Monday, October 24, 2016
Black Widow #7 Review and **SPOILERS**
Writers: Chris Samnee & Mark Waid
Artist: Chris Samnee
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Chris Samnee & Matthew Wilson
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: October 19. 2016
**NON SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM**
Oh Waid and Samnee
You are so dandy
That’s all I’ve got so far. I’m new on this book, but not new to this team, who did probably my second most favorite run on Daredevil ever. And I bet they’re putting a clinic on Black Widow, too! Let’s take a look!
Natasha Romanoff was not such a nice person before she joined the Avengers. She’s not actually that nice of a person now, but in her younger days, she was worse. See, she was trained to be a KGB assassin from birth, and that means she had to start plying that trade at an early age. Take her first mission, for instance: to kill the Yugoslavian, a bruiser of a guy with kids who had just been framed and incarcerated for a crime he did not commit. The Russian government wants him silenced, so while he sits in the front seat of his car with his son a grade school-aged Natasha leaps in through the window and stabs the Yugoslavian relentlessly. There is a struggle, but Natasha is able to stab the Yugoslavian enough times to kill him. Then, knowing there need be no witnesses, she slashes the boy’s throat and takes off—not having seen the sleeping boy in the backseat, the Yugoslavian’s nephew. Turns out the kid in the front seat wasn’t killed by Natasha—just maimed and rendered mute. Remembering his father’s advice to relentlessly seek revenge (thanks, dad!), the mute kid and his cousin train themselves—one to a physical peak, the other developing his mental acuity to extreme psychic prowess. All because Natasha stabbed the Yugoslavian relentlessly. I assume she learned that day that twenty stabs are pointless when one well-placed stab will do.
Natasha is at the Greenland Sea Base of the Dark Room, a group that trains child assassins which she hates, with the Weeping Lion, a person that she hates for trying to psychically extract information from her brain and also kill her, so she can use his abilities to infiltrate the base and confront the Headmistress, who she hates for warping her mind in the first place. They get inside, but not before Weeping Lion accidentally pops someone’s cranium after delving too deeply into grey matter. Before long, they make it to the Headmistress, who looks very much like a crusty old headmistress of some cruel all girls’ school from the time of Charles Dickens, attended by the Salutatorian at Natasha’s graduation (where she was Valedictorian, naturally): Recluse. Natasha has no time for this nonsense and tells Weeping Lion to psychically get the information she needs from Headmistress, but before he can wrest it from her melon, she pulls a gun and shoots her head off! What a twist!
Recluse is all feeling like the least-favorite sibling in this bizarre family built on sanctioned murder, and Natasha pretty much says yeah, you’re a loser and that’s why Headmistress thought you were lame and plus grody to the max gag me with a spoon. Recluse grabs the gun from Headmistress’ corpse and pulls it right to Natasha’s head, but she’s like nah you’re a pussy and snatches it from Recluse’s grip. Then she walks away with Recluse in tears, cradling the dead body of her mother that never loved her, which is a pretty stark scene when you get right down to it. Like whew! You are cold as ice, Romanoff. Weeping Lion asks if he should pop her melon, but Natasha says she isn’t worth it, and then I guess there’s a reveal that Weeping Lion is the same psychic kid sleeping in the backseat of the Yugoslavian’s car while he was stabbed? I figured that was a given. Headmistress blowing her dome off was more of a surprise.
This is a comic book! Ladies and gentlemen, class is in session, Mark Waid and Chris Samnee are on hand to teach you the finer points of concise comic book storytelling and composition. I found this very easy to understand but so compelling, from the cruelty of a young Natasha to implications of a competitive relationship between Natasha and Recluse, this thing had intrigue built right into a solid chassis of good comics. Black Widow isn’t a nice person, and she’s not supposed to be—but this is a great book and I think everyone, even those shy of the “bigger” Marvel titles, should give it a look.
Bits and Pieces:
This comic is an absolute pleasure to read from front to back. My only misgiving is that it doesn't have a lot of the high-flying action I associate with Black Widow, but since this is the beginning of an arc about Natasha getting revenge, I expect we'll see enough fighting soon. Waid and Samnee are a great creative pair, and I would probably follow their combined efforts anywhere.