dianariggslegs asked: Black Widow and Hercules. I have all the questions about them. All of them, like why and how. But recommended reading would suffice.
There— really isn’t any. Natasha/Hercules is seriously a minor footnote in maybe four issues of comics published in 1978. They weren’t actually together during the Champions, they were lazily paired in a single-panel flashback after the team broke up and both were sent off to Avengers, where they bickered a bit for like two issues and then half-heartedly split. Modern writers have kinda made it seem like a bigger deal and/or something that actually happened while the Champions were together. But even that flashback stuff tends to be one-liners about someone’s sexual prowess rather than any insight into why that relationship worked.
The issues where Black Widow and Hercules are together are part of an Avengers arc called the Korvac Saga, which is one of those classic Avengers stories that I am pretty lukewarm on. It’s still sort of a must-browse if you are interested in the big Avengers plotlines over the years. And for a story that I actually like, I’ll throw in Incredible Hercules: Against the World, which makes a good argument that whatever else they make really cute bros.
Anyway, since there was really no explanation or development there and never really has been, that leaves me free to make up my own. When Natasha came to Los Angeles and stumbled into the Champions, she had just left Matt, and was still reeling from that relationship. Before that, she had Clint, and then that was complicated by Alexi— what I’m driving at, here, is that she’d fallen in a lot with broody types that led to a lot of heartbreak and melodrama and Natasha eventually leaving. It’s also worth noting that the Black Widow of this time period had still only recently defected, that the Cold War still informed Marvel’s storytelling, and Natasha was a heroine who was maybe sure of herself, but still searching for her place in the world. (She would find it, I’d argue, in later decades.)
So, with all of that, it sort of makes sense that she’d seek out a fun fling. It’s not really like her, but it’s the exception that informs the rule. (Nevermind that Hercules at the time was written oddly broodypants himself, Herc should be the fun god, so there!)