Updated: Jul 20, 2021
Are you like me? Counting down the days to the release of the Black Widow film? How can you not be? The last MCU film release was back in 2019. Black Widow and ScarJo fans alike need closure after the characters story arc in Avengers Endgame. That's without considering moviegoers at large are eager to see new blockbuster films. So, what to do until the film releases on July 9th, 2021? If you are not currently reading the ongoing Black Widow (2020) series then I implore you to either pick up a copy at your local comic shop or subscribe to Marvel Unlimited and get started!
As soon as Black Widow (2020) #1 begins Widow oozes confidence. She's a professional, or for lack of a better word, a badass. She gets the job done, and story artist Elena Casagrande crafts the page in such style that it is immediately undeniable why those familiar with Widow recognize her skill with both awe and fear. As soon as she is unleashed with a "Now" from Cap, the mission is essentially finished, and in the same amount of time it took Hawkeye to take one shot.
Black Widows reputation proceeds her, whether it be Captain America, the villain's that confront her, or even Natasha herself, they all recognize the Widows reputation. Kelly Thompson conveys this shadow of the Black Widow looming over the story as Steve apologizes for sending Widow in last minute. Rather than give him a hard time, or mention some kind of compensation, she brushes it off. Apparently, these cloak and dagger missions are her favorite. Thompson uses this interaction with Steve to begin teasing out what separates Natasha from the Black Widow. Widows personality is being established at the onset of this new run as she puts on airs with Steve prior to the story picking up.
Still, I can't help but love the banter between Widow and Cap. Go ahead, call me nostalgic, but they're nostalgic too!
Widow comes in and does what she does, as Cap says "leaves no trace". Natasha even notes to herself that the mission is "embarrassingly easy". All and all, it does allow her the opportunity to retrieve her boots, which did look expensive.
The ease with which Natasha carries herself through the chaos of her life creates an impression with the audience that she can handle any situation. Honestly, who sings about their ongoing break-in? Who sings their actions at all? Alright, maybe I do, but that's not the point. The point is that Natasha is not to be messed with and the Black Widow is always two steps ahead, right?
Okay maybe not, and unfortunately Natasha doesn't discover who broke into her apartment in this issue. The reader isn't privy to the culprit either, at least not yet. So who knows what happened to Natasha after that?! Not so fast, Thompson has a plan. The reader is transported several months into the future and Natasha is bringing a group of construction workers breakfast. In fact, she doesn't seem phased by her fall and it's here that Thompson's characterization of Natasha as independent of her Black Widow persona starts to shine.
Natasha struts into the scene with another pair of magnificent boots which I'm sure is no accident on the part of Elena Casagrande. That confidence that the reader identifies with Widow, and was demonstrated earlier in the issue with Cap, is now utilized by Natasha as she's managing a bunch of constructions workers as though she's in the midst of an assignment. Professional badass, that's Black Widow, or is it Natasha? Unless this is an assignment? I would assume so, but what would it be? Infiltrating the group that was involved in the break-in we saw prior to this scene? If so, these guys are safe, Natasha is very charming toward them and the issue ends with a hint at who is actually orchestrating the situation Natasha currently finds herself in.
In fact, every interaction that Black Widow has throughout the issue up until this point conveys the strength and independence of this character. Whether you are more familiar with the Black Widow from reading the comics or seeing the films the ability to connect to others and the concept of family are both recurring themes for the character. This is what makes this book so interesting, who is Natasha without the Black Widow? It will be interesting to find out after Natasha goes off the grid, especially when Hawkeye finds her after several months with her family, and I'm not talking about her sister the White Widow!
Black Widow #1. Black Widow (2020), by Kelly Thompson, illustrated by Elena Casagrande, Issue 1., Marvel Comics, 2020.
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