Writer Mark Waid and artist Chris Samnee followed up an acclaimed run on Marvel’s Daredevil with a 12 issue run on a Black Widow series. I read the first half a while back, and I finally got around to the second.
That one, subtitled No More Secrets, does seem to wrap everything up.
The first volume presented the problem: Natasha was being blackmailed by the mysterious Red Lion, who turned out to be two cousins, a large mute muscle man, and a telepath that dug out secrets for blackmail. However, blackmailing the Widow is never a good idea. Likewise, her onetime trainer the Headmistress picked up where she left off, assisted by another assassin called Recluse, with a new batch of young girls trained to kill. Nat may, for now, have the Red Lion under control, but Recluse has an ax to grind and will bring down everything and everyone Nat cares about to prove herself the better product of the Red Room.
Is there a reason so many Black Widow stories have some upstart trying to prove herself better than Nat?
Regardless, Waid and Samnee told a good action/espionage story. Aside from a brief team-up with the Winter Soldier, this is Black Widow on her own, and many pages just depict her acrobatic combat style with other hand-to-hand fighters. The net result is there may not be much new to reveal about Natasha Romanov. She’s someone trying to, as the movie version says, balance the red in her ledger, and she won’t stand for more young girls going through what she did. Can she stop a fanatic while maintaining her core values?
I mean, she almost certainly can, but how she gets there is where a story like this does or doesn’t work. The story is smart, but not particularly deep. Natasha isn’t one for saying much, letting her actions do the talking, but she finished the series as basically the same person she was at the beginning. I liked it, but there may not be much here all told.
8 out of 10 broken clock solutions.