The super-spy known as Black Widow hasn’t had the easiest time of late. She’s died (both in the comics and the MCU), her first solo film was pushed back, and she’s currently running around in a clone body. She’s also constantly having to atone for past sins and the like. Needless to say, the struggle is real. Fortunately for Miss Romanova, things are finally starting to look up.
Natasha is getting a fresh start, in more ways than one, courtesy of Kelly Thompson. As with much of her Marvel work, Thompson is able to craft a story that is fully accessible to new readers while remaining true to canon. This includes cameos from her boys Clint Barton and Bucky Barnes, whose dynamic with Nat changed significantly with 2018’s “Tales of Suspense” mini. Thankfully, there is no mention of her recent death and resurrection, which would probably do more harm than good.
The first part of the tale seems like your standard Black Widow adventure: a covert mission, some espionage, an action-packed fight scene, and just the right amount of Thompson snark. This is all presented with some truly excellent artwork by Elena Casagrande (more on this later). The standard tropes stop once we hit the halfway point, where Thompson delivers what would normally be a last page cliff-hanger, only to follow up with some unexpected developments. To say more would go into spoiler-territory, so I’ll just say Nat’s new status quo is a bit of a game-changer, albeit one that’s probably not long for this world. However, it does allow Thompson to portray our hero in a unique way, while creating an intriguing mystery with a surprise villain at its center.
Back to the art: the action early on is just magnificent. The dynamic layouts, along with Jordie Bellaire’s expert coloring, evoke a style that is both wholly its own but fits right in with the works of David Aja, Javier Pulido, and Chris Samnee. That said, there are times when the “camera angles” don’t quite do the action justice, but these panels are few and far between. Cory Petit’s lettering seems a bit mismatched in the early pages but syncs up quickly and makes for a good aesthetic. Overall, it’s a gorgeous book from start-to-finish and is definitely worthy of the Black Widow legacy, as well as your time and money.