The latest Black Widow series is coming off a major achievement as it won the 2021 Eisner Award for Best New Series. This is a big honor that Kelly Thompson, Elena Casgrande, and company have earned. Black Widow has been one of the top titles for Marvel since it started. I’ve been a big fan of the series since it started and its great that it has been recognized as such. But as big of an honor as that is within the world of Black Widow we are right in the middle of Natasha Romanoff and Yelena Belova creating something completely new for the next generation of super spies. What path will this decision by Natasha and Yelena lead to? Let’s find out with Black Widow #9.
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artists: Elena Casagrande and Rafael De LaTorre
Inkers: Elisabetta D’Amico and Rafael De LaTorre
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: Natasha Romanoff is in complete shock as it looks as though Yelena Belova is dead after being shocked in the head. The Olio use this to overwhelm Natasha. Thinking of Stevie (her son) and James (her ex-fiancé) Natasha regains her focus and quickly takes out all of The Olio who are in the room.
Lucy appears and uses her electric powers to bring Yelena back to life. Natasha thanks Lucy for reviving Yelena.
Natasha then gives Yelena and Lucy her spare parachute for them to use when jumping out of the building. Natasha makes the same jump without a parachute. She gets to the ground and quickly gets a getaway car for her, Yelena, and Lucy to drive away in.
Over at The Web hideout, where Anya Corazón (Spider-Girl) is waiting, Natasha and Lucy take Yelena to the infirmary.
Natasha then goes to get Craig out of the room he is in so he can help them out. Craig isn’t sure because of his past. Natasha says she only care about his past as she wants to know if Craig wants to help them against the Apogee. After talking about what the Apogee are doing Craig agrees to help.
The next day Natasha talks to Yelena, Anya, Lucy, and Craig about the antidote that Craig is creating but right now they need to stop the Apogee from the mass dosing of their serum tonight. Natasha says she, Anya, and Yelena will go stop the mass dosing while Lucy stays behind to help Craig in creating the antidote.
Later, noticing that Craig is tirelessly working on the antidote Lucy suggest taking a food break. While they talk Craig reveals that his super power is not just his intelligence but also being able to see the probability of things. He goes on to reveal that Apogee paid him a lot of money to work for him.
Craig mentions that the more Lucy uses her powers the higher likelihood there is for her to burn to death. Lucy says that she still wants to use her powers to help fight the Apogee. Lucy then asks Craig if he could tell her the name of the guy who burned to death because of Apogee’s serum if they all survive this. Craig agrees.
Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff), White Widow (Yelena Belova), and Spider-Girl all head out to the Apogee’s estate.
Inside the estate the Apogee conduct their ceremony to give those in the room power with the serum. Black Widow, White Widow, and Spider-Girl all jump in the middle of the ceremony and take out the Apogee’s Olio group.
Now alone Apogee activates their power to grow in size and engulf their fists in flames to take on Black Widow, White Widow, and Spider-Girl. End of issue.
The Good: Kelly Thompson keeps things moving forward in Black Widow #9 with the story around the Apogee. There is a strong focus on further building out The Web organization that Natasha Romanoff and Yelena Belova have founded. In the process we get a lot of strong character work.
One of the more impressive things that we get in Black Widow #9 is how Thompson continues to portray the focus Natasha has as Black Widow. The opening scene shows this as we see Natasha in a complete state of shock after Yelena Belova’s death, giving the Olio group a chance to jump her. The way Natasha regains her focus and quickly takes care of the Olio group that attack her showcase how she can quickly figure a way out of things. Having the memories of not just Yelena but Stevie power her through works to give importance to the family life we saw Natasha in the first story arc of this series.
From there we get to see Natasha naturally getting into her leadership role of the new organization she has created by quickly creating a plan to take down the Apogee. Natasha finds the best way to use Yelena, Anya, Lucy, and Craig to maximize the resources they have. Recognizing Anya’s abilities and having her join her and Yelena in the field was a nice touch. It shows that while Anya is looking to get mentored by Natasha and Yelena that she is coming into this with experience as Spider-Girl. That experience we see come into play with how Black Widow, White Widow, and Spider-Girl are able to efficiently work together to quickly knock out the Olio.
Thompson also continues to do a great job with the chemistry that Natasha and Yelena share. Both just get into banter that is natural to their interaction. Thompson has then come across as sisters. Having Lucy call this out worked to get this interaction over.
Bringing in Lucy to revive Yelena was a good way of bringing her into the fold more for what Natasha and Yelena are doing. In doing this Lucy was able to prove herself as being someone that can be extremely helpful in the field after getting proper training with her powers. This showcase of her powers made the more personal scene that she is in with Craig give greater depth to Lucy’s character. It all gives off a feeling that we are just starting to learn about Lucy as she has a lot of potential to grow as Natasha’s protégé.
Craig is another character that is being slowly built well. Thompson gives us more insight into who Craig is beyond being a tech expert. This helps make him more into a character that adds long term interest to this series. It is not just his tech expertise that will drive his narrative. There is some form redemption in Craig’s character as he tries to make up for what he did while working for the Apogee.
Elena Casagrande and Rafael De LaTorre continue to work extremely well together. The more issues of Black Widow that Casagrande and De LaTorre have worked together on the better their chemistry as artists is turning out to be. They match their styles so that you don’t notice when the change in art happens. There is a natural transition to the art that makes the focus on the story. The action sequences in particular continue to stand out as we get multiple double page spreads of Black Widow, White Widow, and Spider-Girl in action.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Kelly Thompson, Elena Casagrande and Rafael De LaTorre once again show why their work on Black Widow is some of the best being produced at Marvel. Black Widow #9 is strongly paced with a mix of fun action and great character work for the entire cast of this series. The ending leads to even greater anticipation for how this storyline around the Apogee will all turn out.
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