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I love Phil Noto’s depiction of Black Widow and her world so much that I have to constantly remind myself there is actually a story to go along with the gorgeous art. This inevitably leads to me reading the issue twice: once for art and once for story.
Both the art and story are subtlety deceiving, creating a soft world that Black Widow effortlessly blends in with. The soft lines and gently blended pastel pallette that Noto wields creates a beautiful backdrop while Edmondson’s writing comes at a calm, measured pace. However, just when you’ve grown cozy in their universe, Black Widow erupts off the page into action in a flash of black and red.
This issue follows a count of mistakes that Natasha has made during her latest outing. From lack of situational awareness to overconfidence, Edmondson and Noto set up Black Widow with a new enemy: the Iron Scorpion, the brother of one of her past assassinations. It’s clear from this encounter, that Natasha’s past weighs heavily on her conscience, despite her declaration that she is a killer rather than a murderer.
For Natasha, actions speak much louder than words, and her constant need for new clients on which to practice her “ethics” speaks volumes, as do the hints that she’s sunk large chunks of money into a global web for an unknown purpose. Since “mistakes” are the theme of this issue, we can speculate that this web likely has something to do with fixing or preventing one.
If you’ve previously read Black Widow for the sexy art or femme fatale stories, this current series isn’t for you – despite Marvel trickery with the J. Scott Campel and Milo Manara sexy variant covers. Not to say that Black Widow isn’t still sexy or deadly, but that those aren’t the only qualities this book is focused on. Like Captain Marvel, this book is a refreshing look at a female character where the “femaleness” isn’t the center of the story.
Edmondson and Noto instead offer an action-packed book that delves deeply into the life and character of Nastha Romanov a.k.a. Black Widow. After reading this issue, I’ve never wanted to be Black Widow less, but I’ve never wanted to read about her more.