Black Widow #5 (Marvel Comics)
It’s no secret by now that Mark Waid and Chris Samnee have the magic touch. From Daredevil to The Rocketeer to now Black Widow, the two have now earned their place in the halls of “great writer and artist pairings” in the Comic Book Hall of Fame. Waid and Samnee’s Black Widow has been a very different book than the one that Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto presented to us before Secret Wars, but in a lot of ways, it’s just as good as that series.
Like in previous issues of Black Widow, we’re still being given little pieces of what exactly Natasha Romanoff has done to get her into so much hot water with S.H.I.E.L.D. If this were any writer other than Mark Waid, I’d start to become very annoyed by this point. However, Waid is able to use this bit of giving out small bits of information masterfully. We get just enough information to help the issue, but not so much that the central mystery is ruined. For example, this issue the only real insight we gain is that whatever Black Widow has done that her enemies are keeping over her is going to piss off her Avengers teammates a lot. And now that they’ve leaked some of the information to Tony Stark, he’s on his way to get some answers from Natasha.
As good as Waid’s script is, this issue is, once again, Chris Samnee’s artistic playground. Samnee does a phenomenal job with this issue, much like every other issue of Black Widow, Daredevil, or literally anything else he draws. Samnee’s panels and layouts are filled with tons of dynamic action. It’s so good that Samnee even pulls off a thrilling car chase in a comic, something that’s practically unheard of.
Marvel’s current output for comics isn’t great (to put it mildly), but Waid and Samnee’s Black Widow is one of the few truly stellar titles that the publisher puts out. It’s a tense, smart spy thriller in the Marvel Universe, and demands all of your time and money. Buy it!