternity leave to get through first.
The birth of Jess’ son sort of begs some questions: what will the child’s name be? Does the father know his son has been born? And will he be an active part of Jess’ and his son’s life? Are these questions you’ll be answering sooner rather than later or will some of these questions be part of the book’s larger mysteries for a while?
Most of that will be revealed in issue #5, which serves as a sort of epilogue to the pregnancy arc. We’ll see Jess go through the wild trial by fire that is new parenthood. We originally intended to use the fifth issue as a breather. A fun little break after the intense hospital issue. Then I wrote it and — it became a different thing altogether.
So, anyway, all will be revealed within. Except the baby’s name — which I believe we hold off revealing until “Spider-Women.”
One of the things that makes “Spider-Woman” so enjoyable for me is that on top of a very human and likable protagonist you’ve got a great bunch of supporting characters in the form of Ben Urich, Roger, and Jess’ best friend Captain Marvel. What kinds of roles will these characters play in the series moving forward? And is there any chance we might see more of Prince Dirk, the Skrull teen who helped Jess with the birth of her son in issue #4?
Our second arc is the big “Spider-Women” story with Gwen and Silk. That takes place primarily in Spider-Gwen’s Earth 65 so the supporting cast takes a back seat for a couple issues.
After that the supporting cast will definitely be back. Carol is Jess’ rock. Ben is Jess’ cool-headed and extraordinarily patient PI partner. Roger is her — I dunno, Porcupine. These are Jess’ people and she keeps them close. Don’t expect that to change unless something awful…
As for Dirk, I love writing him almost as much as I love seeing Javier draw him. We’ll do everything we can to get him back into the story.
Part of the reason I loved Dirk was the fantastic design Javier Rodriguez gave him. Javier also showed off some amazing action scenes in this first arc as well, especially with issue #3. So it seems like you’ve got an artist who’s enjoying this book as much as you are and can handle almost anything you throw at him.
I love that I can give Javier a page full of dialogue and talking heads or a two-paragraph dream sequence or a five-word action beat — and he can make them all sing. Whether I’ve written way more words than should fit on a page or a silent ass-kicking splash page, Javier and our amazing inker Alvaro Lopez always deliver. They routinely outdo whatever it was I saw in my head. These are natural storytellers so the narrative is super clear, but they’re also insanely creative. I just make suggestions and try to keep out of their way. It’s a fantastic collaboration.
As you mentioned, in issue #5 you and Javier present Jess’ post pregnancy status quo and then you guys jump into your collaboration with the creators of “Silk” and “Spider-Gwen,” the dimension hopping crossover “Spider-Women.” How’s it been telling that story with the creative teams of those books? And what’s it like getting a chance to explore more of the relationships Jess has with Gwen and Silk?
It has been a total blast. Jason Latour, Robbie Thompson and I were all in New York for NYCC this past year and got to hash out the story in person with our editors. We spent a day in the Marvel office with our editors and threw stuff at the wall. So much fun. I’m super proud of how the story turned out. It’s a cool super hero plot but we also managed to dial in on the character arcs and relationships. Each chapter moves the plot forward while focusing on the respective title characters and how the story is affecting them personally. I think shifting POVs keep things fresh and interesting.
I got to write Silk, Gwen and Jess together during “Spider-Verse” and developed the earliest version of this dynamic. It’s exciting to revisit that relationship now that all three characters have evolved. Jess couldn’t be in a much more different place than she was during the “Spider-Verse” war. Gwen and Cindy have changed a lot, too. I think this story reflects all of the character growth in really interesting ways.
Finally, what can you tell us about your plans for “Spider-Woman” further down the road? We know Jess’ best friend Captain Marvel will be on the front lines of “Civil War II.” What does that mean for Jess and your book though? Will Spider-Woman have to choose a side in “Civil War II?”
I think Jess would have a hard time not picking a side. She has a lot on her plate right now and would want nothing at all to do with a huge Civil War. As anyone who reads our book knows — when Spider-Woman tries to avoid some conflict, she almost always ends up smack in the middle of it. I can’t say much else just yet, but we definitely have some ideas percolating.
“Spider-Woman” is my favorite thing I’ve ever written. Javier and Alvaro are absolutely incredible. Our editors are amazing. The stories we get to tell in this series are important to me. Our reviews have been fantastic and the positive feedback from fans has been overwhelming. I love this book and want to write it forever. For that to happen, it has to keep selling.
So I’d just ask that our awesome fans continue to be vocal in their support. Tweet. Tumbl. Talk. Be loud. Be annoying. Tell everyone you know how much you dig the series (or any series you love). Help us spread the word so we can keep doing what we do.
“Spider-Woman” #5 goes on sale March 16; “Spider-Women Alpha” #1 goes on sale April 6 from Marvel Comics.