Writers: Chris Samnee & Mark Waid
Artists: Chris Samnee, Matt Wilson (colors)
Natasha Romanoff returns in another exciting issue of Black Widow by Chris Samnee and Mark Waid. Their first issue started off with a bang with Black Widow on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D. for unknown reasons. While it was a very exciting first issue, it was essentially one long chase sequence. The issue really let Chris Samnee shine with his beautiful art and fantastic action sequences. However, I found that it lacked any real story and the scarcity of dialogue was an interesting decision for a first issue. Luckily, this issue gives us a little more background and context on what’s happening with Black Widow and why she’s on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D. This story is actually set a week before the events of Black Widow #1, so if you were curious why Natasha is on the run, you’ll find out here. The real star of this book right now is Chris Samnee. While the plot is intriguing and definitely makes this feel like a fun, espionage tale, it’s a pretty standard, dare I say, generic, plot so far. I’d also like to take a moment to praise Matt Wilson’s colors as well. His choices give this book a grittier feel to it than his work on Daredevi and appropriately so. This series is darker and so are his colors. It gives you that noir feel as well, which perfectly fits Black Widow. Right now, this book has some of the best art in any comic right now. So, let’s get into this book.
As I mentioned earlier, Black Widow #2 takes place a week before the events of the debut issue. Here we see why Natasha is on the run. The issue begins at a funeral of a fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who was tragically killed during a mission led by Black Widow. Agent Elder, the deceased agent’s handler, warns Maria Hill that Black Widow will always go rogue and they will always have to clean up her mess. Hill explains that Natasha’s training and skills make her invaluable but promises him that if she goes rogue again, she will be taken out. Unknown to the two of them, Natasha is watching them from a distance with a sniper rifle, protecting them from unknown gunmen. Elder and Hill are completely unaware of Widow’s presence or that of the armed gunmen, and Natasha takes them out easily without alerting the two higher-ranked S.H.I.E.L.D. commanders. Natasha learns that the men work for a terrorist organization called The Weeping Lion. Soon, she realizes that she’s surrounded by more men and wonders why they haven’t killed Hill yet. But Hill was never the target: Black Widow was. This scene was actually my favorite in the issue. Wilson uses a variety of blue shades to give a serious and suspenseful atmosphere to the scene. It is a funeral after all, and the colors in this scene give us a very noir-like feel to it.
Natasha has been captured and brought back to an abandoned building where six men surround her as well as caged lions. While they question her, Natasha easily escapes them and takes out the soldiers. At this moment, we’re introduced to the leader of The Weeping Lion, Platch Liev. He leaves her with a few documents and she instantly recognizes them, asking how she got a hold of these mysterious documents. He plans on blackmailing, Natasha, threatening to expose this information. Now this is where it comes full circle, and we understand why Natasha is on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D. He asks her to obtain a “key” from the Helicarrier we saw in the first issue. She reluctantly agrees to help him and the issue ends.
So, another thrilling issue in this series, but this time we got a little more story and a little more dialogue than the first issue. While it was good to get more context as to what is happening with Natasha, the story itself still feels pretty generic to me. One issue I have with the two issues right now is the lack of inner monologue with Natasha. Right now, there’s nothing that really shouts out that this is Black Widow. I don’t feel like I know who this Black Widow is at all, and new readers to Black Widow would definitely not get any help there. Like I mentioned earlier, the real stars of this book right now are Chris Samnee and Matt Wilson. Their work on the art is a sight for the eyes and really help excuse some of the lack of story. Now that we’ve caught up to what’s happening in the present day with Natasha, I’m hoping we’ll get to see some inner monologue and see what makes Natasha tick. While Samnee’s artwork is beautiful, I’m really hoping we can see some more in the way of story and characterization of Natasha.
I know it sounds like I’m being a little rough on the book, but please know that this is a very entertaining series so far. Anyone who is interested in espionage or thrillers will love this book. The art is absolutely phenomenal, and it’s great to see Samnee being able to shine like this. Like I said before, people who don’t know Black Widow and want to know more about her aren’t really going to get much help right now from this book. I do appreciate a different approach, letting Samnee’s visuals tell the story first before we really dive into the heart of Black Widow. Maybe I’m just being impatient, but so far this is definitely Samnee’s show and he is doing a fantastic job at it. Black Widow #2 is a great follow up issue in what is already a thrilling and entertaining run by the guys that brought you Daredevil and I can tell you, this Black Widow fan is happy where this is going. So, let us know what you all thought of this issue!