I decided to read the new issue this morning since Nathan Edmondson, the writer, will be in town this weekend for the Asheville Comic Expo. The issue is good and includes another Marvel hero, Hawkeye. Are we surprised that Natasha has also been romantically involved with Hawkeye? No, this seems to be her modus operandi.
There is a parallel storyline that switches back and forth. In the present, Natasha’s friend and lawyer Isaiah has been kidnapped by someone from Natasha’s past. The parallel story provides the details about what happened in the past and establishes the connection to the current situation. It works well, and I like the way the artist employs different color schemes to differentiate between the two strands.
I am looking forward to the expo this weekend. I plan on attending with my daughter, who is also excited. I’m sure I will be leaving with yet more stuff to read, because that’s my modus operandi.
The two previous issues of the Black Widow series each included an appearance by another Marvel hero, and this one continues the streak with the inclusion of the Punisher. I get a sense that the writers are weaving together a story that will ultimately connect others in the Marvel universe. That works for me. It is like a bonus feature.
In this installment, Natasha continues her search for the mysterious organization, Chaos. She locates a vessel off the coast of Costa Rica that is being used as a transmitting station by Chaos. It is there that she encounters the Punisher who aides her in overcoming the Chaos henchmen. Unfortunately, the vessel is destroyed and Natasha is left with unanswered questions.
The reader is also left with unanswered questions, which make you want to get the next issue and find out what happens (great way to ensure you meet your sales projections). I have to say, I am enjoying the complexity of this storyline. It seems that there are a lot of strands that are all leading somewhere.
Well, seems like Natasha Romanov has had many relationships with other superheroes. In issue #7, we had the appearance of Daredevil with whom she was previously intimate. In this issue, we have an appearance by Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier. Their paths cross briefly on Natasha’s mission and he helps her combat a well-armed gang who is after the same thing she is. During their short time together, it is made clear that Bucky still has strong feelings toward her, but Natasha’s memory of their relationship has been erased. I thought it was an interesting twist, since usually it is Natasha who is keeping secrets and now we have the past hidden from her.
I don’t have much more to say about this issue. It was good and I enjoyed it, but there was nothing in there that warrants elaborating on. I will say it ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, so I’m looking forward to issue #9 so I can see how this plays out.
I liked this issue a lot. First off, it’s set in San Francisco, which is such a cool city and I have some great memories from there. Secondly, the issue includes an appearance by Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil. It is revealed that Daredevil and Natasha once had a very intimate relationship, but in typical Black Widow fashion, the details of the relationship and their split remain hidden. Lastly, the writing, artwork, and storyline are all very good and consistent with the comic series.
There is a great quote from the end of this issue that has me thinking a lot about current world events.
It’s more difficult to distinguish the good from the bad every day—and she needs people that she can trust. Because the world is full of people she can’t.
Reading this, I couldn’t help thinking about how divisive the world is nowadays and how with the plethora of information available it becomes difficult to get a clear view of a situation. We have the Russia/Ukraine conflict, Israel and Hamas, Republicans and Democrats, the list goes on. I can scan Yahoo news and read articles from different sources demonizing each side of every conflict. How can one feel certain about which side is right or wrong anymore? The lines seem to become more and more indistinguishable. For me, I try to educate myself as much as possible, to practice critical thinking, and not take anything for granted. History had demonstrated that there are always at least two sides to every story. I find it best to reserve judgment and keep an open mind.
Thanks for stopping by and keep reading.
In issue #5, Natasha is captured by Damon Dran. In this issue, she escapes and captures Dran, handing him over to S.H.I.E.L.D. While in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, Dran is assassinated by a Chaos operative. As he is carrying out the assassination, the operative says “Chaos rains, Mr. Dran.” I found this to be a clever double-entendre, implying that chaos reigns. I personally ascribe to the theory that order is constantly striving to move toward the chaotic state. Because it requires so much energy to maintain order, it just seems logical based upon the idea of entropy that order would tend toward disorder. Anyway, let me back away from that rabbit hole.
The theme of this issue, and the subtitle, is “Paranoia.” Throughout the issue, the idea of how paranoia affects covert operatives is explored. Natasha accurately acknowledges that the state of being alone fuels paranoid thoughts. This ultimately leads to the fear of trusting another person. Trust can be scary under ordinary circumstances, but in the clandestine world of spies it becomes dangerous, too.
But who can I trust? Because I don’t know if I can do this by myself… It takes so much effort to get close to someone. To navigate those finely woven threads of doubt and trust. But sometimes… sometimes you need someone else.
I’ve found that the ability to trust comes after one gains a sense of self-confidence. We need relationships with others in order to share what is going on inside. Isolation is not a healthy state of being.
Thanks for stopping by, and keep reading!
In this issue, Natasha does battle with Molot Boga and defeats him. But that does not mean the assignment is over. She plunges deeper into the mystery and comes face to face with the person who was directing Molot, someone from Natasha’s past named Damon Dran. We do not find out much about this person, only that he was considered “indestructible” but he fears “the force of Chaos.” I know, it sounds like Maxwell Smart needs to be on the case. But, I’m willing to overlook that association and see where the writer is going with this, because the story is good.
Early in the issue, there is a rumination about the relationship between power, politics, and information that I found interesting.
In politics, power is influence. In espionage, power is information. Intel… He who has the information has control… The more control the information offers—the more it is worth.
