Review originally posted on 01/30/14 on thereviewzoo.com.
It’s been a long time coming. Although she’s appeared regularly in various comic books since the 1960s and had several independent stories (and very good at that), it’s only now that Black Widow has her own regular series.
Since she’s appearing in her third Marvel film this year and has never been more popular, that is well deserved and quite a treat for anyone who likes her.
Penned by Nathan Edmonson and penciled by Phil Noto, I’m sorry to say their first issue wasn’t very engaging. All the introductory clichés were there, and all we learned was that Natasha Romanova is a former russian spy later turned Avenger. She is now conducting independent missions of her choice for Redemption.
She’s beautiful and deadly, and that’s in full display. Noto’s art is gorgeous and his style definitely puts him apart. We also get a look at her skills at duping her targets, as well as hiding her true past. But without knowing what that past is, it’s pretty difficult to care about her need for atonement.
Fortunately, a first issue doesn’t tell much about the rest of the run. I personally prefer when there is room for improvement, instead of starting on such a strong note and having trouble to follow.
And that’s exactly what happens with this second issue, which works much better on all fronts: Natasha’s monologues are still heavy and try too hard to sound profound. But the mission she conducts is much clearer, and it allows Noto to vary from the hand-in-hand or gun fights. She rolls, jumps, sky- dives, and the adventurous side associated with a spy’s life feels more present.
Most notably, the addition of her lawyer Isaiah (a newly created character) is starting to reveal some surprises. His alliance with Natasha trumps the independent missions in the intriguing department and what I look forward to learn more about.
There’s a clear formula right now: Natasha and Isaiah talk about a mission, they see it fail or succeed, then Natasha goes home with a sad mood and a stalking cat. But hopefully Edmonson will go away from it quickly. Once he’s done establishing his own rules, he’ll be more free to let his stories go and feel less episodic.
Black Widow can be an absolutely fascinating character in the right hands, and I trust Edmonson and Noto to make their own version grow.
But I really could not care more about that cat. Sorry.
By Delphine Batier.
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Nathan Edmonson
Artist: Phil Noto