Issue #1 – 6
$3.99 | 24pgs
Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, Matt Wilson
“How many more jobs… How long will it take… I don’t know if I can do it… Even if I could forgive myself… This is what I am now. And you’ll never know who I was before.”
While not a direct continuation of the Nathan Edmondson written, Phil Noto penciled Black Widow series that preceded this current volume, Mark Waid and Chris Samnee continue to showcase the daily life and activities of Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow. This series proves that Black Widow is a viable character who can more than carry adventures of her own away from her Avengers teammates.
The key thing that Noto did, and now Waid has done, is to give Natasha non-super powered associates and enemies with their own agendas and specific rationales for wanting Natasha on their side or resting under a tombstone. It is through these individuals that the reader is provided insight into how Natasha goes about her routine, receives assignments or is herself targeted for whatever purposes.
The villainous foil for this first story arc is ostensibly the Weeping Lion, a shadowy operative who seems to be having his own strings pulled by another entity. All of which becomes crystal clear by the first story arcs end. The Weeping Lion kidnaps then blackmails Natasha into betraying S.H.I.E.L.D., tasking her with the retrieval and provision of information concerning the Dark Room – a new incarnation of the Red Room that created the Black Widow. Undertaking this task leads to Natasha being wanted by S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Elder and the affiliates of the Weeping Lion. Things really heat up when the ghosts from her past come to haunt her as she comes to realize that the Black Widow program is not through with her yet.
Action and espionage are the crucial components of this series with back alley meetings, globe-trotting to exotic locales, shootouts, explosions, and double-crosses aplenty, Natasha is once again proven to be a bad ass! Waid and Samnee truly do right by Natasha, placing her in the perfect high octane story-line that displays her vast skill-set and the skills of the art team.
Samnee gives the world Natasha occupies a very detailed minimalism. The lines are clean, bold, streamlined with enough roughness to give buildings, guns, and the armored suit of a guest appearing Iron Man an edge. Matt Wilson once again switches his style up, employing a simplified palette that is colorful but not vibrant. This isn’t a world of bright colors; this is a side of the Marvel universe where dark things happen.
The finale of this first story arc cements the transition of the status quo for Black Widow. No longer an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., with all of her secrets exposed, Natasha makes some moves that position her as a potentially very powerful force unto herself in the espionage world. It is a nice set-up for her to become a more pro-active character, acting to element threats with more expediency and without the red tape of working for the government.
The story told in these issues would translate well to the small screen – Netflix are you hearing me!? Until then you can pick up the first six issues of the series or the trade collecting this opening story arc.