A Black Widow solo series has been a long-time coming since she starred as the only female superhero in The Avengers movie in 2012. Marvel never has much luck with female-led comic books but surely the fandom is ready to support Black Widow, played so wonderfully on the big screen by Scarlett Johansson. Just look at what they’ve done for Hawkeye. Natasha Romanov is finally getting her chance to shine with a new series by Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto as one of the first launches of the All-New Marvel NOW! in 2014.
Simply put, Black Widow is off to a good start.
The first issue focuses primarily on Natasha’s life as an international spy/assassin with a few hints of her personal life along the way. It’s a nice mixture, teasing a lot of what we can expect in the series going forward. I’m of the opinion that a superhero’s personal life is almost as important, if not more so, than their costumed life. Edmundson doesn’t give Natasha a wacky neighbor or anything like that but he’s begun sprinkling in some interesting people (and animals).
The story is done-in-one, which is a nice way to handle the first issue of a new series. I’m sure Black Widow will tackle bigger, badder problems in the future. For now I just want a taste of what to expect from her new series. Edmundson sends Natasha on two different spy missions, both of which have more than enough action and clever twists to make them stand out. I can tell the action is not going to be boring in Black Widow. Edmundson also uses plenty of international locales, which should be a strength of this series. Seems like Black Widow is going to travel the world assassinating bad guys; what isn’t awesome about that?
The parts of the comic that focus on Natasha’s personal life and motivations are also strong. We meet her accountant/manager, who finds the jobs for her, and they have a nice little business relationship. We also meet the stray cat who visits her apartment, and Natasha chatting with the cat is absolutely adorable. I’m a sucker for cats in comics. Natasha herself is a little depressing, clearly focused on atoning for past crimes/mistakes. That’s a strong motivation for a hero but I hope she doesn’t become too much of a downer. At least she doesn’t mention the “red in her ledger” at all in this issue.
The art by Noto is pretty great. It’s got a nice detail to it but it’s definitely more stylized than solid. The pencils are soft, making everything a little ethereal, and the colors are very dynamic. Noto doesn’t paint within the lines, and I love it. The effect is especially dramatic when it comes to Natasha’s red hair. The red seems to hang about her head in a haze for a very neat effect.
Black Widow #1 provides a nice look into what a Natasha Romanov solo series can be about. Writer Nathan Edmundson clearly has a lot of great ideas for balancing Widow’s personal life with the one of high-risk super-spy excitement. I hope the fans support this book and keep it on the stands. Personally, I want to read more about that cat.
Rating – 7/10.