So, with Captain America: The Winter Soldier fast approaching and the interviews are hinting something I’ve long-ago suspected: Natasha probably isn’t secretly 80 in the MCU. Enter the fandom flip out.
It doesn’t bother me, though, because the notion of Natasha’s agelessness is such a recent edition to her canon, both necessitated and enabled by the weirdness of comics. Comic book time is an unpinnable thing. And the Grayson/Rucka plotlines, some of my favorite Black Widow stories, were written before Natasha became immortal. Most of her 50 year history was written before Natasha became immortal. So I know her stories can survive without it.
Remember, when they made up this immortality retcon, it wasn’t for Natasha’s sake at all. Uncanny X-men #268 introduced the idea, but didn’t explain it, to use Natasha in the background of a Wolverine/Captain America team-up. Wolverine Origins drew a nonsensical connection between child-Natasha and its own developing master villain. Captain America #27 drew a connection between Natasha its own developing protagonist. A connection, which, by the way, isn’t used to make Natasha more competent in combat, but the opposite: Bucky explains that since he trained Natasha, he can beat her. And nowhere else, really, is her early-days training with Wolverine and Winter Soldier namedropped to make her more formidable.
Other writers took the immortality retcon and made it say something about Natasha, used it to make her past more of a monster. I like the immortality retcon because it expands on her basic themes— the cost of survival, the monstrous past— and drives them up to eleven. It paints them in comic book colors. And I like it because I know, in spite of timeline vagaries, that Black Widow really was the product of the Cold War, that she has been around for fifty years. Ageless.
The movies are another beast, though, with more defined and shorter timelines. Everyone is a rookie, compared to their comic book counterparts. Captain America fought the war for two years, not four, and is still fresh out of the ice. Nick Fury got removed from the Howling Commandos entirely, probably to make timelines more coherent. It makes sense they’d do the same with Black Widow, who is still likely the most experienced member of the Avengers, who was working SHIELD for however long before Iron Man came to their attention, who was working elsewhere however long before that.
Adaptation is a tricky business, and as a comic fan you have to stomach choices being made to cut out your favorite scenes, and sometimes your favorite characters. (Wasp!!) Sometimes it turns out for the best, sometimes it turns out like the Daredevil movie. But the execution matters just as much as the choices themselves. How they characterize Natasha, how they let her navigate her past, that matters more to me than when they set her birthday.
quoting-the-quote asked: Does her belt have any function? because i've never seen her using it, and theres some bars on her back between the circles that i don't get a reason for that lol
The bars that you mention on the back are extra batteries for her Widow’s Bite. If you notice, they’re the exact same size as the sections on her wrists. It’s all spelled out in the black jumpsuit’s very first appearance, back when superheroes had to explain getting dressed out loud to no one in particular and with lots of exclamation points:
This chain belt I’ve added will be more than decorative! It’ll hold my spare web-line… and store the powerlets for my Widow’s Bite! There! With my modified wrist-shooters in position, I’m ready for anything!
Here in this story the circles hold extra wire, too. In the 1982 original Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, the belt was described as having her belt of “metallic disc-cartridges” was described as containing “a plastic explosive equivalent to 4 pounds of TNT. So, it’s also full of bombs.
Neither of these details are remembered particularly often in comics, especially since the look of her belt varies so much from artist to artist. Sometimes the belt develops strange new powers: in Fear Itself: the Black Widow Natasha has a signal jamming device hidden in one of the belt sections.
I, for one, would like to see her carry around some kind of anti-mindwipe spray.
Panels from Amazing Spider-Man #86.
usachavez asked: Ok, so this may be a weird thing to ask, it's certainly off topic, but I'm thinking about making a character-dedicated FY blog and was just wondering if you have any advice for making one? This is a great blog and an amazing resource that honestly inspires me to make one of my own, which is of course why I'm asking for whatever advice or tips that you'd like to share. But if you feel that you dont I completely understand and there're no hard feelings. Feel free to make this private or public.
Nah this is super flattering so of course I’m going to answer it. I asked some of my friends who also run FYeahs if they had any tips, too. There was a lot of repeated advice so I’ll lay out the big ones:
I’ve been drilled in internet marketing and worry sometimes about being strangled by buzzwords, but I can tell you that rule #1 of blogging is find yourself a niche. Here at FYBW obviously my niche is Black Widow, but I think it’s also the approach I take, the things I bring to the table, the way my brain that can cross-index issue numbers but not remember where I put my car keys. And that translates: I would have a sizable amount of followers just for running a blog related to the Avengers movie, because that plays huge on tumblr. But I have even more followers because I can offer something other Avengers blogs can’t, which is my strong POV about comics.
So my real big piece of advice is this: make the blog you want to visit, and the blog you enjoy updating. If you love making graphics, make graphics. If you love reccing fanfic, rec fanfic. Share your point of view about a character you love in a way that makes you happy. Because running a blog like this should be a pleasure and not a chore, and spoiler alert: you’re never going to keep the thing updated if you don’t like updating. And that is where you’ll find your niche.
Natasha: What are you two idiots doing?
Clint: You’re the one doing all this cloak-and-dagger stuff with the hat and the jacket and your fancy-ass dossier. Are we being tailed? Are we being watched?
Natasha: What “cloak-and-dagger” stuff? This is just hat.
From Hawkeye #15, by Matt Fraction and David Aja.