Natasha: Scream all you like on the inside. Fight to move. Pray. You’re in my prison now, Maki. Remember the next timeyou come after my friends, and their families. Killing people is easy. Making them suffer is an art.
More on yesterday’s discussion!! Marjorie Liu played around with the “does things other Avengers wouldn’t” spooky music in her Black Widow run, in ways much more cruel and unusual than a couple of brain bullets. But it’s my favorite series for a reason. These moments of bone-chill are balanced with moments of kindness and frailty. Natasha crying for a man killed in front of her, a man she had no special esteem for and she was threatening moments before. Natasha’s a lot of things, and she’s more human for not fitting them all together neatly. But Liu’s Natasha is frightening, too. And not because she can turn her emotions off and do the unspeakable. But because she can make herself do the unspeakable and feel every second of it.
From Black Widow #4, by Marjorie Liu and Daniel Acuña.
ilikebluehorses replied to your photo: Mixed feelings, really. I think Cullen Bunn, has,…
When did Cullen Bunn write her? It was not in Avengers 11.
Captain America & Black Widow #636-640: the panels I posted, immediately after talking about Cullen Bunn. (& also Fear Itself: Black Widow which I was going to talk about for contrast but then I had already tangented too hard.) The relevant thing here is that Bunn’s “evil” AU Natasha acted much the way 616 Natasha did in Hickman’s Avengers #11.
(and I just edited the original response to make that a bit clearer, hopefully)
Mixed feelings, really. I think Cullen Bunn, has, lately, done some solid character work on this issue, teaming Natasha up with an “evil” alternate universe version of herself, against an army of interdimensional slavers. Evil Natasha kills them all, and Our Natasha has problems with that.
Our Natasha: I’ve been tracking Kashmir Vennema for months. The war-mongering. The assassinations. But their deaths… that wasn’t your descision to make. You’re not—
Evil Natasha: Relax. It’s already done. You don’t have to feel the least bit guilty. You can go to your grave with a clear conscience.
Note that the bad Natasha taunts her counterpart with language of guilt.
Ben: S’funny. I been the Thing now for a lotta years, and most o’ the time I hated it. All I wanted wuz ta be plain ol’ Ben Grimm again. But… today I did sum’pin’ no one else could’a done by pullin’ that bomb up. I saved a hunnert million people. I maybe saved the whole blamed world. Me, the Thing. If I’d beenBen Grimm, Reed, Suzie, Franklin, Alicia— they all woulda died. Kinda makes the pain worth it. Sheesh! I’m a philosopher a’ready.
Natasha: I got SHIELD— they’re on their way. And Ms. Masters is fine. I also found some vintage champagne— I think we’ve earned a glass… Za zdorovia, Mr. Grimm.
Ben: Mazel tov yerself, Widder-woman.
Chris Claremont was probably the best at managing huge casts of characters and giving them significant, meaningful interaction. (As a consequence he’s probably also the king of dropped plotlines.) Superhero comic books are a strange sort of fiction based more on character than plot. Writers, storylines, artists, costumes, these things come and go, but trademarks are forever, and the character and character brand is still at the core of what makes them tick.
That’s why what Ben says here is important: I did something no one else could have done. Natasha doesn’t echo him, but we know it goes the same for her too. In this whole smorgasboard of Avengers X-men event hopping, it’s, uh, really easy for the same twenty characters to appear in dozens and dozens of comics. But they don’t always appear, if you know what I mean. They’re not always doing something only they could do, saying something only they would say. The best team books, the best team-up books, always provide the space needed to make every character interesting— not likeable, not victorious, but interesting— and to be interesting, you have to be unique.
Trust me, if I could buy one Natasha appearances a month where she got the kind of love she did in Marvel Two-in One #10 c. 1975 I would take that every time over six appearances a month where she drives the Avengers plane and kicks one (1) goon in a big group fight scene. And if this frees up the comic time to give other cool characters (I know Marvel has some characters that don’t appear in any movies…) meaningful appearances, bonus points.
Marvel Two in One #10, by Chris Claremont and Bob Brown.
Anonymous asked: This isn't a baiting question; but these for some reason people assume that Natasha, and Clint, both sleep around. That's easily disproven, but I was wondering if whether or not YOU believe they have ever been ~intimate~ with one another. If they have, whatever; it's not really our business, is it? I wonder though, because if you look back at the period where they WERE involved it almost reads like Natasha seduced him, promising her goodies once they killed Iron Man. That never happened, so...
Yeah, I assume they’ve slept together, given they were involved for, idk, five years our time. I’m not sure where this comes from, other than the totally understandable “comics are hard”, but I see a lot of people assuming that Clint and Natasha’s romance only lasted for those four Tales of Suspense issues. But the plotline carried on into the Avengers, which, for me, is where things actually got interesting, and they didn’t break up until Avengers #76. (For some context, Clint joins the team in Avengers #16.)
I mean, all the usual caveats apply: as Silver Age characters, Clint and Natasha went from zero to true love in the space of like, five panels, and that true love was mostly comprised of chaste touching, melodramatic glances, and monologuing. Clint’s out-of-costume persona also wasn’t particularly developed— he didn’t have a first name until Avengers #63! But given the length and depth of their relationship, the fact that they were talking about marriage at one point, and what we’ve learned about the characters since 1968, I think it’s pretty reasonable to assume they’ve slept together, regardless of whether or not they “sleep around.”
FWIW, in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes II, sort of a modern retelling of that era of Avengers comics, Clint and Natasha are share a room with a single bed and fight in their underwear:
I don’t really take this series as continuity gospel but it’s a corollary at the least!
And the hours pass, and the Widow bites again. And again. And again. The odds had been a hundred-to-one against her when she started. Now they are seven-to-one.
Little Man: Stop her! Stop her! She’s only a lousy woman…
Natasha: Wrong, little man. I am the Black Widow…
Natasha: …and that’s more than enough to handle the likes of you.
Game, set, match.
Yeah, Natasha just took out literally a hundred guys. But I think this whole sequence works because it doesn’t make her invulnerable. We see her get captured at the beginning of the story, and spoilers: she needs Ben’s help to take down the last remaining bad guy. Natasha can’t fight them off by brute force, she has to use every scrap of cunning, she has to devise ways to corner them in small groups, she has to disappear when it’s convenient. Her weapons run out of gas, she has to make every shot count. But it all works because of that, because she’s taxed to the brink, because you need to be to make impossible odds count.
In short this is basically how Natasha should always be written. Not necessarily fighting off a hundred goons!! But her vulnerability should help reveal her strength, not someone else’s.
From Marvel Two-in-One #10, by Chris Claremont and Bob Brown.