Interview: Haden Blackman Breaks Down ELEKTRA

This April, Marvel’s greatest assassin returns with a vengeance. Haden Blackman has been charged with examining the solo life of Elektra in this new ongoing series, part of the All-New Marvel NOW! lineup. Elektra is a character with a lot of history and a ton of baggage, at times a villain and other times a hero, and Blackman was kind enough to discuss what readers can expect from the new series with Comicosity.

Elektra_1_CoverAaron Long: Thanks for your time, Haden! Let’s start at the beginning, how did you become involved with Elektra?

Haden Blackman: It actually happened fairly quickly. Stephen Wacker reached out to JH Williams III and me about working on Elektra after Zeb Wells, who had been slated to write the book, had to step away due to his television commitments. Unfortunately, Jim’s Sandman schedule prevented him from collaborating on the series, but after a few discussions with editor Sana Amanat at Marvel, I was able to pull together a pitch and outline that returns Elektra to her roots while also putting some new challenges in front of her and taking her to some unexpected corners of the Marvel Universe.

AL: Elektra is a complex character with a lot of history in the Marvel Universe. What about her drew you to working on the title? Is there a particular era or run featuring Elektra that resonated with you?

HB: I’m always looking for writing gigs that will challenge me in some new way, and I felt that Elektra would be an amazing challenge because so much of who she is, what she’s known for, is wrapped up in her relationships with Daredevil and the Hand. I knew it would be challenging to figure out what she really wants, what she’s trying to overcome, how she might change outside the influence of either of those two relationships.

In terms of influential Elektra stories, aside from her original appearances in Daredevil, I gravitate towards Elektra Assassin and Zeb Wells’ Dark Reign version of Elektra.

AL: Elektra has been out of the spotlight for awhile, save for being a member of the Thunderbolts. Can you discuss her return to the Marvel U in a solo capacity, and what readers can expect from her in this series? Will we be seeing an assassin, pure and simple, or an anti-hero searching for retribution?

elektra-002-mike-del-mundo-coverHB: When the series opens, Elektra is realizing that she has allowed herself to be defined by others her entire life — from her father, who dictated that she train in martial arts, to Matt Murdock, to The Hand and even Bullseye. Rather than take an easy out — retire or try to become a hero or something else she is not — she embraces what she does best and returns to the life of an assassin. But her first contract requires her to find Cape Crow, a legendary assassin of assassins – and bring him in alive.

AL: Who will Elektra be up against in this series? Will her past be back to haunt her or will she be facing new challenges and foes?

HB: There’s definitely an old foe from the past who will threaten her, but in a very unexpected way… In the first arc, Elektra will be racing against several other assassins also after the bounty on Cape Crow’s head. These will be a mix of existing and new characters, and will include a very twisted nemesis for Elektra.

AL: You’ll be working with Michael Del Mundo on the series, can you discuss your collaboration and the work you’ve seen come together so far?

HB: Since our first phone call, I knew that Mike and I would click. He’s really passionate about the character and wants to explore a lot of the same things I do — exotic locales, a wide variety of opponents, Elektra’s grace and physicality, and the dark corners of the Marvel Universe. I’m blown away by his character designs, especially those of Cape Crow and our new villain, and his panel designs are ridiculously good. I love Mike’s two-page spreads early in Issue 1, showing Elektra in motion and drawing parallels between dance and martial arts; later in the issue, he actually tops those by mirroring the action with the new villain, subtly connecting the two characters while also highlighting how different they are.

AL: Any final teasers or spoilers for your upcoming run on Elektra?

HB: I’m really excited about Issue 2 because we’re pitting Elektra against two of my favorite characters — Scalphunter and Lady Bullseye, who have teamed up to hunt down Cape Crow as well.

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