Black Widow has had a really hard two years. She died, her employer S.H.I.E.L.D is long gone, and oh yeah, she’s a clone. Yikes. Jen and Sylvia Soska are taking over the character with this new series drawn by Flaviano. If you’ve ever enjoyed this character you need to start here to understand her new journey.
So what’s it about?
Read our preview.
Why does this matter?
The last Black Widow series, by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, blew away fans. Big shoes to fill. Since it has been almost two years since that series, it’s exciting to see the character getting her due. She’s also very different given her death and there are secrets definitely ready to be revealed.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue takes place during New Year’s Eve in New York City. Wait, did Marvel mean to release this three weeks ago? A tad odd, but it gives the story some urgency since bad things always seem to almost happen as the clock strikes midnight. The Soska sisters do a good job with Black Widow, making her quite the spy, keeping her ahead of Captain America who is also featured in this story. She’s sort of running the show and Cap shows her respect so you know she’s on top of her game. As the story unfolds there’s plenty of action, some good twists, and a plot that seems to stuff this book with a lot of content.
In a way, this book reads like it’s two stories. It opens on New Year’s Eve, delivering a fulfilling, action-packed opening. It then cuts to later and to an entirely different location. It’s as if the Soskas wanted to smash us in the face with action and then on a separate note really dig into what this story will be about. Honestly, the opening Cap/New Years Eve story feels like it could have been an entire issue. That’s exciting as it keeps you on your toes and invested in the story.
I also like the subtle sexual undertones the Soskas are integrating into the book. It’s far and away not explicit, but it’s still there via dialogue and setting. It gives the book an adult feel and also humanizes the characters.
The art by Flaviano with colors by Veronica Gandini have an ever so slight manga feel that drives home the kinetic energy in an action scene. Black Widow is not overly sexualized and instead has a tiny look that suits her acrobatic fight style and helps highlight the impressive prowess of the character. The use of color is nice splashing brightness with a more subdued color palette on the characters themselves. You get the sense this is fun, but also serious in its subject matter.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
I’m interested in this journey Black Widow is taking to get back into killing, but that cliffhanger left me wanting. I’m psyched that she’s motivated, but have no clue who is on that last page nor is it set up well enough that I’m on the edge of my seat. Given Black Widow’s ability to fight, and even flee, there isn’t much there to know where we go from here and the threat doesn’t seem much.
Is it good?
A good issue that is made great thanks to well-crafted dialogue and plotting. This book feels stuffed with content, featuring two major stories in play — the first being a great action sequence opener and the second laying the groundwork for what this story arc will be about. There’s an edge to this series that feels unique. Black Widow is an action-packed, confident take on the character.