Comics

Tales of Suspense: The Healing Begins

Matthew Rosenberg sends Hawkeye and Winter Soldier on a personal mission!

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This December, Matthew Rosenberg takes over a Marvel title that hasn’t seen shelf life since the late 1960s. That would be TALES OF SUSPENSE from the writer and artist Travel Foreman. The original run of the series featured work by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee introducing characters like Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and The Mandarin—so no pressure!

Taking place after the events of Secret Empire, TALES OF SUSPENSE #100 showcases a team-up of Hawkeye and The Winter Soldier with the duo interested in finding the person responsible for killing the late Black Widow’s enemies. Did we mention both men used to date the Widow?

Arriving on December 20 for the first time in nearly 50 years, TALES OF SUSPENSE #100 promises a triumphant return for the genre-themed Marvel title. To get a better idea of this watershed moment, we hit up Matt who told us about taking over a piece of history, the friction we can expect between Bucky Barnes and Clint Barton, and the cathartic process of rebuilding the Marvel Universe.

Marvel.com: Right off the bat, TALES OF SUSPENSE is pretty attention grabbing. What was the process like of writing a story to match the title?

Matthew Rosenberg: Well, first of all I had to go back to my original story idea and add more suspense! But seriously, TALES OF SUSPENSE has a rich history at Marvel. It was the place where Black Widow and Hawkeye first appeared. It’s where Iron Man first appeared. M.O.D.O.K. and The Mandarin too. And it’s the title that would later become CAPTAIN AMERICA. But more than that, it speaks to a time when Marvel had genre themed books, which is awesome. I think that is the thing we are really trying to lean on here. TALES OF SUSPENSE is a love letter to these old, thrilling super hero stories that have these wild cliffhanger endings. It’s our pulp serial story full of spies and super heroes, intrigue, and excitement.

Marvel.com: The TALES OF SUSPENSE label was originally a showcase for the talents of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Don Heck. It must feel pretty cool to be getting a shot at the same title.

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah, it’s surreal for sure. Stan Lee. Roy Thomas, Gene Colan. One of the things I love most about working at Marvel is the legacy of it all. The idea that these are characters and stories that existed before I was born and will continue long after I am done with them. Even on a book like SECRET WARRIORS, which has a relatively short pedigree, I am still carrying on the work of so many great creators. But, for a title like this, a book that hasn’t appeared on racks since 1968, it’s really a piece of history that I am adding to. To be honest, I try not to think about it too much or it gets kind of overwhelming.

Tale of Suspense #100 cover by Marco Checchetto

Marvel.com: The idea of Hawkeye and The Winter Soldier teaming up to track Black Widow’s “ghost” is awesome. Can we expect some friction between the two? If so, is it a machismo thing among two ex-boyfriends or something more?

Matthew Rosenberg: Friction may be putting it lightly. They don’t like each other. In a lot of ways, Hawkeye and Bucky have very similar backgrounds—bad guys turned good, they both died and came back, they have both carried multiple mantles in their time as heroes, been on multiple teams. But in the end they approach things very differently. And that is what is at odds here: How they approach a mission, what they are willing to do, that is a big thing in the book. Hawkeye’s lighthearted approach that masks his determination and intensity. Bucky’s quiet ferocity that hides his self-doubt. All of that plays out in really fun ways. They are the Odd Couple of super hero team-ups. It’s dysfunctional. It doesn’t work well. But they keep going because they both want the same thing.

And then there is the element of Natasha. They both cared about her, obviously. But this isn’t some sort of romantic competition. Not really. This is two heroes trying to defend the honor and the memory of a teammate. And obviously who they are and how they felt about her gets tangled up in that in some ways, but mostly they just want to do right by Natasha and who she was.

Marvel.com: I don’t want everything to be spoiled too early, but how much can you give away on whether or not Natasha or really dead?

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah, she’s dead.

Marvel.com: How does it feel to be coming off the heels of Secret Empire? What kind of vestiges from that major event—other than Natasha’s apparent death—are we looking at here? 

Matthew Rosenberg: I think Secret Empire did an amazing job of setting up the coming status quo in the Marvel Universe. We have these characters that everyone knows, that everyone loves, and what Secret Empire did is just push them. It tested each and every one of them. Probed them, tested them, looked for weaknesses. It was this tremendously dark time, this real low point for the Marvel Universe. And now we get to rebuild it. That’s what I love about these characters. They get to the edge and then they come back. They get pushed farther than they have before, and then they come back. And that is what we are doing here. This is Bucky and Hawkeye trying to get closure, trying to come back. I think that’s really important for them, for readers, and for me too. I want to see how they come out of this, how Secret Empire hurt them, and who they will be on the other side. I hope that, after all they have been through, all the trials and tests, we find that they come back stronger than ever. That’s why we all look up to them, right? Well, now we’re going to see that up close. This is the story of Hawkeye and The Winter Soldier healing, or trying to. And I really hope people are as excited about that idea as I am.

Matthew Rosenberg and Travel Foreman delve into TALES OF SUSPENSE #100 this December!