Black Widow #3 (Comics Review)

After the double-shipping last month, this month we get to a regular monthly schedule for Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto’s excellent Black Widow. The first two issues were quite stellar, both of them one-shots designed to introduce the character and set her up before launching into something approximating a long arc, like a 5-6 issue story. The art didn’t grip me as much in the first issue, given how different Noto’s art style is, but the second issue was quite an improvement still, and now with the third issue, I’m in love with his work.

The new issue is a two-headed beast. It tells a mostly standalone story, but there is also a subplot  that supposedly leads in to a slightly bigger story in the next issue. And as with the previous two issues, we continue to get a look into how Natasha thinks, what her personal mission is, and what her morals are. With an espionage twist, the book really makes her come across as a hero, and I’m all for that because she is one of the in-the-grey characters who are also heroes.

Black Widow 03Third issue in now, and this series still stands on its own two feet. It is not dependent on any other books to give it a voice, to support it in anyway. Which is extremely refreshing, given the current tendency in comics from the Big 2 for various titles to be so involved with each other, in intricate storylines that span dozens of characters, whether good or bad. And given the high-profile character featured in this series, something like that would have been expected. But I’m glad that Edmondson and Noto are staying away from any such notions.

In the previous two issues, Edmondson provided a nice twist to both stories, such that you were taken in by surprise after reading them, since they took a very different direction to what you had come to expect. Edmondson repeats that approach here. But there is something lacking. I enjoyed the story, but it didn’t impress me as much as the previous two stories have. The exploration of Natasha’s moral compass and the establishment of it is as exciting as ever, but this time it felt weak because in some way it was perhaps a repetition of what Edmondson has done.

But at the same time, he goes the extra mile and he does a very personal story for Natasha this time, involving one of her neighbours. Sure, it is a bit of a cliche, but I think that, as ever, the execution is what ultimately sells it all. I like seeing this deeper side of Natasha since the movies haven’t done all that great a job of it, and since rumours are that this series will spring off to a movie for the character at some point, this is all well and good. Establish the character, and then use what’s come in the current comics to develop her further for her own solo movie.

A good approach I think, especially one that rewards the cross-media fans. I know that I would love something like that, to see the movies and comics tie in with each other in a subtle way, so that even though there are no required readings, the overall experience is still good.

Phil Noto doesn’t get as much room to do any creative stuff with this issue as he did in the previous two, whether we talk about the action moments of the drama. Everything is very straightforward. Its not a bad thing per se, but it does stand out in comparison to what he has already done on the series. The clean artwork reflects the story since Natasha operates on very simple principles in the course of her work, and the colours here speak to her somewhat dour attitude this time around, so that’s a good thing in a way.

What I really liked here was that Edmondson finally brought in SHIELD, and with a mission for Natasha no less. This book has had an espionage feel to it from the get go, and its nice to see that Edmondson is taking that one step further and actually connecting the character to the larger Marvel-verse. And, Maria Hill! I love Maria Hill

Rating: 8.5/10

More Black Widow: #1, #2.

Posted on February 6, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

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