Black Widow has quickly become one of Marvel’s standout titles. Kelly Thompson has delivered a fun take on Natasha Romanoff as she has been placed in a mysterious marriage that was orchestrated by some of Marvel’s biggest villains. The reason for needing Black Widow off the board and how that has led to some mistakes by the same villains has been fascinating to see play out. The last issue of Black Widow showed that whatever is going on is about to be revealed as a fabrication as Weeping Lion tried to kill Natasha’s new family. Let’s see how things go now with Black Widow #4.
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artists: Elena Casagrande and Carlos Gomez
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire and Federico Blee
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: James (Natasha’s fiancé) does everything he can to wake up Natasha. Natasha finally wakes up and is happy to see that James and Stevie (their son) are okay.
Over in Arcade’s Control Room, Viper calls out Weeping Lion for risking everything they have been trying to do. While Viper wants to walk away from their plan Snapdragon and Red Guardian mention that they have been placed in a corner with what Weeping Lion did so all they can do is go with the “Kill Black Widow” plan.
Back at Natasha’s house, Natasha promises to tell James everything once things calm down. James understands and hides with Stevie.
Natasha quickly takes out another Hydra agent that tries to sneak up on her. Natasha then proceeds to fight all of the Hydra agents in the house, knocking them all out in swift fashion.
One of the Hydra agents makes it to where James and Stevie are hiding. Yelena Belova appears from the shadows and takes out the Hydra agent before they can do anything. Natasha reappears and thanks Yelena for her help.
Natasha and Yelena then escort James and Stevie to a safehouse that Natasha had set up in San Francisco. James asks about what is really going on.
Natasha reveals when she was knocked out of a building window (happens in Black Widow #1) she was caught by Viper and Hydra. From there she was taken to a lab where scientist that were from Hydra or AIM spent several weeks implanting false memories in Natasha and James, who they already kidnapped. She goes on to say that the scientist also used their genes to create Stevie. After that everything that went on in their lives was real while they were being watched though she could never figure out who was involved.
James is shocked and angered by all the information he was given. Natasha offers to let James take Stevie. James says he loves Natasha and can’t believe she is telling him to walk away from her. Natasha does her best to build James’ confidence that he have a great life with Stevie.
Bucky Barnes and Clint Barton appear and say hi to Natasha and James.
Hours later Black Widow, Yelena, Winter Soldier, and Hawkeye are going over their plan to strike back against Hydra.
Natasha then takes James and Stevie to get some rest. James says he felt lucky to have every moment he did with Natasha. Natasha says she feels the same way.
Suddenly, a sniper from a nearby rooftop unloads several shots into Natasha’s safe house right where James and Stevie were resting. All the shots cause a big explosion with James and Stevie in the middle of it much to Natasha’s horror. End of issue.
The Good: Black Widow #4 does not mess around with getting us to the next stage of the first arc of this series. Kelly Thompson does a great job injecting the story with a sense of drama that never feels forced. Everything that happens from character choices to interactions that are had all happen as the story plays out naturally.
What made Black Widow #4 work so well was the fact that Thompson treated everyone like the veteran heroes they are supposed to be. Even when there were some traumatizing and shocking things going on we see how everyone, especially Natasha Romanoff, is able to maintain their composure. It was a refreshing change of pace from this type of story that further emphasized how all these characters have been through so much.
This also added more emotional weight to the genuine connection that Natasha felt with James and Stevie. Even though their history together was fabricated Thompson puts over how settling down like this and having a real family was something Natasha wanted. She did come to feel connected to both James and Stevie even when she understood they were being watched after having implanted memories.
Going with this route does create a greater question if what Natasha believes is what really is going on. Because everything seems to be going on as staged even though Natasha confidently states what is going on. There is an element in how Thompson has Natasha point out how James was already in Hydra’s control when she got captured that indicate more about the character.
In the middle of all that Thompson does a fantastic job continuing to show Natasha as the badass Black Widow we know her to be. Seeing her wreck shop as she took out all the Hydra agents was a spectacle. It is a reminder of why so many villains would want Black Widow off the table. When she is on her game there is no one more dangerous in the superhero spy world than her.
It was also good to see how Yelena Belova, Winter Soldier, and Hawkeye were ready to back-up Natasha as soon as she needed their help. It shows that there is a strong bond between them. The back-and-forth they all have worked well to create a chemistry with them as a group that spoke to each of their personalities.
All that said, it’ll be interesting to see how the villains will continue to react to Natasha trying to ruin all their plans. We already see that they are not messing around as they killed James and Stevie right in front of Natasha. That was a good choice as it shows how seriously Viper, Weeping Lion, Snapdragon, and Red Guardian are taking things. Even with their alliance becoming rocky their combined effort is still something to fear with how many resources they have at their disposal.
While I normally want one artist working on a comic Black Widow #4 did a good job handling having Elena Casagrande and Carlos Gomez sharing art duties. What made it work was the fact that Elena Casagrande handled the present-day scenes while Carlos Gomez handled the flashback scenes. Assigning them with two different timelines created a clear style for when we were in the present and the past. They worked well together to give a different look that still felt like it belonged in the same world.
And shout out to Casagrande continuing to knock it out of the park with all the action sequences in this series. Casagrande does a fantastic job giving a great sense of how smoothly Natasha moves from one move to another as she took out all the Hydra agents without a waste in motion.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Black Widow #4 is yet another example of how this series is quickly becoming one of the best comics Marvel is publishing. Kelly Thompson does a great job delivering a story that has emotional weight while also showcasing Natasha Romanoff as the badass superspy we know she is. The artwork by Elena Casagrande and Carlos Gomez further emphasized that fact as everything comes together to tell a story that gets you more invested in what is going on.
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