BLACK WIDOW #3 REVIEW
Writer: Nathan Edmondson
Artist: Phil Noto
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Review by Suzanne Nagda
“No man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of a continent.” -John Donne
Writing a Black Widow solo book presents a unique set of challenges. How do you create a compelling supporting cast for a loner with a dark past who prefers to work in shadow? Nathan Edmondson confronts the problem head-on in Black Widow as my favorite spy struggles with forming attachments in her personal life. Natasha reflects on how relationships become distractions when working in the field and how the best agents do not have robust personal lives. Yet humans are social creatures by nature and Natasha cares more than she lets on.
Similar to the first two issues, the book opens with Ms. Romanov leaving her apartment and taking a mission in a foreign country. She chats with her neighbor Ana and encourages her to leave her deadbeat, abusive husband. Then she hops on a plane to extract a political figure from an Argentinian prison. Natasha can’t get the image of Ana’s black eye out of her head–despite dangerous terrain and the moral complexity of her job. Exposition about Black Widow’s steely resolve and control provides an effective contrast to her conflicted thoughts.
It’s hard not to compare this book with Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye. The premise is the same–essentially, this is what Natasha does in her “time off” from the Avengers. Three issues in and it’s still not clear where this book is going. Will Natasha’s supporting cast consist of neighbors she barely knows and her lawyer? Will this series resonate emotionally outside of the loneliness Black Widow feels and doesn’t acknowledge?
I’m strongly considering framing some Phil Noto artwork thanks to this series. Noto gives Black Widow a sleek style, reinforcing her unruffled calm even in the most dangerous of places. His colors are muted in some panels and dramatic in others to perfectly highlight key moments in the plot. This would be a very different series without Noto’s influence.
The Verdict: Pick it up! Actually, go back and pick up the first two issues as well. This is a strong series deserving of one of the leading ladies in the Marvel Universe. I anticipate seeing more of Natasha’s world and how she comes undone by her own rules.