Writer Mark Waid and artist Chris Samnee had a rather good run on Marvel’s Daredevil that I really need to finish one of these days.
For their next act, they went to one time Daredevil supporting character Black Widow. I think it only ran for 12 issues. If so, I finished off the first half with this volume, subtitled S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Most Wanted.
The series/volume opens with Natasha “Black Widow” Romanov escaping from a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier with something she just stole and making the whole thing look rather easy. Why is the Widow turning on the agency she’s long been associated with if not an outright agent? That’s a good question. Short answer: someone knows all of her secrets and is blackmailing her to get something from somewhere else, and S.H.I.E.L.D. is a necessary step.
But this is the Black Widow. She may not be the mightiest hero in the Marvel Universe or the best fighter, but she is definitely its best spy and assassin. Sure, you may have characters like Tony Stark who can build an advanced weapon suit using stuff lying around some random person’s garage, but Nat has a different sort of intelligence that she uses. Factor in as well a combat style the comic openly compares to ballet, and you have someone who can take out almost anyone and look good while doing it.
So, if this is the first half of the story, it’s not a bad half, but it doesn’t seem to be saying much new about Black Widow. Her opponents for the story only barely appear. Both her past and her present are coming after her, and the way this book ends, it mostly comes down to saying that all of these people have probably made the biggest mistakes of their lives. Blackmailing the Black Widow or trying to manipulate her is never going to work out for any wouldbe blackmailer. But the rest of the book didn’t really grab me all that much. I’d be curious to see how the back half plays out, but not enough for me to rush out and grab it anytime soon.
7.5 out of 10 skimasked agents.