July 22, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Noteworthy Issues: White Widow #1 (November, 2023)

Yelena Belova really likes her town.

I remember when Marvel first premiered the Yelena Belova version of Black Widow.  She was presented as basically a bad guy version of Natasha Romanov, a younger replacement who didn’t mind who got hurt as she did what she did.  She’s more of a good guy now…barely.  Maybe closer to an antihero.  That’s probably due to how she’s basically the new Black Widow in the MCU, and that means she needs to be more heroic in the comics, I suppose.

Now she has a solo series.

Issue:  White Widow #1, November, 2023

Writer:  Sarah Gailey

Artist:  Alessandro Miracolo

The Plot:  Yelena Belova is trying to be a good person.  She’s got a goal now.

Commentary:  So, here’s the premise:  Yelena Belova was tired of do-gooders like Captain America’s constantly telling to be a better person as she just took jobs, sometimes with different proteges, and that often involved the assassination of really bad people.  As such, she settles down in a small American town, renting a room, and making a list of her likes and dislikes.  She doesn’t really know her neighbors, but spends her time acting as a go-between and something of a mentor to women like herself.

But something is up, notably when all the small town shops are slowly being bought up by the mysterious company Armament.  Who are they?  I don’t know yet, but they seem like a more overtly evil version of Amazon crossed with the standard Marvel bad guy groups like AIM or something.  They want something from Yelena’s new home base.  She doesn’t seem to like it very much to start.

All things being equal, White Widow strikes me as a somewhat average series.  Yelena is likable enough here, but there isn’t a lot to say for better or for worse.  It is an interesting look at how to take a character that started off in a more antagonistic role as something of a good guy, particularly as she may be teaching herself that much.  The “like/dislike” list thing is a decent through line to give the character more personality and set her apart from, say, most Marvel heroes.  If anything, the real promise here is using the series to explore how someone like Yelana becomes a more heroic figure.  If she has to do that by protecting an independent coffee shop, so be it.

Grade:  B