Black Widow (2014) #1 Review | Fanboys Anonymous

Black Widow (2014) #1 Review

Posted by Unknown Wednesday, January 8, 2014
To be completely honest, the novelty of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has worn off for me. Since The Avengers smashed its way through the box office a little more than a year ago, it seems as though Marvel has been doing everything possible to milk every last cent from the franchise. Aspects of the cinematic universe have even percolated into the comic books, and I find myself loathing the incessant overt nods to the movies. As such, I understandably I found myself rolling my eyes when a new series featuring the Black Widow was announced months ago. I dove into the pilot issue today expecting a superficial, trite, and juvenile rendition of the character; bozhe moy, was I wrong.

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Black Widow #1 was an absolutely engaging read that left me ashamed for having the feelings that I did going into the book. The team of Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto creates an extremely cohesive environment in this book, melding dialogue and artwork to give a very classical espionage feel to the series. Edmonson has a firm grasp on the character and elevates her from the level of "hot babe who also kicks ass" to a character with whom readers can connect with and feel for. He adds a very human dimension to the character that transcends the stereotype of a strong leading woman. Yes, this book shows off Natasha's lethality and luster, but it also gives us a glimpse into her insecurities and moments of vulnerability.

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Visually, this opening issue is stunning. The colors and lines used give the book a very different feel from most modern-day comic books. It looks less like a superhero book and more like a storyboard for a spy drama. Noto's portrayal of action and movement is second to none, using deceivingly simple strokes and shapes to convey something more akin to a short animation than a still panel from a comic book. Perhaps the most laudable aspect of this book's artwork, however, is its portrayal of the character. Far too often, artists fall into the trap of using exaggerated female anatomy to portray sensuality. Noto bypasses this method completely while still accomplishing the same task. Using gestures, facial expressions, body language, and other very subtle cues, Noto manages to paint a picture of sensuality without actually sexualizing and objectifying the character. Once again, we see another dimension of humanism added to the character that allows readers to focus less on how the character looks and more on how the character actually is.

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Black Widow #1 sets the stage for a plot that is sure to engage readers for issues to come. More importantly, however, this issue sets a precedent that solidifies the Black Widow as more than just an Avenger, or a spy, or a superhero, or even a woman: it sets her up to be a human being that readers can appreciate.

Score: 10/10  

What do you guys think? How do you feel about the portrayal of Black Widow in this new series?

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