Chris Samnee and Mark Waid’s run on Black Widow made my top 10 comic books of the decade list for a reason. The series was cinematic, exceptional at character exploration, and looked so damn good doing it. Lucky us, the twelve-issue series is getting a “Complete Collection” this week right in time for the Black Widow movie. This is great news if you haven’t read the book, or if you want to refresh yourself on the series, especially since we know the new movie takes from this collection:
This series does a great job revisiting Black Widow’s past, giving her plenty to fight and punch along the way. Waid and Samnee effectively weave in flashbacks as Black Widow and Weeping Lion confront the Headmistress that started it all for Black Widow when she was just a child. The creative team ramps up the espionage, pacing the action with character work and giving us a story that feels fresh throughout. As the story progresses you’re left questioning what’s going on, trying to figure out the mystery, and increasing your interest as the plot intensifies. As everything comes crashing together and the action dials itself up to eleven, there’s the added benefit of not knowing how this story will play itself out. This is good visual storytelling.
The art by Chris Samnee does well in capturing the tension in each action sequence and mixing things up with its layouts. Matthew Wilson’s colors have a more subdued palette that reminds you this is a more realistic superhero tale, but artfully uses splashes of red in backgrounds to enhance the violence at the moment. Samnee also draws spot-on locations like the White House, which helps remind us the threat is very real. There are multiple instances where Samnee shows how far he can stretch his skills to tell the story.
In issue #9 for instance, Samnee uses silhouettes of the fighters to help focus your attention on the movements in the fight scene. The backgrounds, cast in bright colors by Matthew Wilson, makes them pop even more. The colors throughout in fact are very nice, with cool blues and whites to convey the harsh cold. There’s also a nice use of sound effects, with a metal spike from Natasha’s wrist sp-Dinking through the D in “Dink” (also is that the statue from Maltese Falcon?). It’s visually hammering you and that’s a constant throughout the collection. I implore any and all artists new to drawing or even masters to check this book out as there is something here for everyone to be in awe of and to learn from.
This Black Widow series may be the best ever for the character. It’s a rich look at her history with pulse-pounding action and a lot of storytelling going on with no words required. It also has a satisfying end. Black Widow is made more interesting in a fulfilling and action-packed series!
The 272-page collection is out now in comic shops and in book stores next week.
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