Do we have any choice in who protects us? Do we have any say in the savior who heeds our call? Natasha Romanov’s best intentions as an Avenger might prove all for naught as her past discretions fall under the scrutiny of a statured journalist.
Making his Marvel Universe debut, CNN’s Anderson Cooper traces the web of an allegedly reformed KGB operative and assassin, asking, “Is this the right Avenger for us?” That and more questions hit the wire in November’s BLACK WIDOW #12 by Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto.
“Anderson and his show and his journalism will be the catalyst for a major event in Black Widow’s journey right now,” explains series writer Edmondson. “And as a result of the way in which he exposes her and some of her actions, we’re going to see some pretty significant things change in her world. We will more importantly see a fundamental change within her as she has to face a world that is now increasingly aware of her.
“It’s Anderson doing what he does best: looking for the truth and reporting on events. We imagine that in Black Widow’s world, as would be the case with many other Avengers, things she does can’t be ignored by the media and all it takes is somebody who knows how to ask the right questions to make her world very uncomfortable for her but in a way that is perhaps not unjust.”
Edmondson first came in contact with Cooper while living and working in Washington DC.
“I found that he was a comic book fan and reader and shared some of my work with him over a year ago,” he says. “Then as we were strategizing upcoming issues of BLACK WIDOW I had this idea for an opportunity to involve him directly in the book. He was thrilled with the idea and we were thrilled that he was thrilled and so we set about setting the issue up and going through the steps for approval. Fortunately, it was all nice and easy and everybody involved was excited about the idea.”
Currently the anchor for CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360°,” Cooper spent many years broadcasting from around the globe, from Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Rwanda, and Iraq to the wake of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
“I approached Anderson because I’m a fan of his,” says Edmondson. “I’ve always thought that he’s been an excellent journalist and in my limited experience with him via mutual friends I’ve heard nothing but good things. I’ve always held him in high regard both in a personal and professional way.
“I think that when we were talking about somebody that would approach something shrewdly but fairly and approach such a hot button topic as an Avenger who’s been doing some questionable things, that he’s the kind of journalist that I would want taking the lead and the kind of news outlet. A personal fandom element on my side and also I think that his track record and the kind of stories that he’s gone after in the past [as well as] his very significant public persona made him the right choice and made his outlet the right opportunity to both bring a great deal of exposure to the book at the turn of a new arc and to have a lot of fun.”
While Cooper’s investigation and the scrutiny it brings to Natasha’s mission serves as antagonistic elements, it won’t be villainous. While the Red Skull and Anderson Cooper both prove obstacles for the Widow, the latter works with the best of intentions, acting on instincts and a passion for a lucid representation of facts that Edmondson himself admires.
“Very much like a lot of the reporting of military activity today—a lot of reporting of the really tumultuous geo-political situations in the Middle East and in other corners of the country—it’s very difficult to distinguish what we know from what we don’t know,” says Edmondson of Black Widow. “I think that’s where we rely on places like CNN and Fox News and people like Anderson Cooper to help us delineate things we know from what we don’t know. Even then, having exposed as much of the truth as we can, it’s very, very difficult to make determinations from the news on what you feel is just in regards to acts of justice, so-called acts of justice, around the world.
“Me personally, I think I’d be very skeptical about whether or not we should trust Black Widow, especially trusting [her] knowing that she has the support and backing or at least the blind eye of our government. That is to say, does trusting her mean that we have to trust all of the government? I think that’s a very interesting and tricky question.”
It might seem that his unique position as writer on BLACK WIDOW would afford him greater insight on Natasha’s moral compass, past and present, but Edmondson intentionally leaves some of those files sealed, even to himself.
“She’s one of the few characters that I haven’t woven an intricate back-story,” he explains. “I have a pretty good idea of where she comes from but I felt that as her writer, I am better left in the dark on some things because it gives her the opportunity to surprise me. I know some of this may sound fanciful but the reality is that when you have a character in storytelling that is well crafted enough—and she was before Phil and I ever came to the table—they go on to live beyond you. Rather than inventing them, you start following them. You just invent situations that they come up against. With Black Widow, there’s a continual act of discovery for us as the creators as to what she does now, what she does next, and also, and this is where she may differ from a lot of other characters that I might have the opportunity to work on, she continues to surprise us with revelations about her past. So I’m happy to know that there’s a deep dark well to continue to draw from, and that we may never reach the bottom.”
I tried to find a bigger picture of the cover but they were all pretty small. :\ But what do you guys think?
(Comic book post? What did you guys pick up today? :D)