By Nathan Edmondson & Phil Noto
Published by Marvel Comics
I feel like it goes without saying that in the wake of Joss Whedon’s 2011 epic, The Avengers franchise is a bigger deal than ever. So far, however, it’s biggest beneficiaries have not been Tony Stark or Captain America, not even Loki or Nick Fury.
No, it’s the B Listers.
Last year, Matt Fraction turned Clint Barton into a consistently must read title with Hawkeye by stripping the character down to his everyman core, a book that plays more like a high octane soap opera than it does a super hero book. This year, Nathan Edmondson seeks to do the same with Clint’s fellow Avenger Natasha Romanov in Black Widow, an All-New Marvel NOW! branded on-going that swipes from Romanov’s Avengers characterization as a woman on a quest for redemption. Indeed, this first issue, a mainly character building issue showcasing the methods and mentality of the Black Widow.
Edmondson (co-writer for Ultimate Comics X-Men and DC’s Grifter) establishes a keen spy fiction feel right away. In her free time, we learn Romanov is now accepting odd jobs on the side in an effort to atone for her past, saving lives and carefully selecting her targets. This is not a character above killing, but we learn she is steadfastly determined to not kill anyone who she doesn’t feel deserves it. An interesting moral grey area, and one that will certainly be explored.
Much like Fraction had the simply amazing David Aja to create a unique feel and life for Hawkeye, artist extraordinaire Phil Noto tackles the art chores for this go. The book is benefited greatly by his unique style, a loose and exciting art style given a stand out look by a softer color palate that makes this dark, violent world we follow Romanov in to seem almost unassuming.
While it may not have the whimsy that made Hawkeye so popular, the spy fiction feel and redemption arc for a longtime fan favorite character may help Black Widow storm the charts in it’s own right, and become yet another surprise hit from Marvel.