Black Widow has had some of the best solo comics in the last decade for Marvel. With writers like Marjorie Liu, Nathan Edmondson, Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, and Jody Houser, there have been a great number of Natasha Romanoff stories that have been told. Now it is Kelly Thompson’s turn to tell the next adventures for Natasha Romanoff as the Black Widow. Thompson is having a solid run on Captain Mavel and has done a ton of other work that has help built her resume as one of the growing talents at Marvel. Having enjoyed a lot of her work I’m excited for what Thompson is planning to do with Black Widow. Let’s find out with Black Widow #1.
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Elena Casagrande
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: After Hawkeye (Clint Barton) cuts the power to a building Black Widow easily makes it past all the guards inside. She reaches a room where she immediately blows open a safe. She steals a hard drive and leaves.
Hawkeye shoots Black Widow a line, which was close to hitting her showing he may still be mad at her, so she can make it to a nearby building’s rooftop.
Black Widow then meets up with Captain America as Hawkeye has already left. Black Widow hands Captain America the hard drive she stole. Captain America thanks her for helping him after a last minute call. Black Widow then disappears before Captain America can ask her if she needs a ride.
Natasha Romanoff goes back to her apartment and notices the light is on. Natasha sneaks into her own apartment. As soon as she opens the window a bright light blinds her. Natasha is then suddenly shot by tranquilizer darts that cause her to fall out of the window.
Three months later at a construction site in San Francisco, Natasha meets up with her crew and gives them some coffee for being late. She goes over the plans with the construction crew. Natasha notices something falling off and catches it before it crashes on the streets, much to the crews surprise. Natasha then leaves the stunned crew to finish their work.
While walking through the city and talking to someone on the phone Natasha notices a motorcycle on display that catches her eye.
Elsewhere, Clint is flipping through the channels on TV and is surprised to see Natasha casual walking in the background of a news report. Clint texts Bucky Barnes a picture of Natasha on TV. Clint and Bucky talk as this is the first time Natasha has been spotted in months. Clint doesn’t think Natasha is undercover because if she was she would not have been caught in the background of a news report so casually.
Natasha rides the motorcycle she saw earlier through the city. She eventually makes it to a nice house in the hills
A guy is seen waiting for Natasha and is surprised he didn’t know she knew how to drive a motorcycle. Natasha says she didn’t know that about herself either but it felt like riding a bike, though she ended up wrecking their dinner. The guy says that he’ll have to “punish” her for that which Natasha is glad to hear. Natasha jumps into the guy’s arms and they start making out.
Elsewhere, Arcade is seen talking to some mysterious people who he asks if they can kill Black Widow. End of issue.
The Good: Black Widow #1 does exactly what all first issues of a new series should do. Kelly Thompson shows how well she understands who Black Widow is and where she is at this point in Marvel’s continuity. In the process a mystery is set-up that immediately catches the readers attention to learn what is going on.
Opening Black Widow #1 with Natasha Romanoff already in the middle of a mission was a great tone setter for multiple reasons. For one, Thompson gives artist Elena Casagrande the space to draw an action sequence that makes Black Widow look like a total badass. It’s an immediate reminder that Natasha is the best spy in the world.
This opening sequence also establishes how well Thompson understands Natasha Romanoff’s character. That is shown with how Thompson keeps the dialogue and inner monologue to a minimum. Natasha is not like Captain Marvel or Deadpool, who are known for bantering. Natasha is a very controlled character who keeps conversations to a minimum.
Which we see with how her conversation with Captain America goes and how she identifies that someone is in her place. We don’t get a walkthrough of her process. Thompson allows Natasha’s actions to actions speak for themselves.
Positioning Black Widow as a freelancer spy does put into question why Arcade is targeting her. There seems to be more involved in this plot that took Natasha off the grid for three months than just another game for Arcade. The way he spoke about looking to kill Natasha seems to indicate that there are bigger things to play. Which works to build up the people whose identities are left unidentified be questioned for their own motives.
This set-up of Natasha being missing also allows Thompson to further explore the current standing our lead hero has with Clint Barton and Bucky Barnes. Outside her connections to the Red Room, Clint and Bucky are two of Natasha’s most important supporting characters. Recent events have left Natasha’s relationship with both on shaky terms. I’m glad that Thompson is addressing this with how we see that Clint is still pissed with how Natasha has treated him. Keeping up continuity in this way allows Thompson to play of Natasha’s history while opening the door for further character exploration for everyone.
As mentioned earlier, Casagrande delivered great artwork that is strong fit with the spy world that Black Widow is involved. The choice by Casagrande and Jordie Bellaire to have red lighting for the opening action sequences was an especially nice touch. It made the action have a unique look while showcasing Black Widow as a complete badass. The rest of the issue looked great as the tone changed to a more vibrant setting in San Francisco that established how Natasha’s life has changed with whatever happened to her.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Kelly Thompson, Elena Casagrande, and Jordie Bellaire kick off Natasha Romanoff’s newest adventure with a strong debut issue. A strong tone is set as Black Widow #1 is inviting to new readers that want to get into Black Widow’s character while respecting Natasha’s recent history to peak long-time readers interest. If you are a Black Widow fan or someone that enjoys spy stories this is a comic book you should pick up
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