Protecting the citizens of the Marvel Universe means taking on a whole host of awe inspiring foes, and among their number are alien empires, evil gods and beings with the plans and powers to take over the world. Jessica Drew, the super hero known as Spider-Woman, has been battling these myriad threats for years as both an Avenger and an agent of S.W.O.R.D., an intelligence agency tasked with monitoring and policing extraterrestrial interference with Earth.
With so much focus on international and cosmic threats, Spider-Woman has had few opportunities to combat the more street level threats that vex everyday citizens of New York City. Following the cross-dimensional events of the current “Spider-Verse” crossover, she’ll undertake a new mission in her crime fighting career starting with March’s “Spider-Woman” #5 by writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Javier Rodriguez. Not only will Jessica’s mission take on a new focus targeting the city’s criminal underworld, she’ll also be sporting a brand new costume. For more on Jessica Drew’s future plans, CBR News spoke with Hopeless about the book’s new feel, the role journalist Ben Urich will play in the series, and Spider-Woman’s new heroic duds.
CBR News: Dennis, “Spider-Woman’s” 2015 kicks off with Jessica still in the midst of the “Spider-Verse” event. What sort of hints or teases can you offer up about these issues? How do they set the stage for the character’s new status quo come March?
Dennis Hopeless: “Spider-Verse” has been one massive deadly headache after another for Jess and the events of #3 ratchet things up even further. She’s caught in a very tight spot having to play house with Morlun while all of the other Spider-people in the multiverse are counting on her to bring them war-saving intel. Jess will have to flex all of those super spy muscles to make it out of this thing alive — and then there’s a massive multiversal war to fight.
Issue #4 takes place just after the conclusion of “Spider-Verse” and serves as a bridge between Jess’s old status quo and the new one jumping off in issue #5. This crazy war has had a profound affect on Jess and forced her to reevaluate some things. There’s also pirates, Captain Marvel donuts and a giant space flea.
“Spider-Verse” was a big wild ride but all of it has been leading Jessica Drew in this new direction. I can’t wait for fans to see what we have planned.
As part of Spider-Woman’s new status quo she’ll be sporting a new costume designed by Kris Anka. What was it like working with Kris on the costume? How much input did you give him?
Kris is brilliant and definitely got a lot of input from a lot of different people but I’m no designer so not much of it came from me. My big contribution was to say I hoped Jess kept the same basic color scheme and long hair. So I guess I got my way on both counts.
Changing a character’s costume for the first real time after 30 some years is a big move and Marvel wanted to get it right. Kris even got boot notes from Joe Quesada. I think we’re all very happy with the end result and how perfect it will be for the book’s new street level focus.
Speaking of focus, the preview art I’ve seen suggests that with issue #5 “Spider-Woman” becomes a street level super hero adventure book in the vein of “Daredevil” or “Amazing Spider-Man.” Is that a fair comparison? What can you tell us about the feel of the book starting with that issue?
That’s absolutely what we’re going for. Jessica decides she wants to focus on helping normal people for a change and that means taking to the streets. The book is much less about Super Spy Spider-Woman, the Globetrotting Avenger, and more about Jessica Drew the hero. Our story focuses on what that change means for and feels like to a woman who spent the last several years dealing with Skrull Queens, “Spider-Verse” wars and cosmic level baddies. There will definitely be some adjustment issues right at first. It’s fun to write Jess unexpectedly out of her element.
Adding to that street level feel is a new “Spider-Woman” supporting cast member in the form of reporter Ben Urich. What made you want to bring Ben into the book? What do you find most interesting about him?
I think that was [editor] Nick Lowe’s idea but it was a great one. It’s fun playing with the streetwise newsman tropes in a world that has all but moved on from newspapers. I’ve always loved Ben Urich as a character and we get to have him in this very human moment of existential weakness. What is Ben Urich without the “Daily Bugle?” He’s the perfect partner for Jess here. They’re both sort of trying to find their legs on uneasy ground.
Finally, how does it feel to have someone who has a flair for super hero street level action like “Daredevil’s” Javier Rodriguez working on “Spider-Woman’s” interiors? What can we expect from him on the book?
You can expect Javier to bring the damned noise! These pages are fantastic. I feel like I’m always bragging on my artists but Marvel has been very good to me with regard to collaborators and Javier is no exception. He’s exactly the artist this book needed and I’m thrilled to be working with him.
Please check out the book. Our sales have been fantastic so far and I can’t thank the fans enough for the support, but stick around. Jessica Drew has a lot more work to do.
“Spider-Woman” #4 by Dennis Hopeless and Greg Land” is scheduled for release Feb. 11 from Marvel.
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