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Comics You Should Be Reading: Black Widow

Black Widow was a very pleasant surprise for me when the new series started a few months ago. I always liked the Black Widow, Natasha Romanov, character but didn’t know that much about her. I knew the basics; beautiful, evil Russian spy turned beautiful, good, Russian hero. When I picked up the first issue I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I didn’t know that Black Widow would quickly turn into one of my favorite comics to read every month.

Black Widow has a dark past. She was trained to be a super spy by the Russians during WWII. Just because she changed her ways doesn’t mean her training just goes away. Old habits die hard. She has, however, proven herself to be a hero time and time again. She has fought alongside, and lead, the Avengers. She has gone up against immensely powerful enemies to protect the innocent. Natasha Romanov’s heroism should never be doubted. So what happens when her old life threatens her new one? What happens when a decision she made is turned against her and threatens to undermine all the good she has done? What happens when an enemy knows one of Natasha’s most guarded and personal secrets? That is what Marjorie Liu, the writer of Black Widow 1-5, has answered in the first 5 issues of Black Widow.

Writer Marjorie Liu has done a brilliant job of writing a spy thriller in the Marvel Universe. I’m not going to give any spoilers about the story because all of it, from the first issue, is unexpected and exciting. I will just give an overview of the story so far. There is everything a great spy story needs; trickery, twists, turns, fights, escapes, safe houses, old friends, new lovers. Black Widow is shown in all her glory. I would defy anyone to read this series and not fall in love with the character.

What Liu has done to take that story to the next level is sprinkling in the Marvel Universe on top. The main conflict of the book involves the heroes of the Marvel Universe but they don’t steal focus or overshadow the main character. The book is clearly about Natasha. Captain America, Wolverine and others are on the edges of the story. They are used to enhance Black Widow’s story not derail it.

The art in Black Widow 1-5 has been amazing. The pencils, coloring, and inking are all doing by Daniel Acuna. It is unlike any other comic I have read. It doesn’t matter if there is action on the panel or just two people talking, each panel is just as beautiful as the last. The colors are bright and pop off of the page. Natasha’s red hair is a stand out through all 5 issues.

I’ve talked about characters’ acting before and Acuna gets it spot on. The characters’ faces always match what they are saying. Better still, their faces convey emotion even when they aren’t saying anything at all. It is hard to talk about why art is great, so just look at some the pictures throughout this post to see what I’m talking about.

The next issue, issue #6, of Black Widow will have a different creative team with Duane Swierczynshi and Manuel Garcia taking over. I wish that Liu and Acuna were staying on the book. They have made one hell of an opening act for the next team to follow. Hopefully the next team is up for the challenge. I encourage everyone reading to check out this great series. Find your local comic book shop and track down issue 1-5 or wait for the hardcover collecting the issues together.

Best Scene Of The Series (Where I tease you with a scene from the series that should send you running to the comic shop): Black Widow restrained and nude in a meat locker and still being a total badass.

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