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This is the first major event that the Punisher will enter since the writter is Greg Rucka.
We’re charging up for the onrushing Omega Effect event which spreads out over three Marvel titles—AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #6, DAREDEVIL #11 and THE PUNISHER #10—this April. Mark Waid and Greg Rucka, the two gentlemen responsible for the writing end of the story, find their hands full with Spider-Man, Daredevil and The Punisher scrambling to stop the Marvel Universe’s leading crime organizations from securing the Omega Drive. With the info contained therein, one could blow the lid off of just about every single bit of criminal activity on the planet.
To celebrate the release of Omega Effect, we’re checking in with both writers and asking them a few pointed questions about this titanic team-up and their own writing relationship with each other on the story. We’ve already talked with Mark Waid, so up now: Greg Rucka!
AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #6 cover by Steve McNiven
Marvel.com: Greg, what’s it like working with a writer like Mark Waid? Why’s he a great person to collaborate with on a project like Omega Effect?
Greg Rucka: Mark is, in my opinion, one of the best writers comics has ever seen. I’m a bad student of the medium and I don’t know a better way to say it. I loved comics but I was never the guy who growing up with them would [say] comics was it. I had a passion for them, loved them, but my depth of knowledge and my experience in reading them is really insignificant compared with so many other people out there in the medium. And there are a lot of people in the medium who came and got into the industry and work in the industry, and these are people who were raised on comics and loved comics. Comics are their religion. To such an extent, that they don’t know anything else.
And that’s a detriment. Your ability to name every single variation of Kryptonite and every first issue in which it appears is a great pop quiz skill, but is not a great writing skill, all right? So just because you can do that doesn’t mean you know how to write. It doesn’t make you a good writer. The same way you if want to write for movies, you don’t only see movies, you know what I mean? You have to actually pick up books and read them as well.
Mark is one of the very rare examples of somebody who’s love of comics and of the nature of collecting comics, of pursuing them, all of that is wedded with the knowledge and the skill set of being a writer, a teller of stories. That sounds so simple and you would think it is and it’s not. And it’s actually really very hard. So, when I am reading a Mark Waid script—I’ve had the good fortune of reading his scripts off and on over the last decade or so, and watching how his writing and his script style as evolved—[he] never forgets that he’s writing a comic, he never forgets what the purpose of the comic is, he never forgets the visual aspect. He is always in service of the comic story and his skill is remarkable in life. And I think nowhere is more evident than in the current DAREDEVIL. His work on DAREDEVIL right now is so visual if that makes sense. And then when we think about the craft involved, I mean, that book is incredibly dynamic visually. It’s the story of a blind man and you never ever get to forget that Matt is blind. So I think [Mark] has some extraordinary skills.
DAREDEVIL #11 cover by Marcos Martin
Marvel.com: Okay, that said, how do you see yourself in what you do on PUNISHER?
Greg Rucka: I come from a prose background. I come from short story background and that led me into novels. So, I try to remember my visuals. My scripts tend to always be far more concerned with the emotional movement of a story than with the visual movement of a story [to the extent] of being a detriment. This is something I do try to address.
I’m working on the PUNISHER issue for Omega Effect right now. And I spent all morning working myself into contortions because I’m trying to figure out how to visually get across the information I want to get across rather than just have somebody say it. And I put myself in a hole. I was talking to Mark about this yesterday. The fact is that we set up a book about The Punisher where Frank doesn’t talk a lot, so that the means of getting readers up to speed is completely not fair. And if I try to put it there [for Omega Effect], it’s going to be glaring. This is a totally different thing. I spent today trying to doing a lot of “How would Mark do this?”
Marvel.com: We’re to understand there’s a new person in Frank Castle’s life named Rachel Cole who perhaps defies easy categorization. Mark Waid says she figures into what he calls the “emotional heart” of Omega Effect. What can you tell us about her?
Greg Rucka: One of the things that Mark had said very early on is that, to Matt Murdock, Frank is a lost cause. A lot of what I think Mark is doing is refreshing Daredevil right now; Matt is sort of “Happy Matt,” for lack of a better phrase. He has made an active decision to be happy, I would point out. As opposed to just deciding “Oh all that other bad stuff never happened—no I’ve just decided to ignore it.” So, when faced with Cole, and Rachel and Frank really come together in THE PUNISHER #9, Matt looks at her and thinks, “Well, I screwed up with Frank but maybe I can save this one.” And it provides a very interesting emotional center to what we’re doing here.
THE PUNISHER #10 cover by Marco Checchetto
Rachel’s got a very specific story here. Her arc has a beginning, middle, and end. The book is called THE PUNISHER and people right now, I think, are thinking, well it’s not really about Frank, but Frank is sort of a presence in it. Everything that happens is about Frank because of his effect on everything makes it about him. So, Rachel’s story, her whole story is entirely ruled by her association with Frank and his presence in her life.
Marvel.com: We asked Mark Waid about how he looked at Spider-Man, Daredevil and the Punisher as characters and the phrase “id, ego and super-ego” came up. Is that how you think of them also?
