Black Widow #12 (Comics Review)

Marvel’s Black Widow has undoubtedly been one of the publisher’s bigger success stories from among all the new titles launched this year. While not reaching the heights of titles like Ms. Marvel, it hasn’t been down in the doldrums with titles like She-Hulk either, being more of a balancer towards the high side of the numbers. And that’s well and good since it makes a solid addition to the overall line-up and the work done by writer Nathan Edmondson and artist Phil Noto has been quite phenomenal, especially of late, with more to come I’m sure.

This week’s Black Widow #12 sees the comics debut of noted television news anchor/journalist Anderson Cooper as Nathan Edmondson writes a really charged issue that explores Natasha’s dual nature. Being on SHIELD’s payroll and also a prominent Avenger, her work often brings her into conflict with things she can’t control, such as international political red-tape and the label of “necessary evil”. Nathan delivers a rather astounding issue this time, even as Phil Noto goes all out with the star-cast of this issue that also includes quite a few prominent Avengers and other high-profile Marvel characters.

In light of some recent events that have caused her to have quite the public profile on her missions, Natasha finds herself the target of Anderson Cooper’s journalistic criticism, which sees her derided in some circles and praised in others. This is, perhaps, Nathan’s most “connected” issue yet as we get to see several Avengers star in this story as the news about Natasha goes public all over the world and her status as an Avenger and a hero is called into question. Of course, this has some rather disastrous consequences, or will at any rate, and all I can say is that I really, really loved every moment of it.

Even as a rather public hero who does not wear a mask or some such, Black Widow leads two lives. She is an Avenger first and foremost, but she is also a SHIELD agent, and one who works under the sole command of SHIELD’s Director Maria Hill no less. That means that she is a very, very useful weapon to have and that some of her recent missions have been quite high-profile and have brought her straight out into the public eye in a way that no one really wants, least of all Natasha and Maria, since it jeopardizes future operations as well.

Nathan starts the issue on a very high note and as soon as Anderson begins his AC360 segment on an exposé of Black Widow’s supposedly clandestine activities, you know that you are in for a hell of a ride. This is all contrasted with her current assignment which has her somewhere in South Africa, working alongside the Howling Commandos on a rescue mission, and things really couldn’t get any better than this. While she saves people, the rest of the world learns about a lot of her dirty laundry, sending her staunchest supporters into a frenzy and panic.

What I really loved seeing here though was that even the President of the United States gets involved in things and that Anderson was quite even-handed in his segment, showing both sides of Black Widow. Which is pretty interesting really since it presents a dangerous but balanced view of the character. Even as we see how much “fun” Natasha is having in the African deserts on a plain joe rescue operation, we learn some of the “bad” things she has done, like breaking several international laws that have to do with sovereign security.

Pretty damn interesting stuff and Natasha makes for one hell of a character here.

Phil Noto’s artwork has only gotten better over time. Used to be that, back in the first couple issues, I found the artwork to be a bit problematic. But times have completely changed around now and his work has only gotten better as the months have passed by. Some of the latest issues that I haven’t reviewed have been just as good, but this new one is definitely a pinnacle since there are so many Avengers in this, people like Iron Man and Spider-Man and Daredevil and a bunch of others.

Excellent, excellent stuff and Nathan’s penchant for shocking endings continued in this one as we got to see something really shocking, which really had me on the edge of my seat, truth be told.

Rating: 9.5/10

More Black Widow: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7.

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Posted on November 23, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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