Monday, December 5, 2016

Black Widow #8 Review and **SPOILERS**

I Believe That Children Are Our Future

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: November 30, 2016


One recurring dream I’ve had since childhood is where I am a super spy. It’s not a very fleshed-out fantasy; I end up skulking around dangerous places, eavesdropping on hushed conversations and killing people with a silenced pistol with no indication of why I am doing this or who is my employer. I’m not sure what this says about me, possibly that I am devious and secretive, or that I desire to be devious and secretive. Crazier thing is that I am not a huge fan of spy stories. I don’t really like Le Carre’s novels, I feel impassionate about James Bond films. Yet in my dreams, I am the best at the business of subterfuge and espionage. I tell you what I do like, though, is this Black Widow series by Waid and Samnee. It’s a good comic, and I’ll do my best to prove that in the following review.

Explain It!

Now that the Headmistress of assassin training school the Dark Room offed herself in the last issue, it’s up to alumnus Natasha “Black Widow” Romanoff to round up all the youngsters sent forth to complete their final projects. Namely, killing people, with expertise. This brings our heroes Black Widow and her psychic pal the Weeping Lion (who is just a guy with curly hair, and not actually a lion) to the White House, where a class of Catholic school girls are attending what looks like a very boring field trip. The only exciting part is that they get to meet the Vice President, which considering that person is currently Joe Biden, is probably pretty cool. He’d probably let these girls have sips of his beer and everything.
Natasha is disguised as a tour guide tasked with taking the students around the President’s residence (hey!), which she accomplishes by wearing a blond wig. While she misleads her group, naming areas incorrectly, Weeping Lion uses his mind-reading powers to find out who’s being a very bad girl—and it turns out to be the creepy, sullen kid that no one on the school bus recognized! Black Widow confronts the girl, who then proceeds to snap the neck of a Secret Service agent, steal his gun, and starts racking up bodies like the bubonic plague (too soon?) Simultaneously, Weepy sends out a brain alert to Natasha to say that there are two more little dumplin’ assassins, and one of them winged him in the shoulder!
Natasha is chasing down the initial brunette child murderer, and passes by the other killing children, so she incapacitates the gun-wielding one with a tazer, I think? I might have forgotten some kind of weapon she had in the last issue, but the point is Natasha zaps the most dangerous girl and saves the day. Eventually, Black Widow corners this girl with her back to a window, and seems to convince her to give up her wicked ways because the Headmistress’ head went missing. As the girl is about to relent, S.H.I.E.L.D. comes rappelling down from the Helicarrier and will surely fuck everything up! Natasha quickly grabs the girl, restrains her, and hands her over to S.H.I.E.L.D. for reprogramming before they can shoot her brains out. What a killjoy! No time to rest now, though—there are other little girl assassins throughout the world that need to sit in the corner—Black Widow style! Which means they will likely get their faces kicked in.
Here’s a fun story for people that like to read comic book stories. I don’t really know another way to put it. Simply a pleasure to read, and plus it is a rarity in modern comics in that it’s a complete story. Sure, there’s a cliffhanger and stuff peppered in to seed future yarns, but the basic premise is totally intact and contained within this issue. Chris Samnee is a master of story telling and shows his expertise here. If I had to nitpick, I’d say this issue was just a little bit cramped, but that’s more because I’d like to see more expansive Samnee panels because I can’t get enough of the art.

Bits and Pieces:

Here's a well-written, expertly-drawn, self-contained story in a comic book, and it's both fun and compelling to read. Behold, ladies and gentlemen! A comic like this from the Big Two is the choicest plum, and seem increasingly rare. I can't wait to read the next issue of this series, and I'd follow this creative team anywhere.


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