Natasha’s own secrets are being used against her, forcing her to return to the place where the Black Widow was born… Will it be the last place she ever sees? Your Major Spoilers review of Black Widow #4 awaits!
Previously in Black Widow: “The ‘Weeping Lion’ is using Black Widow’s darkest secret to blackmail her. She’s played along, stealing from SHIELD and making an enemy of the dogged Agent Elder while trying to get close enough to learn the Lion’s endgame. Her latest mission was to return to Russia to retrieve a list of names associated with the Red Room — where Natasha learned to be an assassin. Haunted by memories of her past, of the Headmistress and her daughter Anya, Natasha left herself vulnerable, and was stabbed by a child assassin.”
A NEW RED ROOM?
After the shocking attack at the end of last issue, it’s clear that the Red Room may not be as dormant as Natasha had thought it was, and this issue opens with a series of blurred-vision POV shots as she nearly bleeds out…
…until an old friend arrives and carries her away. We see more of her formative years in Murderspy Academy, once again focused on Anya, the daughter of the Headmistress, who was never allowed to be a spy. In the present, the Widow is nursed back to life by Iosef, who agrees to loan her some of his antiquated equipment in her bid to find the ‘Dark Room’, a rejuvenated version of the Red Room, which she discovers is run by Anya, with The Headmistress still (somehow) in the picture.
The most fascinating part of the story in this issue comes when Headmistress refuses to let Anya take on Natasha in her injured state, instead providing her with the files that she’s been searching for. It’s a chilling moment, having her foes simply give her what she wants rather than oppose her, knowing that she can’t do anything to stop their new enterprise. Samnee’s art is excellent, as always, especially the subtle facial expressions that we see between Black Widow and Anya (both as children and as extremely angry adults.) As the issue comes to a close, Natasha waits for her contact to arrive, a simple sequence that is somehow also an incredibly tense cliffhanger, thanks that the quality of the art and the writing involved…
THE BOTTOM LINE: TENSE AND EXCELLENT
This series is a real (you should excuse the expression) marvel of storytelling, with the art doing a lot of the heavy lifting of the story, while the dialogue and interactions come across as quietly perfect. Black Widow #4 is a seamless integration of art and story featuring a strong main character and some really intriguing spycrafty stuff, earning a truly impressive 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. This is the kind of comic that can define a character for years going forward, like Miller’s ‘Daredevil’ or the Steve Gerber run on Defenders…
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