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Tag Archive: Black Widow series review


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.

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In the same way that Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye series took us by surprise as the best new series of 2012 (and hasn’t let up in 2014), Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto’s Black Widow monthly comic book series is proving to be at the top of the 2014 titles.  Strange that the duo of Hawkeye and Black Widow is well-known to be a second tier partnership within the Avengers, yet they are the stars of some of the best monthlies the Marvel universe has to offer.

The Black Widow series follows Natasha Romanova and her attempt to atone for her past sins as a mercenary, assassin, general all-around “bad guy.”  She selects missions these days very carefully.  Her goal is making money but not hurting anyone in the process.  And that money goes into trust funds and pays off her web of back-up operatives around the world—nothing in her plans is about profit-taking.

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That doesn’t mean she won’t be tapped for S.H.I.E.L.D. or Avengers projects from time to time.  Former agent and now director Maria Hill (who you’ll recall is played by Cobie Smulders in the live-action Marvel universe) brings her in on a few missions.  They make a great team.  Edmondson has a great feel for Romanova.  In the same way Fraction was able to show the personal side of Hawkeye, Edmondson scratches the surface of what makes this lethal heroine tick, but her character shows great depth.  Yet as she says at the beginning of her series “my full story will never be told”.

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