Greg Rucka: I do not. That’s because I don’t tend to apply Freudian standards to my writing [Laughs]. That’s not to say it’s an incorrect assessment, but it’s not one that I’m terribly interested in. I don’t go there. It’s something Mark himself brought up a couple weeks ago, and I think it’s valid. But, I tend not to approach characters in that sort of archetype. I’m much more interested in them as characters I guess; that’s not demeaning [Mark’s opinion], it’s just [not] my value.
I was talking to [editor Steve] Wacker yesterday about a bit [in the story], and there’s no way to do it because it’s a film bit rather than a comic bit; it really relies on motion. But I really love the idea of how skittish Spider-Man is around Frank. This is all set up at the end of the first issue, and [they say,] “we all have to press each other for X amount of a plan” and for Peter it’s just watching the fuse burn down. It’s only a question of when. It’s not if, it’s when is Frank going to come off the rails on this thing. And being able to sort of play with that and try to show it—I’m still trying to figure out if the visual is there.
Marvel.com: Speaking of visuals, regular PUNISHER artist Marco Checchetto is providing some incredible continuity on Omega Effect by drawing all three parts of the story.
AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #6 inked preview art by Marco Checchetto
Greg Rucka: He’s amazing. I got pages this morning and they’re just phenomenal. I love working with him and I love how effortlessly he is sort of jumping almost between styles, you know? I mean the AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #6 pages look different than the PUNISHER #10 pages. I don’t have another way to put it. They do look different. And it’s not that it’s a different artist at all, it isn’t, and it’s not that it’s not clearly Marco—there’s something else there. I don’t know how to put it [Laughs].
Marvel.com: So you’d say he’s got chameleon ability in his art.
Greg Rucka: Absolutely. And yet it still is unmistakably Marco. I love what he’s doing. I, in all honesty, the more I see from him, the more I love it. I certainly don’t want to undermine anyone else [because] I am consistently fortunate in that I get to work with great artists, but every issue that I don’t get to do with Marco, I kind of find myself saying, “Well, oh, I wanted Marco to draw this.” Does that make sense? That’s not me going, “this other artist can’t draw.” You know? Marco’s story telling is just delightful. I really, really like it. It’s got this dynamic and when you get to write 50 of the Hand swarming up the side of a building and then you get to see Marco draw that, it’s like “Aw, man! That’s awesome!”
Marvel.com: That allows us to segue into Omega Effect’s villains. Looking at the five distinct criminal organizations in the story, do you think they stand at different levels in the Marvel Universe or will they all end up in the same boat at the end of the story?
Greg Rucka: The power is the issue because they’re all holding each other at bay. That’s sort of what starts this off. There has been a stalemate in effect for a certain amount of time and Daredevil knows that isn’t going to last and so he’s going to uncork it. You know, the Exchange, featured in THE PUNISHER, factors into the story and frankly, of all the factions in Omega Effect, they’re the “weakest,” but they’re also acting as brokerage. So, I wouldn’t rate one more than the other; they’re all there to make everybody miserable.
AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #6 inked preview art by Marco Checchetto
Marvel.com: We’ll wrap this up with same final question we asked Mark: The team-up in comics was once a much stronger “event” in comics—what do you feel is its status with today’s readers?
Greg Rucka: Wow. I don’t know. I suppose there is a marketing value to it. I mean, maybe you’ll pull people over from one book to another, if they’re engaged by the story. But I think part of the nature of a crossover, the abusive crossovers I should say, is that readership has come to believe that actually, they don’t really matter much. There’s a lot of sound and fury and it signifies nothing. How is this going to change anything in the books? And even when we’re told, you know, “Nothing will ever be the same!”
I honestly don’t know what it means [now] to the readership. Except maybe they’re probably more fed up. I will say that for what I am doing in THE PUNISHER, [Omega Effect] came along at a perfect time. This is the right story to be telling at this point in the overall story that I want to tell. And this actually sets up stuff that I have planned about 12 issues down the line that will actually bring Matt Murdock back in. And it has Peter Parker as well.
I think the biggest detriment [of a crossover] is that a lot of people will say, “Well, it’s a stunt,” and there have been a lot of stunts in the industry lately. I’m not sure that’s different than 20, 30 years ago, but I do think that there is a sort of stunt fatigue. That said, we’re telling this story because this made sense. This was not simply an issue of “How can we put these three characters together?” and let’s hammer something into place. This is Mark doing the Omega Drive story, and this led us very organically to, “Wow, Frank would really, really, like to get his hands on that and what he could do with that could be pretty impressive.” And then that by definition sort of led to the policy of “Under no circumstances do you give Frank the nuclear launch codes; especially if you are Peter Parker or Matt Murdock.” Because you know what he’s going to do and there is a moral obligation there to not let him.
AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #6 inked preview art by Marco Checchetto
Marvel.com: It sounds like the best, truest definition of an event.
Greg Rucka: I hope so! I sincerely hope the readers say, “It’s a good story, and I want to read it. I want to know what happens here.” That, more than anything, else is what matters. And that’s the other thing: Mark and I are on the same page about this; we want to tell a good story. I have to say I’m really excited about it and I think it’s going to kick all sorts of tail [Laughs]. It’s been a lot of fun to write, and that’s always awesome.
Omega Effect begins in AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #6, on sale April 11
More on Marvel.com: http://marvel.com/news/story/18073/omega_effect_qa_greg_rucka#ixzz1mWno3LsU