Natasha Romanoff was an ex-KGB assassin, ex-agent of S.H.I.E.L.D, and at times, an Avenger. Then, during Marvel’s Secret Empire event, she was murdered by an evil version of Steve Rogers, Captain America – Hydra’s very own sleeper agent. However, she was brought back to life by The Red Room with implanted memories; and she’s not happy about it! Forced to live as a clone, Romanoff now walks among the living as a dead woman and as The Black Widow…
Black Widow #1 (2019) is the start of writers Jen & Sylvia Soska’s mini series for the titular character. “This is actually a stand alone adventure for Natasha that focuses on her doing what she does best.” And what Romanoff does best is use her rage to get the job done by any means necessary. After a small mission with Captain America, Natasha realizes that the festering violence & rage, and her killer instincts are begging to be unleashed. To that end, she travels to the one place she could welcome her animalistic desires – Madripoor.
In this opening issue, the Soska sisters deliver an interesting conundrum for the Black Widow. It’s quickly established that Natasha is in personal limbo: she can’t quite give up her heroic antics, but she enjoys and welcomes her “by any means necessary” tactics. This idea certainly works for such a character, considering her history and now her return-from-the-dead anger and rage. And with this book, Romanoff has the potential to shine as the ex-assassin she once was.
At times, the tone is unbalanced throughout this issue, but it’s certainly representative of the exact state of mind Black Widow is in. But it’s a good start to reveal to audiences exactly how this book will go in its short five issues. For those just getting back into reading about Black Widow, it’s an easy read with a pace that matches Natasha’s frame of mind. And with great supporting characters and a mission too hard to turn down for Natasha, readers will find that this series can only get better.
Paired with this opener for the series is Flaviano’s art and Veronica Gandini’s colors. The duo demonstrate sequences that showcase Natasha’s skill as a gliding fighter through intricate movements and dodging. Interestingly, there are vivid and rich colors throughout the issue to contrast the background palette and the violence and carnage that is bound to come. But it’s a beautiful inclusion that perhaps foreshadows the vibrant change that Romanoff will undergo.
In short, Black Widow #1 is a good start to what appears to be an intriguing series that welcomes introspection from Natasha Romanoff. As she sets out to uncover the truth in Madripoor, the series promises great action, beautiful art and a story that showcases Nat’s strengths as a fighter and her growth as a person. And it’s exactly the kind of story she deserves.