The Web of Black Widow has taken Natasha Romanoff across the world as she hunts someone using her identity to kill various former hits from her time in the Red Room. Now we know the person who has been tainting Natasha’s name is the former Red Room Headmistress, Anya. Now that the true identity of the fake Black Widow has been revealed can Natasha clear her name and repair damaged relationships this latest mission has caused? Let’s find out with The Web of Black Widow #5.
Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Stephen Mooney
Colorist: Triona Farrell
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: While holding Natasha Romanoff at gunpoint Anya says she was hoping that the Avengers would take out Natasha but taking her out herself will help the new Red Room she is creating. Anya goes on to reveal she has watched how Natasha has cut ties with all her friends. Natasha asks Anya what she has done.
Anya reveals that she had a special virus made of Epsilon Red’s (what helped Natasha break free of the Red Room’s clone control during Tales of Suspence #100 – #104) produced out of Natasha’s DNA. She goes on to say that this virus was designed to block Natasha’s access to her implanted memories.
Natasha thanks Anya for giving her all the details and blinds Anya with a flashbang. Natasha then proceeds to quickly disarm Anya.
Iron Man suddenly appears, revealing he recorded Anya’s confession. Natasha then asks Hawkeye if he is still alive. Hawkeye signals thumbs up.
Anya is left in disbelief the Avengers would help Natasha. Natasha reveals that she actually planned things out with every Avenger teammate she met during this period of hunting the fake Black Widow. Natasha says she did this because she knew she was being watched.
It is then shown through a flashback, at an Avengers Safe House, Natasha tells Tony about the woman that is following her and asks if he knows how she lost her memories. Tony says there are multiple ways that it could’ve happened but his money is an inhibitor in Natasha’s clone body. Natasha decides to let things play out to see what she can discover.
In the present, Bucky Barnes and Yelena Belova show up, revealing that they were in on Natasha’s plan from the beginning. Natasha says she knew Anya would predict that she would play into the spy game the Red Room raised them on so she did the one thing Anya couldn’t predict: trust her friends.
Anya freaks out and starts firing her guns on Natasha, Bucky, Yelena, Hawkeye and Iron Man. She then jumps off the roof. Natasha quickly gives chase to Anya on her own.
While chasing her down Natasha calls Anya out for always being second best and always being alone. Natasha and Anya then commence to fight one-on-one. After a long battle Anya is able to get the upper hand and starts choking Natasha out. As that happens Anya is hit by Captain America’s shield from behind. This gives Natasha the opening to knock Anya out with Captain America’s shield.
Natasha tells Captain America she had things handled which Captain America does not doubt.
Sometime later, Tony says that while they know when Natasha’s memories were corrupted the process to unlock them will cause her to be in a coma for some time. Natasha says she hopes Bucky’s people can keep Anya contained while she is out.
Tony then thanks Natasha for trusting him to help her. Natasha says that trust is a tool that is effective if you know how to use it. Tony says that Natasha can never just say “Thank you.”
Tony then begins the process to unlock Natasha’s memories. As Natasha falls asleep she tells Tony “Thank you.” End of story.
The Good: The Web of Black Widow #5 has been a roller coaster ride through Natasha Romanoff’s history in the Red Room and as an Avenger. We’ve seen Natasha be put through the ringer as she has fought against her former friends and allies through this journey. All the conflicts that Natasha was put in turn out to have a great payoff that speaks to how the character has evolved over the years.
Where Jody Houser succeeds in most is making the ending of The Web of Black Widow speak to who Natasha Romanoff has become now. While Natasha was trained to rely on herself and only use people to her advantage. Though she has maintained her lone wolf persona we’ve seen how through all her relationships with the Avengers and other characters that she has come to understand the value of relying on others.
Houser puts that evolution on full display here with how Natasha reveals that she knew Anya was the one that was trying to destroy her image and kill her. The way it is all done works in showing how Natasha has evolved as a spy in a world filled with super powered people. Things aren’t as simple as they used to be with how the world has changed since Natasha was trained by the Red Room. To Natasha’s credit she has been able to adapt all her training to be able to continue to be a successful spy and superhero in this period of time.
Natasha’s way of outsmarting the former Headmistress of the Red Room also goes to show how Anya has failed to evolve with the times. Even though Anya was using some incredible technology to try to bait Natasha into situations for the Avengers to take her out her methods were old school. They were so old school that Anya just showed Natasha and the world how outdated her spy methods are now. She failed to evolve with the times when it comes to mentality and that is the biggest reason she lost at the end of the day.
An important part in the how successful The Web of Black Widow #5 was all goes to how Natasha calls Iron Man, Bucky Barnes, Hawkeye and Yelena Belova her friends. These aren’t merely acquaintances to Natasha. Each person in Natasha’s life that she is still connected with is a person who she cares about. That care has led her to have trust that she can create this secret plan that Iron Man, Bucky, Hawkeye and Yelena will understand what role she wants them to play.
That made the final payoff of Natasha thanking Tony for helping her regain her lost memories an even stronger note to end The Web of Black Widow on. It wraps up the character arc that Natasha has been on throughout this series as we’ve seen how her friendships have made her the person she is now. The “Thank You” she says to Tony all goes to speak to that fact. It opens the opportunity for Natasha as Black Widow to rejoin the Avengers or another team sometime in the future.
Stephen Mooney delivered a lot of solid artwork throughout The Web of Black Widow #5. Mooney’s artwork was at its best during the action sequences. The double page spread of Natasha and Anya fighting as Black Widow’s was well done to show both characters skills. And along with Triona Farrell coloring, Mooney was able to get over how well executed Natasha’s plan was during the flashback scenes.
The Bad: Nothing
Overall: The Web of Black Widow #5 ends the latest adventure that Natasha Romanoff went on in a satisfying way. Jody Houser showed a strong understanding of who Natasha was during her time in the Red Room and who she has become as the superhero known as Black Widow. If you are looking to learn more about Natasha Romanoff’s character in anticipation for the upcoming Black Widow movie I recommend checking out The Web of Black Widow when it comes out as a trade paperback.
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