Advance Review: Black Widow #1


It’s been a long time coming, but now that the only female Marvel superhero in the movie world is one Natasha Romanoff, she’s finally getting her own ongoing series. Black Widow #1 by Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto is part of Week One of the All-New Marvel NOW kicking off 2014, and it’s a good start.

There’s an inherent challenge in giving Natasha her own book, though, and it has nothing to do with the fact that she’s a female character at a company who historically hasn’t been good at female-led series. It has everything to do with the fact that she’s a super spy who has to be isolated due to the nature of her work, which she views as her atonement. “Red in the ledger” and all. What works for Captain Marvel – wacky neighbors and a plucky cat – won’t work for the Black Widow. She’s a master of disguise who sometimes kills people, and she has to stay as anonymous and solitary as possible… well, outside of her Avengers work and such. That’s the feel that Edmondson and Noto create with their inaugural issue.

We see Natasha showing off her skills, we get our first supporting character with her accountant Isaiah, we see some of her moral barometer, and we even see her resisting the ‘give her a cute cat’ gambit, all while maintaining this sense of solitude and feeling the weight of an impossible mountain of guilt that she will be climbing for the rest of her life. Edmondson crafts the right tone for a first issue, although there’s nothing really unexpected yet, and Noto’s art is just lovely to see, featuring a Natasha who can look right through you.

Black Widow #1 is a solid start. Let’s hope they can find a way to give a supporting cast to a woman who makes a point of supporting herself and no one else.