Black Widow #1 (Marvel Comics)
Natasha Romanoff has had quite a rough few years. After dying in Secret Empire, she was resurrected by the same organization that turned her into the spy she is today. Lost without a purpose, Natasha doesn’t feel like she deserves to be an Avenger anymore, but knows that she needs something to keep her “killer instincts” at bay. And under writers Jen and Sylvia Soska and artist Flaviano, she may have found it on the mean streets of Madripoor.
After assisting Captain America with taking down a group of terrorists on New Year’s Eve, Natasha refuses to return to the Avengers, preferring that the world believes her dead. After dying and being resurrected, she’s still trying to process everything in her life, and her place in the world. So she goes to Madripoor, where she meets Tyger Tyger (thanks to their mutual friend Wolverine). Seeking a mission that would best suit her abilities, she’s given the task of hunting down a dark web group that’s kidnapping children and putting them on an online torture site. It’s just the thing for Natasha to be able to let loose on the enemies who need it, but it may be more than she bargained for.
Jen and Sylvia Soska are more well known for their horror movies, but the two have a pretty good handle on crafting a comic. The only real misstep here is the first half of the book where Black Widow and Cap are teaming up. It’s a perfectly fine story, but feels very disconnected from the main plot of the series. There’s no connection between this scene and the later ones in Madripoor, other than giving us some insight into Natasha’s headspace. But aside from that, the Soska sisters show a real confidence in their writing, and the Madripoor plot is pretty compelling.
Flaviano’s art is an interesting mix of Ed McGuinness and Goran Parlov. His style is cartoony, but not so much that it takes away from the very mature themes in this series. Flaviano is able to convey the spy action of the opening moments of the book really well, and there are some great subtle emotional moments to his art later on the book too. He really makes Natasha look a little beaten down and confused over her life currently, but he also makes her look like a complete bad ass as well.
If all goes well, Black Widow could be the book that brings a much needed spy thriller back to Marvel’s shelves. And judging from this first issue, there’s definitely a chance that the Soska sisters have what it takes to make a Black Widow comic to rival her series from Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto from a few years ago. Now that the dominos are all in place for the story, I’m really curious to see how it all shakes out for Natasha.