Black Widow among best series and characters of 2014

Black Widow Noto

Review by C.J. Bunce

The one-two punch of Nathan Edmondson’s creative storytelling and Phil Noto’s stunning painted covers and panels have yielded twelve issues of a great comic book series this year.  Black Widow gives us an entirely new look at the assassin turned Avenger.  She’s decisive and merciless when she needs to be.  Yet, troubled by her past, she’s on a quest to atone for past sins even if she doesn’t collect all her bounty along the way.

Accompanied by her lawyer-handler Isaiah, an adept operative in his own right, and S.H.I.E.L.D. director Maria Hill, Natasha Romanova aka Black Widow is a powerhouse superheroine–without the need for any superpowers in a banner year for kick-ass women genre characters.  In the past year she has partnered with Director Hill, The Punisher, the wolverine/mutant X-23, and even Bucky Barnes–the Winter Soldier, and taken on both Hawkeye and Daredevil.  All the while she has bested the bad guys on every continent, even if at first she can’t determine who to trust.

Noto Black Widow promo poster

You often encounter series that are weighted toward a stronger writer or stronger artist, but here the balance is perfect.  Edmondson presents the coolest version of Black Widow yet with an engrossing story.  Noto’s painted panels, his 1960s color palette, his realistic Natasha and other recurring characters, and his city scenes from San Francisco to Prague are memorable.  His Natasha is every bit as cool as James Bond on film–a spy you’d both love to be and love to be with.

Black-Widow excerpt

Humor and surprises abound, like a guest appearance by Anderson Cooper, with each monthly issue a surprise.  She’s a loner yet she has friends if she’d just let them in, including an errant cat.  Away from the Avengers she’s not so much superheroine as the Equalizer.

The trade paperback Black Widow Volume 1: The Finely Woven Thread, available now at Amazon here, collects Issues #1-6 of the series and All-New Marvel NOW! Point One, and Black Widow Volume 2: The Tightly Tangled Web, available for pre-order at Amazon here, collects Issues 7-12 and Punisher issue 9.

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