Natasha: But you showed them, didn’t you? Just like you think you’ll show me, the Avengers, whoever else you target.
Imus: If you hadn’t been foolish enough to keep files on your friends, we wouldn’t be here right now. I had no intention of coming after you, or the Avengers. I had more… pressing concerns. Until I discovered that sweet little secret hiding in your belly… so I thought, why the hell not? If I destroy you, I destroy the heart of the Avengers.
I thought I’d elaborate, because this isn’t an aspect of Name of the Rose I see talked about much. Imus Champion, before this story, wasn’t much of a Black Widow villain: his grudge was with the Avengers. Marjorie Liu remakes him by extracting themes of mortality and immortality, drive and ambition, “mere humanity”, stuff that’s essential to what she wants to say about Natasha. Mere humanity is the one thing Imus Champion is trying to overcome, and the one Natasha, lady of loss, cannot afford to lose.
But look at how Imus monologues here: if I destroy you, I destroy the heart of the Avengers.
It’s true in so many senses, but radically different from the (often equally true) notion of Natasha as a hero apart, at the sidelines, in the shadows. Look: through decades of tangled continuity, Natasha has placed herself at the center of a web that includes so much of the Marvel universe. She has led gods into battle, and given young women their costumes, and touched very many lives. And look: Imus’s plan is to turn against her. If they did that, if they were low enough, they really would lose their heart.
From Black Widow #4, by Marjorie Liu and Daniel Acuña.