Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Black Widow #5 - Marvel Comics

BLACK WIDOW No. 5, April 2021
Featuring one of the most emotional incarnations of Natalia Alianovna Romanova arguably ever seen within the pages of a “Marvel Worldwide” publication, Kelly Thompson’s superbly enthralling narrative for Issue Five of “Black Widow” must surely have gone down well with its audience. For whilst it might be hard for some of the super-spy’s fans to reconcile the ex-K.G.B. agent's heartfelt grief at the sudden loss of both her beloved husband and infant son inside a horrendous fireball with that of the ordinarily cold-hearted killer, the sheer sense of deadliness these deaths bestow upon the black-suited assassin is truly palpable; “Natalia. People are coming to kill us. We must kill them instead. You must put aside your grief and move. There will be time for grief later. I promise you. It is not going anywhere anytime soon.”

This disconcerting sense that an Avenger may well kill if provoked strongly enough is additionally heightened by Hawkeye shooting the Weeping Lion straight through the head whilst the criminal is foolishly trying to set his sniper rifle’s sights upon the world famous archer. Perhaps somewhat disappointingly, this debatably defining moment loses some of its gravitas when it is later revealed by Yelena Belova that the crime-lord simply “lost his eye”, but it is the thought that counts, especially when Clint Barton later willingly sets off an explosive arrow within a warehouse crammed full of hapless Hydra goons.

Romanoff’s sister-in-arms, Clone 3, also makes a lasting impact within Thompson’s finale for “The Ties That Bind” story-arc, when she literally smacks a distraught Natasha to her senses one moment and then lays down a serious beating upon the Viper in the next. Indeed, Belova’s battle against an absolute horde of Madame Hydra’s seriously outfought henchmen is one of the highlights of this comic, and the notion of her subsequently accompanying the titular character as a partner-against-crime in future instalments will doubtless have proved an irresistible hook for many readers.

Pulling all this book’s numerous punches together into a visual treat for the eyes, is Elena Casagrande and her marvellous ability to interject the savage violence which Thompson’s narrative demands with some superbly endearing moments, such as when the Black Widow briefly cuddles her dead son’s toy duck. However, the Italian artist’s finest moment within this twenty-page periodical has to be her double splash of Hawkeye watching from a high roof rafter as both Romanoff and Yelena dispatch numerous goons with a variety of kicks, missiles and bullets.

The regular cover art of "BLACK WIDOW" #5 by Adam Hughes

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