Review: Black Widow #1

Written by Nathan Edmondson
Art by Phil Noto

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What do you expect from a Black Widow series? I honestly have never been too thrilled with any of her stories apart from those by Warren Ellis during his Secret Avengers run. With that said, I was excited to have a writer who helped tell the story of one my favorite non-Marvel characters (Grifter) come aboard and add to the continuity of the 616. Phil Noto is also an excellent artist with an unique style. So although I normally could care less about a Black Widow story, I was surprisingly interested in this series.

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The story is a mixture showing Natasha Romanova’s mental cunning, physical prowess, but also her personal emotional faults and weaknesses. This spin on the character is not a huge leap from previous incarnations and similar enough to the movies’ character to attract both old fans and new readers. Edmondson does a great job of showing the range and abilities of the Black Widow. While I don’t think this is a breakout issue that completely relieves my concerns that the character lacks the depth to carry her own on-going series, it is done well enough that I am interested in seeing a further continuation of her story.

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While Noto’s art may turn some off, his grungy, destructed yet still soft style creates a great atmosphere which sets it apart as a unique series at Marvel and helps contrast the two sides of Black Widow’s character Edmondson tries to expand upon. The consistent use of beauty marks on her face is a nice touch by the artist as well. Noto also gives interesting angles and helps keep the story moving. While a lot of art is functional in mainstream comics, in many ways Noto is able to lift the story by not looking like anyone else’s work. But that can also hinder his appeal to some who may be interested in only polished and slick mainstream art styles.

ImageThis is a solid start to a series based on a character I didn’t believe I would find much interest in. I’m still interested to see if this will turn into a long run (I doubt it) but it does add a dimension to the 616 that isn’t found in many other current series by Marvel. I’m enticed enough to stick with this series and see how it plays out. While it may not be to the level of Hawkeye, I think this is still the best entry in the solo series surrounding this character.

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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