What is The Omega Effect? That was certainly the big question on our minds heading into today’s Marvel Comics “Next Big Thing” phone call, as the publisher had sent out a teaser image with that title, featuring designs that seemed to indicate some sort of crossover between Spider-Man, Daredevil, and The Punisher. All that makes sense, of course, as all three are edited by Stephen Wacker; and all three are Marvel’s street-level New York heroes.
Well, turns out we were on the money, as Marvel announced a three part crossover running through Avenging Spider-Man #6, Daredevil #11, and The Punisher #10 called... Wait for it... The Omega Effect. The art chores are going to be handled by Marco Checcheto, wtih Steve McNiven, Marcos Martin, and Marco Checcheto on covers, respectively. On the call were Wacker, Punisher writer Greg Rucka, and Daredevil writer Mark Waid.
“Both Mark and Greg in the past few months launched Punisher and Daredevil, and they’ve become two of my favorite books I’ve ever worked on,” said Wacker. He continued saying that Rucka and Waid chatted with Wacker starting in San Diego, trying to find a way to cross the two titles over. They finally hit on Daredevil’s possession of an FF insignia, which makes Daredevil, “The most dangerous man alive.”
“Matt Murdock has basically conned five of the biggest criminal communities in the Marvel Universe,” continued Waid. “He’s conned them out of a unique super-science hard drive. Its the hot potato that Daredevil has; he understands sooner rather than later, all five gangs are going to come gunning for him. He’s trying to beat the clock, and that’s when The Punisher comes knocking on his door.”
Rucka picked up saying when The Punisher finds out about the drive, he thinks, “I can keep it safe, and I can use it to kill lots of people.”
Spider-Man, meanwhile, comes in at the request of Reed Richards, who also wants the insignia back. “What we’ve likened the story to is The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” said Waid. “Its different people, from different walks of life with similar goals who try to figure out a way to work together. But as the story progresses, different allegiances arise.”
“So they team up... How long is that going to last?” said Rucka with a laugh.
“Part of the reason for putting Spider-Man in this story is to babysit these two guys, and part is to eat popcorn and watch when they collide,” added Waid.
Rucka chimed in saying that the story tied in seamlessly with what they were doing in each of their individual titles, and that for the Avenging Spider-Man issue, they’re actually alternating pages while writing.
Rucka then talked about how he had written Matt Murdock before, but it was always in the, “Why haven’t I committed suicide?” part of his life. He said that the changes in Murdock’s character under Waid have made the character more fun to write. Regardless, he feels that, “There’s something quite beautiful and elegant about how Mark never lets you forget the blessing and the curse,” of his powers - that he has these heightened senses, but is still blind.
Continuing the mutual love-fest, Waid said that, “What Greg has done with Punisher, he’s given me a level of interest and understanding in a character I would not have given you a nickel for.” He continued saying that Daredevil has reconciled that he can never reform Frank Castle, but since The Punisher has an accomplice now, he’s hopeful that there’s a chance for redemption through her. Spider-Man, on the other hand, “can’t abide Frank.” Wacker added that Spider-Man is very much the window character for this story.
Wacker, talking about Marco Checcheto on art, said that the penciller in a workhorse, and will be doing art on all three issues even though each comes out in April. “It was worth rejiggering the schedule a bit to get one visual take, as opposed to three artists,” said Wacker.
Asked about favorite moments, Wacker said, “There’s a moment where the Punisher is going to learn you don’t leave Matt Murdock alone with a woman.”
The team then talked a bit about the differences between the two characters, plugging upcoming storylines a bit: Matt Murdock is cheerier, but will be dealing with his underlying darkness in the next year; while Frank Castle will soon get possession of a weapon that makes him nearly bulletproof.
Next, we asked the most obvious question possible: what’s The Omega Effect? Waid laughed, and answered that, “The Omega Drive is the artifact, it’s the thing that’s bringing everything together. It’s not only the contents of the drive, it’s how it brings these people into conflict.”
“This is also a crossover with Geoff and Jim’s Justice League,” joked Wacker.
Asked about villains appearing the issue, Waid quipped, “Well, Darkseid, as we mentioned.” The writers then clarified that you won’t see the heads of the organizations mentioned on the Omega Drive, but you will see a lot of the foot soldiers who don’t want the info - or the fact that Daredevil has the drive - getting out.
As for supporting cast, they'll be on the side, too, though referenced a bit.
Next, the duo were asked who writes the best Spider-Man jokes. Rucka immediately said Waid, without question. "But who has a better sense of what weapons would work in a situation?" joked Waid. "I'm a humorless bastard," joked Rucka right back. We think.
Next up, we asked whether the individual issues will retain the unique tone they each have, or if it will feel a little seamless across the board. "I think we're going to be able to hold on to the tones to a certain degree, that's part of the fun of it," said Waid. "I think the reason these three characters are the best Marvel characters is because they walk the line so easily between different tones," added Wacker. "I still find [Amazing Spider-Man and Daredevil] to be dark books with some of the issues they talk about... I think they straddle the line."
Wacker was then asked whether he thought this could have been a miniseries, and he said absolutely not. "I'm a series guy... They're the standard bearers for Marvel," said Wacker. He continued that there's the added bonus of sending readers to the other series. "If it's really that good, it's good enough for the regular series."
Lastly, the writers were asked if they have the itch to write the other's character more after this. Rucka said he would be happy to write Daredevil again, though Spider-Man still intimidates him, because of the humor. "You're jokes are more hurtful truths about yourself," quipped Wacker.
Here's the full teaser graphic from up top, followed by the covers for the issues. And be sure to pick up The Omega Effect three-parter from Marvel Comics in April!