Barreling out of Civil War II, Jessica Drew faces down her new life!
Spider-Woman has experienced a lot of upheaval as of late.
Tossed about alternate worlds in Spider-Verse and Secret Wars. Fighting crime while pregnant and while sleep deprived with a newborn. Being stuck in the middle of Civil War II.
Unfortunately for Jessica, according to writer Dennis Hopeless, with SPIDER WOMAN #11 hitting stands this week, she can expect no break, but that’s good news for those who enjoy following her adventures.
Marvel.com: To meet Jessica where she is, she recently has been in conflict with Captain Marvel, her longtime friend, because of the maelstrom that is Civil War II. To catch readers up to the present, what is the state of that friendship now? In general, how is Jessica feeling emotionally?
Dennis Hopeless: Jess wanted nothing at all to do with the [Civil War II] conflict from the very beginning. She told Carol at much and fought hard to hold that line. Carol pressed her and pressed her and eventually Jess caved. She and Porcupine and Ben Urich accepted the job of investigating some of Ulysses’ early visions. For a hot minute there, Jess was almost convinced that Carol was right. The visions seemed to be legit and one of them even allowed Jess to save two lives.
But the moment Jess found out about Hawkeye killing Banner, she flipped hard the other way. One of her friends killed another over this crap and she’s furious about that. SPIDER-WOMAN #11 delves into the fallout but it’s safe to say Spider-Woman and Captain Marvel are on rocky ground right at the moment. I love the friendship as much as anyone, but the next time Carol and Jess meet up, things might get ugly fast.
Marvel.com: In issue #12, Spider-Woman and Porcupine are teaming up for a single issue adventure. Without giving away too much, can you tease readers about what these two are up to?
Dennis Hopeless: It’s a beach day. Roger and Jess take their children to the beach. They have popsicles and frozen candy bars.
What I will say about this issue is that it was drawn by my good friend Tigh Walker, who is damned genius. This is the perfect issue for his crazy energetic style—hint: It’s not really just a beach day—and I’m thrilled we got to work together again. People should check this one out for his art alone. It’s a fun departure from [regular artist] Veronica [Fish’s] brand of brilliance. Which, by the way, our entire art team is awesome. I can’t possibly sing their praises enough.
Marvel.com: To stay in that vein, you’ve been gifted with two talented pencilers on this book lately with Javier Rodriguez and Veronica Fish. How have those collaborations gone for all of you? How does their work help you realize your vision for the book?
Dennis Hopeless: Javier was the best thing that has ever happened to me professionally. He and I built SPIDER-WOMAN together—along with our editorial and art team—from the very beginning. The book wouldn’t have been what it is without Javier’s contribution. By the end the scripts were just suggestions and dialogue. It was an incredible collaboration and I was gutted when I found out he was moving, though I love the crap out of [his next project] DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME.
So, obviously Veronica had massive shoes to fill coming in, and yet somehow she’s the perfect artist for this next stage of the series. Her character work and acting is top notch. Her comedy always lands. Everyone feels like a real person and the action sings. I don’t know how we keep getting so lucky but I will not complain. This book has been gorgeous and visually story-rich from the beginning and it will continue that way.
Marvel.com: Returning to Jessica and Roger for a moment, how would you describe the state of their partnership now? They’ve clearly grown in trust since the start of the series, how do they view each other now?
Dennis Hopeless: Oh, they are absolutely private eye besties at this point. Jess trusts Roger completely—even though that likely seems insane to her more legit super hero friends—and has handed him a big chunk of her personal and professional responsibilities. This guy might be the best there is at what he does, but there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for Jess and Gerry.
This is the third series I’ve shoehorned Porcupine into. Initially it was simply because I love that costume, but Roger Gocking has wormed his way into my heart. He’s one of my favorite characters I’ve ever written.
Marvel.com: After the beach, in issue #13, the newest storyline “Scare Tactics” begins which sees Spider-Woman facing off with a classic Spider-Man villain in Hobgoblin. What is going on in this story? How has Spider-Woman ended up in a situation where she is facing down ol’ Hobby?
Dennis Hopeless: In a way, this is a Roger story. Porcupine spent a lot of years as a street level costumed villain. He ran in those circles and has history with those people. In issue #13, some of that history pops back up to meet him. It’s a whole big mess and Hobgoblin is right at the center. Jess gets involved and then it becomes a Spider-Woman story.
Marvel.com: What, if any, feelings does she have towards the villain before their conflict starts? And vice versa, how does she view her?
Dennis Hopeless: I’m not sure either of them have many thoughts about one another, beyond general hero/villain disdain. Roger pulls the two of them together in a weird way and they all have lots of loud and elaborate thoughts by the end. But Jess is blindsided by all of this. She doesn’t see any of it coming.
Marvel.com: How does the central conflict of this storyline echo through the rest of the supporting cast?
Dennis Hopeless: There is almost no way to answer that without spoiling major plot points. I’ll just say profoundly!
Marvel.com: Any parent will tell you that a) having kids changes everything and b) despite that, those people very much would like to retain their own identities, to integrate being a parent into being—in the case of Jessica—a super hero and however else she has defined herself in her own personal perspective. How would you describe her feelings on this juggling act now? How does the threat of Hobgoblin upend that?
Dennis Hopeless: The opening sequence of issue #13 is all about Jess’s newfound comfort in that juggling act. She never feels 100% comfortable or in control, but she has hit her stride with it. Each day is a little easier than the last and the oh-god-oh-god-my-life-is-over months are in the rearview. I’d say she’s settling in.
Gerry is never in danger. Baby in peril is a sort of unfair plot device, so we’re avoiding it completely. We made that rule at the very outset and don’t intend to break it. So, Hobgoblin can only really upend one half of Jess’s life. The question is, how does that balancing act change when work gets extremely overwhelming. The answer to that is this arc in a nutshell.
Marvel.com: Now that you have almost a year of the series behind you, how are you feeling about Jessica and the rest of the supporting cast? How has your take on them evolved?
Dennis Hopeless: I actually wrote my first SPIDER-WOMAN script in July of 2014 so I’ve been with Jess for over two years. This is my favorite thing I’ve done at Marvel and might be, in my humble opinion, the best work I’ve ever done. I love this cast. They live in my head all the time and once a month I get to let 20 pages of them out. It’s an absolute joy.
My take on Jess has been pretty consistent, we’ve just put her through hell and watched what happened. She’s obviously in a very different place than she was during Spider-Verse, but the voice in my head still sounds the same. Jess is Jess and always will be.
The others just sort of grew and filled out. Like I mentioned earlier, Roger was more or less just a costume to me when we chose him. Now he’s the most fun character to write. Carol hasn’t changed too much for me, though her relationship with Jess is about to. And Ben Urich is the Ben Urich I read in DAREDEVIL when I was 10. He just sort of says Ben Urich things when necessary.
Marvel.com: Finally, what would you say with readers who are considering jumping on the book with the start of the second year? What is one thing you think that would sell them on the series?
Dennis Hopeless: Everyone working on this book loves the crap out of making it and I think it absolutely shows. Give us a shot. I really think you’ll dig it.
Pick up the latest issue of SPIDER-WOMAN from Dennis Hopeless and Veronica Fish available now!