Editor's Note: This interview was conducted just as news of the "All-New, All-Different Marvel" lineup was breaking.
As a member of the Avengers, Jessica Drew's day job was saving the world as the costumed hero known as Spider-Woman. Over the course of her recently concluded tenure with Marvel Comics' premier super squad, she intervened in cosmic crises, was abducted by shapeshifting Skrulls and battled super villains with designs on controlling the world. On top of that, Spider-Woman was part of an army of spider powered heroes who took part in the recent dimension hopping spider-verse storyline.
Following "Spider-Verse," Jessica decided she was done with alternate dimensions and worlds. In issue #5 of the current "Spider-Woman" series by writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Javier Rodriguez, the veteran Avenger left the team and and dedicated herself to helping everyday people on the streets of New York, an effort that recently saw her join forces with veteran reporter Ben Urich and the down on his luck super villain known as the Porcupine. Jessica has been enjoying her new path, but in August's "Spider-Woman" #10 she'll find herself dragged back into her old life as an Avenger as the series kicks off a "Secret Wars" story that falls under the "Last Days" banner.
CBR News spoke with Hopeless about what Jessica can expect upon returning to her old life, her relationship with former Avengers teammate Black Widow, and bringing Urich and Porcupine into the book.
CBR News: This month's "Spider-Woman" #9 features a story in which Jessica Drew, Ben Urich and the Porcupine embark on a cross country journey that directly leads into August's #10, which kicks off your "Last Days" storyline. What can you tell us about what your three characters will be up to when the cosmic action begins?
Dennis Hopeless: Ben and Jess have compiled a stack of out-of-town jobs from Urich's "Help People" folders. They'll be on the road for a few weeks taking down bad guys and helping flyover state people. Unbeknownst to Jess, Ben has invited Porcupine to join them. Antics ensue. Readers who liked the previous arc should be into this one. It's a big, weird, road trip story.
Tonally, it feels like with this story Jessica will be uttering Michael Corleone's line from "Godfather III," the often homaged, "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in." Is that accurate? What's Jessica' perspective when she becomes embroiled in cosmic adventures again?
The "Last Days" part of the story is very much about Jess being yanked back into her old life. She's right in the middle of this road trip, finally starting to get her feet underneath her and -- the Avengers come calling. When worst comes to worst and the world is ending, Spider-Woman is an Avenger. There's no escaping it. We're taking the opportunity to tell the personal turmoil part of the Jess and Black Widow running around in "New Avengers" story. It was fun to be able to bridge the gap a bit while also telling our own new story.
What made you want to tell this story of Spider-Woman and the Black Widow working together? What do you enjoy most about her dynamic with Jessica?
Well, for one thing, Jonathan Hickman wrote the two of them together in the pre-"Secret Wars" "Avengers" arc. It was established that Jess was Avengering (in her old costume) with Natasha right before everything died. That seemed like the obvious way to go. It's also the case that I love Black Widow and she's a perfect counter-argument to Jess's current life. Natasha thinks Jess is wasting her time on the street and isn't afraid to say so. I love writing those two bickering.
What kind of roles will Ben Urich and Porcupine be playing in this story? Will we see how the "Last Days" impacts them as well? And what does bringing "Porcupine" allow you to do in terms of plot or to challenge Jessica?
Porcupine and Urich sort of work together to ground Jess. These are two strictly street level characters. One of the big themes of the book is that Jess wants normal but she's bad at it. Roger and Ben are both very normal (for the Marvel Universe). It's a fun dynamic to write. Also, Porcupine's costume is one of my favorite things ever. I snuck him into both "Avengers Arena" and "Avengers Undercover" because I like looking at him.
The "Last Days" portion of the story is strictly Jess'. Ben and Roger represent the new version of her life. She can't take them with her when she goes back.
We've seen how great your artist Javier Rodriguez is at street level super hero adventure. Will he get a chance to show us what he can do with more cosmic elements in this story or will another artist step in for her "Last Days?"
Issue #10 is actually being drawn by the incredible Natacha Bustos. She gets to do both big cosmic "Secret Wars" crazy and down to Earth street fighting. Both look amazing. The art team on this book is untouchably awesome. Readers can expect more and more awesome going forward.
Finally, right as we were getting ready to do this interview news broke that this October you and Javier Rodriguez will kick off a new volume of "Spider-Woman" and that during the eight month time jump Jessica Drew will have become pregnant. How does it feel to return to the title? What can you tell us about Jess' pregnancy?
I can't say much yet other than that I'm thrilled Javier, the team and I get to continue working on this book. "Spider-Woman" is a dream job and none of us want to stop.
As for the pregnancy... let's talk again in a few weeks.
"Spider-Woman" #9 is on sale July 22, 2015.