Black Widow #1 Review

by @DocBenway on Jan 9, 2014

Natasha Romanov’s solo series kicks off with a narrowly averted bang and a lack of back story bombshells. Edmondson and company avoid cheap clichés and are well poised to explore the depths of a very compelling character in Marvel’s pantheon.

The Good

There’s an “a” word missing from the tagline across the cover on this book. As Natasha tells her first ‘victim’, she was a bad girl who assassinated her parents, her husband and his lover. We also get the message that she is an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D/Avenger and, according to her business manager; it is taking a toll on her personal finances. That covers the three “a” words in print. Nathan Edmondson is really crafting this as a tale of atonement. I’m glad to see this and hope it continues as a central theme in this series. It certainly is a much higher road than could have been followed. Phil Noto’s rendition of both figures and background is sublime. He sways from the traditional hard black line work and integrates touches of whites and reds that push the characters away from their surroundings providing additional emphasis when needed. His color palate is subdued and his frequent use of tinted washes lends a watercolor-like tone throughout this book. A very promising start to a series that I had high hopes for.

The Not So Good

While it’s refreshing that Edmondson didn’t spend this issue trotting out a synopsis of Black Widow’s past and is focusing on Natasha’s desire to atone for her past, it is unclear where the story line is headed. Readers are treated to some solid action as we watch the Black Widow complete a couple of missions, but there were no hints at some underlying, larger story. This isn’t a huge black mark as the issue was clearly intended to establish the main character. What did strike me as out-of-step was Natasha’s use of an RPG to subdue a sniper. For someone so keenly interested in making up for past transgressions, I’m unclear why they’d risk so much collateral damage to prevent the assassination of some criminal scuzzbucket.

The Bottom Line

This is a beautifully drawn and colored book focused on a vital yet deeply flawed, female character that is more concerned with the nuances of her quest for redemption than the contours of her figure. Quite a refreshing contribution and worthy of your hard earned dollars.

4.0 / 5
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Black Widow #1
Released January 8, 2014
Writer Nathan Edmondson
Artist Phil Noto
Cover Artist Phil Noto

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