Thursday, 13 May 2021

Black Widow #6 - Marvel Comics

BLACK WIDOW No. 6, June 2021
“Best described as San Francisco now belongs to The Black Widow”, at least according to its publisher “Marvel Worldwide”, Kelly Thompson’s script for this particular twenty-page periodical definitely shows a street-level side to the “world’s greatest superspy” which arguably harks right back to the character’s pre-Avengers days in the early Seventies when Gerry Conway penned her alongside Daredevil. Indeed, apart from a handful of super-strong enforcers, there’s barely anything ‘fantastical’ on show at all within this comic’s intriguing interior as Natasha Romanoff purely relies upon her fighting smarts and technologically-advanced hardware to defeat a Crime Boss’s top tier cadre; “Swords. Cool. I like swords too. Bit cumbersome though. Small throwing knives are also cool.”

This down-to-earth grittiness and focus upon street-level shenanigans really does seem to suit the Eisner Award-nominee’s incarnation of the Russian secret agent, especially considering that the woman is still emotionally traumatised by the loss of her adorable infant son, Stevie. Furthermore, it is clear very early on that the titular character is also still physically struggling from her recent battle with Madame Hydra’s cohorts, with Thompson’s riveting narrative even going so far as to have the vulnerable heroine tear open the stitches in her right side whilst breaking the arms of one particular heavily-muscled goon, and having to seek the wares of a pharmacy before returning to the fight.

Similarly as stimulating is the California-born writer’s inclusion of Yelena Belova and a poorly-skilled purse snatcher called Marigold in a fast-paced flashback sequence. Disappointingly, the White Widow doesn’t actually appear in her capacity as an assassin during her sister-in-arms’ pulse-pounding confrontation with Apogee's numerous henchmen. But does raise the fascinating suggestion with Romanoff that together the two successful graduates of Department X's espionage training program could potentially recruit “some young talent” in order to create “our own not-Red Room” in Golden Gate City.

Guest artist Rafael De Latorre also needs a notable nod of congratulations for his contribution to “Widows”. The Brazilian artist does a first-rate job of imbuing Natasha with all her trademark speed during the clone’s fight scenes, with the former S.H.I.E.L.D. operative’s limb-breaking blows proving a particularly well-pencilled, eye-wincing treat.

The regular cover art of "BLACK WIDOW" #6 by Adam Hughes

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