- After reading Black Widow #1, I am honestly shocked that Natasha doesn’t have a movie already. She fits so perfectly into contemporary cinematic action tropes. I imagine that’s part of why she was chosen as first female Avenger in the MCU over more obvious choices like Scarlet Witch, although part about what’s interesting about her as an Avenger is how she doesn’t fit in all the big cosmic stuff and has to survive in a genre that’s not her own, which also allows her to bring strengths to the table you wouldn’t expect.
- This is the first time I’ve read an actual sequential art piece by Phil Noto—I mainly know him from covers and illustrations—and I’m really impressed. His style combines the best aspects of post-Brian Hitch type “cinematic” comics with more expressionistic styles—I can see some 80s Miller/Janson and some Sieniewicz in there. This comic reminds me a lot of movies like Ghost Protocol and Skyfall—“realistic” and grounded but also stylish and artistic. And that’s really well suited to Natasha as a character—someone who’s all about making use of appearances.
- Also—given the discussion of continuity that’s going around—I appreciate how Edmondson made use of the Black Widow’s history. It’s accessible to readers who have never read a Black Widow comic before and mainly know her from the movies. Which is good, because uh, I’ve never read a Black Widow comic before and I mainly know her from the movies. (I’ve been reading superhero comics for what feels like forever but generally gravitate towards the more cosmic stuff.) At the same time, the Black Widow’s history is important, since her relationship to her past is a big part of what she’s all about. But you don’t need to know the specific details of the Red Room and her origin, only that she has a past—it’s ugly and messy and buried beneath the surface but threatens to break loose at any moment. This series could go on without bringing up specific details of that past and not lose anything, but it wouldn’t be too alienating to bring it up, since we’re uncovering that past gradually. That’s how this genre of story often works, and it’s not hard to fit the history that already exists into the framework of this kind of story organically, rather than awkwardly imposing on it from outside.
All in all I’m really impressed. And it was a done in one too—I don’t feel any pressure to pick up the next issue, but I still really want to.
Natasha: Now I’m going to find the Punisher.
Logan: It’s a big world. Good luck with that.
Natasha: Logan… I don’t use luck.
For about a year now, Greg Rucka has been writing about the Punisher by not writing through the Punisher.
I’m a great fan of Chris Bachalo’s art, I’m a great fan of ladies punching robots. So you’d think I’d be a great fan of this comic, but alas and alack, I can’t quite get there. I read the issue, and I was definitely entertained— it’s a quick read and a cute story. But something gnawed inside and kept me from believing this book to the fullest.
And then, sometime after the eighth time the spoiler panels cycled through my dash, I figured it out. This issue ran through basically every cliché of girly team-up!! Rogue and Natasha were both written as generic sassy ur-superwomen with accents slapped on.
Here, let me explain.
In a luxurious penthouse high above the East River, the mysterious Madame Natasha whiles away the hours like any other international jet-setter…
You probably wanted me to talk more about Winter Soldier but instead here’s several rambling paragraphs about seldom-reprinted issues from the early 1970s. I do what I want, Thor!
Like most of Marvel’s women who haven’t carried a book in the long-term, which is to say, all of them, Natasha has a reputation as someone who cannot make up her mind. She’s never had a book work, goes the thinking, because writers can’t decide who they want her to be. But though Marvel has overcomplicated her origin in recent years, her basic concept remains remarkably steadfast. From beginning to end, Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow is an elite Soviet spy who defected and found a new life as a superhero. Her stories deal with identity, redemption and control, the hazy undefineds of a four-color world.
There’s one big exception to that— Amazing Adventures #1-8. And it’s a curious exception, because those Amazing Adventures issues are Marvel’s first spin at Black Widow: Solo Star. They’re Marvel’s first spin at a solo heroine, period. So for that, anyway, I think they’re worth talking about.