I have recently written how well Marvel are treating its female characters, Spider-Woman and Mockingbird specifically. It makes sense then that their only cinematic female hero (yes, I am not counting Maria Hill), gets the same treatment.
Following last issues desertion from S.H.I.E.L.D, this issue begins to explore the reasons for Widow’s actions. Acting as a hidden personal guard to Maria, Widow comes into contact with a group whose plan seems to have greater implications for the erstwhile Avenger herself, leading her into the lion’s den.
Writers Chris Samnee and Mark Waid collude to tell a story full of intrigue, which bearing the lead character is a super-spy, you would come to expect. For the most part, the story works well, with the main “d’oh” moment coming when it’s mentioned that the graveyard is only known to S.H.I.E.LD and is then promptly compromised by a team of bad guys. Despite this poor set up, the rest of the story moves along quickly. The action scenes are full of both slinky stealth and vibrantly violent where necessary, showing the level of skills that Widow possesses
Chris Samnee also provides the art for the book with what appears to be two distinct styles in play. For the opening act, the art is more focused, there is a great panel featuring Widow as she is looking down a scope. In addition, it seems that the opening act is meant to show a more personal side to the story. As the story progresses, latter action scenes take a David Mazzucchelli turn with simple lines replacing the heavy work of earlier pages. I am not sure which I prefer to be honest. Matthew Wilson is the colorist who does a fantastic job throughout the book, from the dreary grave site to the explosive action scenes towards the end of the book.
So where does this book fit in the pantheon of Marvel’s female led books? This issue is an improvement on the last, with reasons and explanations leading into more questions. As for my question, whilst this book is an enjoyable read, I find it hard to really empathise with a character who acts, seemingly in her own best interests. The book may lack some of the charm of its stable-sisters, but there is no doubt that action fans will enjoy the continuing twist of turns of the Black Widow.
STORY BY Chris Samnee, Mark Waid
ART BY Chris Samnee