Natasha Romanova, also known as the Black Widow, is on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D. after being blackmailed by the mysterious “Weeping Lion.” The last two issues have given us a little background on why Black Widow is being hunted by S.H.I.E.L.D. and especially Agent Elder, a relentless S.H.I.E.L.D. commander who lost one of his brightest proteges under Black Widow’s command. This book reads like a classic spy story with plenty of intrigue and killer action sequences. Today’s issue of Black Widow is no different as Chris Samnee and Mark Waid give us a little more into the past that will come back to haunt Natasha. This Black Widow has been a little different from the one we saw back in Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto’s run. There’s absolutely no inner monologue from Natasha and she rarely says anything. This has actually been my one complaint about the book, and while it can make sense for her, it also prevents the reader from really sympathizing with her. It feels like we just don’t know her at all.
Black Widow finds herself in an uneasy situation where she is at the mercy of this “Weeping Lion.” There are eyes on her from every direction and she receives a message from the terrorist organization to return to the catacombs of the Red Room, the training facility from which she came, and retrieve a file. Elder is hot on her trail and almost manages to catch up to her but to no avail. Natasha successfully manages to make her way back to Russia, her homeland, and back to the site from which the Black Widow was created: the Red Room. Or at least what’s left of it. We get some really interesting shots of Natasha’s past and present clashing on the panel together, the former rendered in shades of red.
This part of the issue I found to be very interesting as we get to see a young Natasha training with other would-be Black Widows. Natasha makes her way inside the abandoned facility where she encounters armed men who were tipped off to the Weeping Lions plan. Black Widow easily subdues the men but she’s startled by the appearance of a mysterious figure in the distance. It’s clear that something is distracting Natasha, ghosts from her past perhaps. Chris Samnee is the reason this book is so good with his fantastic storytelling. Not through dialogue but through his imagery. It’s actually one reason why I don’t get too bothered by the lack of inner monologue or dialogue from Natasha (though I would like to see some eventually). Of the three issues released so far, this one is by far the most dramatic, as we see Natasha at her most vulnerable. There is one absolutely beautiful page where we see her dispatch the armed guards while Chris Samnee adds in images of her dancing as a ballerina, hearkening back to her past.
I’ll leave it there for the synopsis but the end gets very interesting. Black Widow belongs to Chris Samnee as he knocks this issue out of the park once again. His fantastic storytelling really gives this book life and keeps us on the edge of our seats as we wonder what will happen next! When I first heard that Waid and Samnee would be on this book I was a little skeptical, thinking that it would be another run like their Daredevil run. Not saying their run was bad but I felt like it wouldn’t fit Black Widow. However, this team has really impressed me so far. Not only them, but Matthew Wilson’s colors have also been fantastic as well. While there are some things that I would like to see more of in this run, Samnee and Waid have given us a very intriguing take on Black Widow so far.
Overall Score: 8.5/10