Even after they cast ‘blonde bombshell’ Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff in the Marvel cinematic universe, I wasnt the biggest Black Widow fan, but Chris Samnee and Mark Waid’s new ongoing series is already a top read!
They say that readers subconsiously consider how relatable a character is before they decide how much they like said character. On the other hand, some argue that readers tend to admire or favour characters who embody traits that they value, in some cases because they do not possess those traits themselves. I’m gonna put my cards on the table here and say that I’ve probably got less than 5% relatability with Natasha Romanoff. She’s a sexy Russian spy who probably knows more than her fair share about disposing bodies and carrying out assassin missions completely undetected, and while I had no reason to read this book because of that lack of relatability with the protagonist, I can see now that it’s a pretty faultless comic book.
The story springs off the first pages in curtain-raising issue, with Shield director Amanda Hill advising her personnel that Black Widow is now considered an enemy and must not be allowed to leave the facility, which we later find out is a massive Shield helicarrier. Of course, there isn’t a single agent on-hand who is equal to the task of stopping the widow before she explodes a grenade and dives down towards the planet’s surface. From here on out, we are given a vividly illustrated series of panels and pages that bring this story of pursuit to life.
Issue 1 reeks of espionage and ace storytelling, with the creative team adopting an approach that Hemingway would be proud of and eliminating all unnecessary dialogue. The lack of word balloons throughout this comic helped carry the urgency of the story forward, knowing full well that words and dialogue would weigh down the pages and slow down the story’s pace. Nowhere in the issue do we ever find out what information the widow has obtained from Shield, nor do we know the implications of this knowledge being in the hands of a trained spy like Natasha, so we are naturally left to wonder what the big deal is, and shell out some cashish for the next run of issues. This wouldnt be a bad idea at all, if this gripping opening issue was anything to go by.
Writers – Mark Waid and Chris Samnee
Art – Chris Samnee