Secret Avengers Spotlight: Black Widow
“She really is the perfect for this team, and though she doesn’t want the responsibility of leadership at this point in her life, she is an invaluable member,” says writer Rick Remender, who takes over SECRET AVENGERS alongside artist Gabriel Hardman this February with issue #22.
Ah, so that’s why Hawkeye is leading the team even though Natasha is obviously way, way more qualified.
I actually don’t have a huge issue with Clint leading the team— there’s a lot of story potential in throwing someone at a job they’re obviously not quite right for. It’s the same reason I accept that no one’s ever thought of Natasha in all theses SHIELD leadership upheavals: she’d actually be good at the job, ergo there’s less status quo shakeup. That Clint’s getting a much bigger 616 push despite equal billing in the upcoming movie, despite their comparable fanbases and origins, while Marvel’s simultaneously giving every female lead the ax, is just unfortunate context. People are sort of zeroing in on this Secret Avengers thing because it’s the ideal place to make Black Widow a focus character, and instead they’re trotting out purple-shades Hawkeye. But really, the problem isn’t that purple-shades Hawkeye is the focus here, but that he’s also a focus in a lot of other books, and Natasha isn’t.
But I hope that, if they do stop and try to explain why not Natasha while they’re running around explaining why Clint, that the answer goes deeper than “she doesn’t want to” because that’s sort the story of how every Avengers chairwoman has stepped down for Captain America. Natasha’s good at leading, and she likes being in charge. She’s not the one who is holding herself back. The last time she led a team was during Dark Reign, and there’s been no obvious status quo shake-up for her since then.
There’s some stuff about her relationships with Clint and Bucky at the link, too, worth reading.