It was a sad day when I learned that Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s Black Widow would be coming to an end with issue #12. Waid and Samnee’s Black Widow has been one of the best comic books Marvel has put out on a monthly basis since it started. They’ve done a lot to help expand Natasha Romanoff’s world beyond her Avengers connection. That exploration has further developed the secret spy part of the Marvel Universe. So with that said, let’s see how Waid and Samnee end this series with Black Widow #12.
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Chris Samnee
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Recluse takes out a string and start choking out Black Widow while insulting her. She then says that Black Widow will watch SHIELD die.
As Recluse orders the six girls to activate the device that will destroy SHIELD. After activating the device Black Widow thinks quickly and shoots the clock that is counting down the activation. This stuns Recluse and the girls. Black Widow uses the distraction to break free from Recluse and activate the emergency flood device in the room.
The water starts flooding the room. Black Widow is able to grab onto some railing while Recluse is knocked out by rush of water flooding the room.
The six girls gather around Black Widow and get ready to take her out. Black Widow tries to reason with the girls, trying to convince them that Recluse does not care about them.
Recluse suddenly recovers and yells at Black Widow to stop trying to poison the six girls. Black Widow reminds Recluse how she is like the Headmistress and only sees the girls as weapons. Recluse tells the girls to decide who they are going to go with.
One of the girls pulls a lever and the floor Black Widow and Recluse are standing on collapses onto the water. The girl then tells the two “No. You Decide.”
As the platform floats on the water Black Widow and Recluse start fighting it out. Recluse uses a special blade but Black Widow is able to counter and is able to grab Recluse’s special blade. Black Widow compliments the blade and then stabs the ground so she does not fall over a waterfall, which Recluse falls into the water below.
Black Widow uses all her power to get back up and starts walking through the water system. Black Widow is able to make it back into the room she was in earlier. Still feeling the effects of her injuries Black Widow uses all of her power to climb up a ladder before the water gets to high.
She eventually gives into her injuries. Before Black Widow falls into the water the girls grab her and take her to safe ground. Black Widow thanks the girls for saving her life.
Recluse suddenly shows up, pissed and smack talking how Black Widow can never defeat her one-on-one. Black Widow fires back saying she knows she can win because she learned less from the Headmistress than Recluse did, making her a better fighter but lesser assassin. Recluse believes that is what makes Black Widow a “relic.”
Black Widow stands up and says she is there to save the girls . Black Widow starts walking away and gives the girls a chance to choose their own path.
After Black Widow leaves, Recluse turns and asks the girls to pledge their allegiance to her and she will forgive them. The girls then surround Recluse.
The scene shifts to outside the lab. Black Widow walks out alone but is soon joined by the six girls who are carrying out an unconscious Recluse.
They all reach the area where Maria Hill and some SHIELD agents are. Maria jokes about how much money Black Widow has cost SHIELD with her last few weeks of actions. Before Black Widow can speak her case Maria says they know all about what she did to protect SHIELD. Maria then thanks Black Widow.
One of the SHIELD agents brings over a tablet with Tony Stark facetiming. Tony reminds Black Widow that she has teammates that she can trust to help out. He then tells her that he is personally financing funding for the six girls to get an education. Tony then tries to talk to Black Widow about going on vacation with him but Black Widow quickly hangs up on him.
Maria agrees with Tony about Black Widow having people she can trust. Maria then walks back to where the girls and SHIELD are. Black Widow looks on and smiles as the girls embrace some of the lab scientist. End of issue.
The Good: The latest Black Widow series ends exactly how it started with Natasha Romanoff body language being what tells the real story where she is mentally. The final shot especially with Natasha smiling as she shows how the events that kicked off this series have come full circle. That sense of peace, even if it is for a moment, is all Natasha wanted and deserved after what Weeping Lion, Headmistress and Recluse put her through.
The big thing that Mark Waid and Chris Samnee continued to emphasize is how Black Widow does things on her own terms. Even when she isn’t in control of every given situation it does not change how Natasha goes about her business. The final confrontation with Recluse after their fight is the best showing of this. Because rather than continuing the fight like Recluse wanted Natasha left the conclusion of their battle in the hands of the six girls, who she worked hard to save from the direction Recluse was taking them. In doing so Natasha was able to do exactly what heroes are supposed to do as she provided the six girls an inspiration for what they can be.
It’s through setting that example that Natasha was able to find the peace with her past and conflict with Recluse. The honesty she showed when she called herself a better fighter while Recluse was the better assassin was a perfect summary of both characters. In her own way Natasha was explain how Recluse living in the past is what keeps her back while Natasha is able to move forward with her own life. That simple statement made seeing Natasha smile when she sees how the six girls interact with SHIELD like normal people.
Through all of this Recluse proved to be a viable villain for Black Widow to face off against. Seeing her go from the one in control to being the one whose work completely unravels was exactly what she had coming to her. It is a definitive conclusion for all the things Recluse has put Black Widow through. And having the six girls turn down Recluse demands was a much bigger victory for Natasha than the results of their fight in the floating platform.
Speaking of the the floating platform fight, Waid and Samnee once again did a fantastic job choreographing a intense fight scene between Black Widow and Recluse. The fight scene once again displayed Samnee’s fantastic ability to be able to tell the story of the fight with his artwork alone. Having it be a silent fight until Black Widow grabbed Recluse unique sword and pin her down made it even better.
It’s also in these moments when Samnee’s artwork does all the speaking for Black Widow and everyone in this issue that make this issue even better. Samnee’s artwork being able to tell the story is best shown towards the end when the six girls surround Recluse and Recluse can do nothing but collapse in defeat. That help show how much emotion has been packed throughout the series as Black Widow and Recluse rivalry has grown.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Black Widow #12 was an excellent conclusion to Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s run on Natasha Romanoff’s latest ongoing series. As sad as I am for the series coming to an end it is great to see that Waid and Samnee were able to execute an ending that closed the book on this chapter in Black Widow’s life in a satisfactory way. The place where Waid and Samnee leave Black Widow provides plenty of opportunities for other creative teams to do fun and exciting things with the character in the greater Marvel Universe.