BLACK WIDOW (2020) #1/ Script by KELLY THOMPSON/ Art by ELENA CASAGRANDE/ Colors by JORDIE BELLAIRE/ Letters by VC’S CORY PETIT/ Published by MARVEL COMICS
Natasha Romanoff was trained from birth to be the perfect spy, capable of blending in to any environment and breaking into any location. Natasha has worn many hats in her long life and served many masters. Yet somewhere along the way, she made the decision to become something more and took on the only role that ever truly brought her satisfaction; hero.
It was not uncommon for Natasha to disappear for months at a time. When her closest allies didn’t hear from her they had no reason to worry. Not until a woman who looked like Natasha walked through the background of an on-the-scene news report in San Francisco. Because the only time the Black Widow would ever been seen so publicly would be if something was seriously wrong.
Where has Natasha Romanoff been? Why has she suddenly surfaced now? And what dangers await her and her friends in San Francisco?
With a feature-length film arriving sometime soon, it was only natural the first lady of the modern Avengers be given the spotlight and a new #1 to set the speculators a-spending. Thankfully, Marvel has put out a book that does the character of Natasha Romanoff justice and might actually inspire some people to read it.
Kelly Thompson remains one of Marvel’s most reliable and underrated writers. I greatly enjoyed her work on the short-lived West Coast Avengers monthly and the Rogue and Gambit mini-series. Her story here is less overtly comedic, but she does get in a few funny moments involving Hawkeye and Winter Soldier. What truly sells this story, however, is Thompson’s command of Black Widow as a character. The opening scene firmly establishes Nat as a Grade-A badass before moving on to the mystery that will make up the opening arc; why is Natasha now in San Francisco?
Thompson’s story is brought to life by a suitable impressive team of artists. Elena Casagrande is another creator whose work I’ve been enjoying for quite some time, ever since I first encountered her on Titan Comics’ Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor. Casagrande excels at action sequences, boasting a cinematopgraphic style that is continually shifting perspective from panel to panel. This lends a subtle hint of speed to the artwork, as if everything were in continual motion, even in the most static scenes. The colors by Jordie Bellaire are Eisner-worthy, as are the fonts and balloons utilized by Cory Petit.
Rejoice, Black Widow fans! This new series has bite!