I’ve been watching “House of Cards” on Netflix and I can see the connection between politics, information, and power explored in that program. I’ve always felt that knowledge is power (hate to sound cliché, but…). Still, power is like a drug. It is highly addictive. I’ve seen many people succumb to the temptation of power.
Well, that’s all I have to share about this installment. I have Issue #6, so I’ll read it and share my thoughts with you soon. Cheers!!
Ha ha! Well, I spoke too soon. In my review of Issue #3, I mentioned a pattern that each issue was a stand-alone assignment. Not the case anymore. This is the first of what I suspect will be several issues all tied in to the same assignment.
Natasha is called in by S.H.I.E.L.D. to track someone capture someone named Molot Boga, or “Hammer of God.” Reminds me of a Led Zeppelin song, and the Malleus Maleficarum. Anyway, this guy is a psycho monk who is killing “sinners” under the direction of an unseen person. There is a lot of mystery and unanswered questions, so this is going to be a short post. I will say that I liked it and I am intrigued about what will unfold in the subsequent installments.
There is a cool quote in the comic that is worth including here:
But the truth about intelligence gathering? The devil is in the details. So you can’t miss a single detail or—you might miss the devil himself…
Details are important. I know this from my years working as a technical writer. But even more important is balance. If you focus only on details, you fail to see the big picture; and if you only look at the big picture, you miss the important details. As with most things in life, balance is the key.
I’m beginning to notice a pattern. So far, each comic in this series has been an assignment, but along with the assignment, there is the building of a larger story. I love this formula and it works very well. This allows readers who follow the series to become invested, while at the same time making the comics accessible and enjoyable to readers who do not read each issue.
In this issue, Natasha’s assignment is to free a prisoner from an Argentinean prison. Natasha and the prisoner make their way through the South American jungle, and then there is a nice plot twist (sorry—you know I do my best to omit any spoilers from my posts).
The bigger theme is the concept of home, of belonging to a particular place. Because of her line of work, Natasha makes it a point to not “belong” to any particular place, but instead to treat wherever she is as her temporary home, allowing her to fully connect with her surroundings. There is something noble about this idea, about being detached from things that tie you down, thereby allowing you to move freely through life. But as Natasha points out, there is a down side to this philosophy.
The other edge of that is the unfortunate truth: you must first belong nowhere.
Near the end of the issue, there is a dark twist in the comic’s exploration of the idea of home.
Unfortunately, I admit, I do have a home. I have always had a home. Even if it is not apparent to me or anyone else. Home is where the hurt is.
Reading this made me consider the people who suffer and remain in abusive relationships. People will sacrifice their comfort and even their safety in order to feel the sense of belonging. Our need to be a part of a community and a home runs deep, and this sometimes results in people allowing themselves to be abused in order to satisfy this need.
This issue worked for me on several levels. First, it focuses on a single “assignment” making it work well as a stand-alone comic. Secondly, it builds on some of the larger themes that the writer seeks to establish regarding the Black Widow. Finally, the story is written in a non-linear manner, almost like the weaving of a web, where the strands of the story connect and cross each other until it all comes together at the end.
Early in the tale, Natasha muses about ethics.
Finding your own jobs means you get to exercise your own ethics. But ethics isn’t a science. Which is to say… you do your best… but that doesn’t make you right.
This got me thinking. As a society, we like to think of ethics as some ideal which should guide us. But when you think about it, ethics is a very grey area. It’s open for interpretation. What is considered ethical in one country may be abhorrent in another. Ethics is defined as the “moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior.” Those principles often mean different things to disparate groups and individuals.
Throughout her assignment, Natasha makes a series of mistakes. When she finally returns to her apartment, a stray cat she has been feeding is pawing at her window seeking entrance. Natasha says aloud, both to the cat and to herself:
I can’t let you in. I’m sorry! That’s one mistake I won’t make twice.
I sense here that at one point in her past, Natasha let a person into her life and that there were consequences for doing so. There is something that haunts her memory, a mistake for which she must atone. But whatever it is shrouded in the web of secrecy that she has spun about her.
So far, this series is holding my interest. Expect a post on Issue #3 soon.
So my daughter began following the Black Widow comic series. She likes it and suggested I read them, so I sat down and read the first issue. I have to say, I liked it.
The “Black Widow” is Natasha Romanov. She’s an ex-KGB agent who now works with S.H.I.E.L.D. She has a past which haunts her and it appears that she is trying to atone for something, but it is not clear what. Combined together, along with her ability to kick butt and her sense of fashion, I would consider her to be the consummate femme fatale. It’s almost impossible not to like her.
As far as the artwork goes, it’s quite impressive indeed. There is one panel where Natasha is rinsing a wine glass. The way that Phil Noto captures the curvature of the glass, the running water, and the various reflections and bending of the fingers is outstanding. Details such as this are what makes a comic book a work of art. I am impressed.
At the end of the issue, Natasha muses to herself as she watches a spider weaving a web.
How many more jobs… How long will it take… I don’t know if I can do it… Even if I could forgive myself… THIS is what I am now. And you’ll never know who I was before.
It’s like the web has become a symbol of her present state, where strands of memory connect her past to the present. Woven together, the events of her life have created the complex web which is her individual psyche.
I have the next several issues—correction, my daughter has them. But I will borrow them and read them soon. I’ll post my thoughts once I am done. Cheers!