boofadil asked: So I assume you've probably discussed it before but what are your thoughts on Black Widow: Deadly Origins? I see it doesn't have a place in your recommended reading.
My feelings are long and complicated and touched on in multiple posts the deadly origin tag. Basically, a lot of the flashback sequences reverse much of the agency she displays in the original stories— as a particular example, the scene with Tony Stark, where she’s outwitted and physically dominated by a morally triumphant Tony— in the old comics she successfully played him a few times, and always escaped him, and was never confessing her love for him while he pressed his hand around her neck.
I also do not like the decision to tell her origin story mostly through vague flashbacks to relationships she’s had with men, men who typically sell more comics than her, men who crowd up her page time. The villain’s plot, too, is basically elaborate slut-shaming, coupled with threats of rape and incest, it’s all extremely uncomfortable things to dwell on. I felt that like Richard K. Morgan, Paul Cornell inserted a lot of extra misogyny into her past for the sake of pointing out that misogyny. I realize and understand that the point of it is for Natasha to heroically subvert all this misogyny, to deny that she’s simply a serial girlfriend, the sum of a bunch of Marvel romances, but that is something that I think should be taken for granted. I’m not sure it needed to be said— and if it did, I don’t think there was the page space to accomplish it effectively combined with all else Cornell had to do.
There are things I appreciate about the series, chief among them Leon’s art. But I also like a few of the individual sequences, the themes of Natasha’s closing speech, the way Cornell plays around with history. I like especially that he got rid of much of that terrible child soldier origin, and the twist he did with Natasha joining up with Soviet intelligence to save Ivan’s life. I don’t think it’s all bad. But I do think it’s somewhat hopelessly cluttered, that it makes Natasha’s origin more desperately confusing and less tonally certain than it had to be.
I have a lot of similar misgivings with Morgan’s stuff, but I think Homecoming holds together better as a story. Morgan is also a lot of people’s favorite take on Natasha, so I felt obligated to include it, even if it isn’t mine. General opinion on Deadly Origin is mixed-at-best, and I see a fair bit of angry reaction posts about it, even now.