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Fuck Yeah, Black Widow

Fallaces sunt rerum species

Здравствуйте from FYBW, your one-stop tumblr shop for Black Widow news, no-prizing, and oversaturated .gifs. Some MCU, mostly comics. Often overwritten. Always overthinking.

Black Widow created by Lee, Rico and Heck & is © Marvel Entertainment.

Natasha: Sooner or later, Frank, someone was going to get the drop on you. The Avengers aren’t a fan of yourse, but I have my own agenda. And I know who bought the boat. SHIELD tells me this guy is in a Costa Rican prison. I want you to go find out who’s behind all of this.

Black Widow #9 was the Punisher crossover, and we got a scene of Natasha pulling a gun on Frank that cut abruptly to the next day at SHIELD HQ. If you read the companion Punisher #9, you saw that Natasha put Frank in prison. (Damn Avengers.) In Punisher #11, though, we get the whole story: Natasha recruited Frank to find out more about the ghosts she is chasing.

Beyond the obvious crossover, Edmondson has been building little links between his books. The Howling Commandoes, a black ops team in LA hunting the Punisher, are appearing in an upcoming issue of Black Widow, for example, and he’s said that some elements from these books will appear in Deathlok as well.

From Black Widow #9, by Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto, & Punisher #11, by Edmondson and Mitch Gerads.

Natasha: You’re a good fighter. One of the best, I’m told. You’re also supposed to have a gift for strategy. But tonight, I didn’t see it. You let your emotions rule.
Laura: My… emotions.
Natasha: Don’t look so surprised. You’re not immune to anger. No one is. But you’re not a blunt force object, either. You can be better.
Laura: You. Have watched… me.
Natasha: I’ve had my eye on you for a while. I don’t ignore potential.
From X-23 #20 by Marjorie Liu and Phil Noto.
Crossbones: Shoot her!

One of the things I love about Natasha having her own series is she can actually beat the bad guy every now and again. Natasha has an established aura of competence that sometimes, paradoxically, means writers bring her in to establish the competence of their characters. Natasha gets knocked out in three panels to set up a fight between Daredevil and Echo, gets captured by HAMMER to facilitate hero moments for Pepper Potts and Maria Hill, and though she bailed Bucky out constantly, fifty issues of Captain America appearances never saw her defeat anyone more notable than faceless AIM mooks.

Because Natasha is so omnipresent, I think there’s been this assumption that these showings get balanced out by the foes she defeats on the regular. Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor get dragged into a lot of cameos, too, and not all of them are flattering. But Natasha doesn’t have her own demons to fight, every month. Or, she didn’t. So seeing her beating Crossbones almost as an afterthought was pretty nifty.

From Black Widow #9, by Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto.

Maria: I can’t put SHIELD on this. Not officially.
Natasha: This is a complicated web, Maria. We’re tangled in it.
Maria: Then I suppose we’ll continue to need a spider who can navigate the threads. You’re the only person I can trust right now.

This scene sets up an interesting and kinda unremarked dichotomy. Chasing Chaos, Natasha has run into familiar faces from her life’s other sides— Frank Castle and especially Matt Murdock, who question whether they can trust Natasha or Natasha can trust herself. But she is chasing Chaos because Maria Hill asked her to. Because she’s the only person Maria can trust.

From Black Widow #6, by Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto.

Natasha: I have spent over a month hunting you! I will follow you! I will find you! And if not me, then others! I found you here, do you not understand? If you do not surrender yourself, this can only end in death! Mine or yours, but one of us! Castle! I will not stop pursuing you— I will never stop—

In honor of this week’s Punisher/Black Widow crossover, I thought I’d post a scene from one of my favorite Natasha comics of the past few years, Punisher War Zone #2. Greg Rucka’s excellent run on Punisher was a meditation on the power of missions— the way a mission can transfigure, make someone more than human, and less. In this story Natasha spends a month tracking a nearly wordless Frank Castle to a remote jungle. But Frank loses her when he runs through a camp of child soldiers. She stops; she can’t abandon them until she knows they’re taken care of. Frank knows the score, knows the mission, is the mission in ways she cannot let herself be.

"Pick your battles."

From Punisher War Zone #2, by Greg Rucka and Carmine di Giandomencio.

You’ve reached the voice mail of the Black Widow, ex-superspy and crime fighter extraordinaire. I’m out fighting crime right now, please leave a message.

From Black Widow: The Things They Say About Her #2, by Richard K. Morgan and Sean Phillips.