Black Widow #1 Review

Natasha Romanoff is back in a new solo series again but this time helmed by the phenomenal team behind Daredevil. Mark Waid and Chris Samnee are back together again to give us a new tale about our favorite spy/Avenger. Our last look at Natasha came from the brilliant work by Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto, who looked at what makes Natasha who she is. That series focused on her atonement for the past sins of her life as a professional assassin. For those who are new to the character, I would highly suggest picking up that run as well. It’s not essential to start with this series however, because you get the sense that while this is indeed Black Widow, it’s not the same one we saw with Edmondson and Noto. No, this issue was very different from what we got before. There’s little time for exposition or dialogue in this first issue. At the end of Edmondson and Noto’s run we see that Natasha had given up working at S.H.I.E.L.D. and became more of a “reserve” member of the Avengers rather than being on the starting team. So, I was a little confused at first to see that she’s with S.H.I.E.L.D. again but I’m sure that will be explained in later issues.

I’m not going to go into an in-depth synopsis for this issue because frankly, it’s an issue you need to actually see rather than just read about. The truth of this issue is that this first issue is essentially one long, chase scene that doesn’t let up until the end of the issue. Waid and Samnee begin their run off with a bang and you feel like you’ve run a marathon by the time you finish reading. Personally, I was so engrossed with this issue, I couldn’t put the book down as I watched Natasha weave her way through S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, jump out of Helicarriers, and speed through traffic on a Bourne-like, high-speed chase. This is the kind of story I’ve been wanting for Black Widow, and just by reading interviews with the creative team, I feel like I’m going to get that plus some. It definitely sounds like they’ll be putting Natasha through hell in this run.

The only real critique for this issue is the lack of story right now. We know that Black Widow has stolen something from S.H.I.E.L.D. and is on the run. It’s not the most original story, especially when it comes to an espionage tale, but in no way does that make it a bad thing. Instead, we’re focused on the action and the dynamic art from Chris Samnee and Matthew Wilson. Let’s take a moment to examine those beautiful colors by Wilson as well. I love how the colors completely change in tone throughout the issue. At first the colors are bright and vibrant but by the end of the issue it’s darker and Wilson chooses to use a variety of different shades of red, making us feel like something menacing and dangerous is coming for Natasha. And that’s truly what is happening, she’s found herself fighting for her life against S.H.I.E.L.D., hoping that whatever she stole from them will be worth it.

This issue was a fantastic start by the creative team of Daredevil, (I’ll refer to them as TeamBlackWidow from now on) and gave us an adrenaline-fueled, nonstop, action packed issue. I’m completely on board with this new team and while the lack of story was an issue, I thoroughly enjoyed this issue and it made me excited to see what comes next for Black Widow. If you’re a fan of Black Widow or espionage or you’re looking for a great book, I definitely recommend you jump on this series.