And so it begins: All New Marvel Now, or as we all like to call it Marvel Now 2: Electric Boogaloo! New books, new arcs, new beginnings, and new teams galore! The first one on the list for me to check is one that I’ve been excited to read since it has been announced: Black Widow, written by Nathan Edmondson (he wrote Dancer for Image) and Phil Noto (whose work on Jonah Hex I absolutely adore). Is it good?
Black Widow #1 (Marvel Comics)
Her past is dark and bloody, having done many things that are unforgivable. To make up for it, Black Widow takes on various jobs on her free time to try to make up for what she has done. However, is it enough?
Well, if you didn’t use the “A” word around her, she would be a better listener.
This was a great first issue for this new series, doing everything a first issue should do. It sets up the premise for the series (Black Widow taking jobs and doing her thing), it establishes the main character well enough so that we can like her, and makes us interested in seeing more of her adventures. Heck, it is even a one-and-done story so you get a whole story and you don’t feel forced to get the next issue to find out what happens next (with all of the comics I read, this is a rare occurrence).
Expanding on the characterization, the comic does a great job of fully fleshing out Black Widow; it provides her with some depth, as well as makes her fully accessible to a new reader who hasn’t read many stories solely about her (like me for instance). The opening bit establishes her character almost perfectly by itself, showing her competency at being a spy through her talk with a bomber and then escaping with ease. Then we got the see with her lawyer and the ending one where the comic gives her actions and reasons for why she does these missions depth and humanity, making her a character that we can like, cheer on, and hope that she finds what she truly desires. The comic does this material more justice than I could describe. To me, it’s just so rare that a comic, superhero or independent, can make a character so complex and three-dimensional at this level of quality in just a single issue.
Oh man, you really shouldn’t have looked up.
The rest of the writing is just as good as the characterization. The story is a one-shot and it gives you everything you need to know and see without the story feeling cramped or decompressed. It’s paced and structured well, giving every scene and moment a purpose in building the character or telling its story. The dialogue and narration is good, outside of the exposition drop in the middle (where, amusingly, one character says that he already knew everything the other said and didn’t need to hear it). And ultimately, even though it’s a one-shot and the story is over, the comic leaves you wanting to see more. You want to see the next mission Black Widow goes on and see how she pulls it off. It’s just fantastic.
The artwork all around was just beautiful and really added to spy feel and tone. The characters look great and the action is phenomenal, with just a wonderful sense of motion to it with the lines and flow. What’s most impressive though is the coloring and line work, using a lot of different shades and washed out colors to it, which also adds to the feel of the series. The only odd thing about is that comic can shift abruptly from thin lines with heavy paints that cover them to very light colors with heavy, thick lines that look scratchy. It’s not awful, but it can be jarring in some parts.
…so I had to shot them dead. They won’t come around here anymore! I don’t think so!
- Fantastic and developed main character.
- Enjoyable and well told one-shot.
- Artwork looks and feels great.
- An exposition drop in the middle is a bit unnatural.
Is It Good?
Black Widow #1 is just a fantastic start to a brand new series that should be read. It fully fleshed out and realized its main character with beautiful artwork and an enjoyable one-shot. If you are looking for a new series to try, there is no better one out there at this moment from any company than this.
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