Limited Edition 1 out of ?: It is not too often—nor will it be—that I will do a random review…just because. Perhaps this is not random, though. After all, I did consider presenting this title to Brad as a possible repeating-review to make up for the loss of Spider-Woman. A repeating-review of Black Widow will not be, however, as I have taken up the reins for the restarted The Avengers title. So why the heck am I doing this? As a plea; a plea to you Marvel Zombies, Black Widow fans, and anyone not wanting to see “The Spider-Woman Effect” strike again!
Be sure to comment below!
BLACK WIDOW #1
WRITER: Marjorie Liu
ARTIST: Daniel Acuña
LETTERER: Blambot’s Nate Piekos
We begin the issue with a voiceover by the present Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff, concerning another spy, The Black Rose. Her description then moves towards describing herself and ends once Natasha meets The Black Rose in a dark alley (when will people learn?!). Natasha wants to know about a black rose she received, but The Black Rose cannot give her much information. On her way home, she anticipates an attack by Aunt May…er, I mean, a non-descript older lady. Unfortunately, the old gal was not by herself. Natasha is tranquilized, brutally cut open (feeling EVERYTHING, might I add), has her insides searched, and is left in the alley. Luckily, Natasha is stitched back up (once again feeling EVERYTHING) and safe in a hospital. Flashback to the night before where Natasha and “Bucky” are having dinner. Natasha steps out for a bit to threaten a cheating SOB and wife-beater, and she later find the black rose seen earlier. Back at the present, Logan (Wolverine) tracks down the mysterious second party who was with the Aunt May look alike, and in a shocking twist…does not kill him?!
This was the first work that I have read of Liu’s and I am pleasantly surprised! She had gotten her start co-writing some X-Men comics, as well as writing some romance-esque novels. Liu’s most recent work, a one-shot involving X-23, seemed to have left a lot to be desired by X-23 fans, so I was scared of this first issue!
With that being said, Liu knocks this first issue out of the park. It is difficult to grasp the voice of the character so thoroughly from the start, and I think that Liu has done it. The voiceover does not start with a boring, “I’m Natasha Romanoff, aka The Black Widow;” rather, she begins by talking about a particular spy, the expectations of spies, and then transitions to her own very brief story.
The story starts out dark and stays consistently dark throughout, which I think is fitting for the character; the spy business is not for the faint of heart! Liu sets up enough intrigue at the middle and end to whet the reader’s pallet, not revealing too much, but not making this an empty issue, as well.
Now for my three favorite moments:
- The voiceover of Natasha while she is in surgery: it shows the strength of the character, her willpower, and it will really make you twinge!
- The dinner with James: I liked the fact that Natasha goes out of her way to do something to help somebody else. I don’t think that this is forced like the “Black Cat helping prostitutes” scene in ASM, rather every aspect of it seems like it follows the character: she did surveillance on the guy, she was threatening, and she had some dark humor to go along with it!
- “Bucky!” One of the main reasons I wanted to try this book (other than Kevin and I agreeing to try different books) is because I wanted to see whether the Captain America-Black Widow relationship would develop further. I rather enjoy this relationship and I cannot wait to see what Liu does with it!
Now, the art. I do not believe that I have had the pleasure of seeing Acuña’s art before. I think that the art is perfect for the character and the book. There are few times an art style fits a character so completely (most recently, Maleev on Spider-Woman comes to mind). The style is dark, like the book. Acuña draws an attractive Natasha, and the design is respectful, not obscene. Acuña gives the most detail to things that deserve attention or when there is a close-in on a character’s face. I think his expressions really work well for the characters and scenes as well; a focus on Natasha’s sly smile, her pain, her confusion. Well done!
The only moment that seemed queer was the ending. Logan decides to let the guy who tranqued Natasha live, which is odd for the character (not to mention the fact that he even lets him talk!). Yes, the guy says that it will make things harder on Natasha if Logan kills him, but when has Logan ever let anything be easy? And then he’s passing on a message from him? Yeaaaa, I’m not sure about this…
So, why did I write this review? Well, as you dedicated readers know, I was rather heart-broken at the conclusion of Spider-Woman, something which you Spider-Girl (no, I’m not talking about myself) fans can certainly attest to on multiple levels. Books like these, books with mid to lower tier heroes, have a short life expectancy. Spider-Girl, Iron Fist, S.W.O.R.D. all ended before their time. This is why, when there is a spectacular book, we must grab onto it and try to keep it going! I am asking you, readers, to pick up this book! Maybe for one issue, maybe two, maybe for as long as it stays alive, but just give it a try! After this first issue, I have a great deal of faith in this character, writer, and book. Only as a comic book community can we attempt to prevent the continued failure of great works.
4.5 out of 5.0 Webheads: This was a great first issue, with an intriguing storyline, great voiceover (and writing), and art. The only reason I took off .5 Webheads (besides the Logan-conclusion) is because I paid $1.00 extra for 7ish pages of biography. I like back-story as much as the next comic fan, but this was not worth $1.00 when the entire issue fell short of 48 pgs (39 pgs to be exact). What can I say? I’m frugal!
Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Girl!