Black Widow #3 (of 5) – Review

Black Widow #3
Writers: Sylvia Soska & Jen Soska
Art: Flaviano Armentaro
Published by Marvel
Release Date: March 27, 2019

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.

We last saw Romanoff on the hunt to eliminate the one man responsible for torturing little girls for “No Restraints Play” – a club that shows live video footage of these heinous acts. Amidst her investigation, a new Prince has been crowned in Madripoor (after the last one was murdered), and he promises to bring ‘lasting peace and unity’ – essentially a friendlier city full of love, which is interesting considering this is a town made up of villains and people who do bad things. Unmoved by these new promises, the Black Widow heads out to gather intel and finds her culprit who bears the ‘No Restraints Play’ tattoo. While trying to eliminate him, Natasha is stopped by none other than Madame Masque.

In issue #3, writers Jen & Sylvia Soska take a different approach towards uncovering the truth in Madripoor. The issue is less action-packed and concentrates on Natasha’s undercover work. To discover the truth regarding this new prince and ‘No Restraints Play’ abuser, she heads to the Prince’s party to get closer to the action, but she goes undercover as someone else.

When Natasha arrives at the party, she runs into plenty of villains that would easily be able to tell it wasn’t her. But Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow, is an expert. Readers get to see a side of Nat that confirms how great of a spy she is. She isn’t just a great combatant, she’s intelligent and able to mimic the actions and voice of the one she’s personifying. The dialogue establishes this well, and readers can expect Nat finding intricate ways to get out of trouble once she finds herself in difficult situations throughout this issue.

As the story progresses, more is shown to enhance the world of Madripoor. Interestingly, it’s a city full of scum and people who do terrible things. However, it’s actually quite vibrant and full of life and energy. Part of this reason is because the villains who inhabit this city feel like they actually belong to a place to call their own. And if that was enough to get the inhabitants of Madripoor excited, the new Prince delivers on his promise of prosperity and love. It’s an interesting twist to the storyline and sets up another exciting avenue for Natasha to pursue.

The tone throughout this issue is well balanced. The Soska sisters have comfortably established how dark this story is and will continue to be. It makes for an exciting read for long-time fans of the Black Widow and newcomers alike. Furthermore, Flaviano’s art and Gandini’s colors are more electrifying this time around, which counters the dark plot. However, it appropriately showcases just how backwards this town of villains is. But it won’t be that way for much longer if Natasha Romanoff has her way.

In the end, Black Widow #3 continues with the magic that this team has created since issue 1. Natasha Romanoff might be dead to most, but she’s a presence that is still after justice – just in her own way. But with the ending of issue #3, her pursuit of truth and violence to unleash her anger might come to an abrupt end thanks to No Restraints Play’s tricks. Stay tuned for Issue #4 to see what happens next on this exciting, dark journey of discovery, growth and justice.

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