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Black Widow teams up with Thing, Spider-Man, and Daredevil in this new reprinting.
Marvel

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Black Widow: Marvel Team-Up Review

Black Widow teams up with Thing, Spider-Man, and Daredevil in this new reprinting.

Running from March 1972 through February 1985, Marvel Team-Up was an action and adventure series that slapped two heroes together who might not normally work together. All but 10 of the 150 issues featured Spider-Man, which is probably why he’s included in every issue here save for a Thing adventure and three Marvel Comics Presents stories also included here. What kind of adventures could Spider-Man and Black Widow get into, you might ask? The fight against supervillains like the Owl and Silver Samurai, Black Widow falling in love with Spider-Man since she has amnesia, and more!

In general, this book works due to the way Marvel used Black Widow in the ’70s and ’80s. She was a spy, a good guy, but still off fighting secret organizations and popping up at opportune times to thwart the end of the world. The opening story Marvel Team-Up #10 with Thing is proof of that as the two end up crashing into each other quite literally and are soon stopping a madman from destroying entire cities with tidal waves. The story ends in an interesting way since both these characters are more adult than most heroes at the time as they sip cocktails. This is followed up with a Spider-Man story that’s all fighting by Chris Claremont and artists Sal Buscema and Dave Hunt. It wouldn’t be for another 27 issues that Claremont comes back to the series with a brand new Spidey/Black Widow team-up idea.

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The meat of this book collects Marvel Team-Up #82-85 written by Chris Claremont with art by Sal Buscema and Steve Leialoha. The story mixes things up with Black Widow unaware of her spy past or even who she is, which opens up a romance between her and Spider-Man. It would never work if Natasha remembered who she was, which is an interesting angle although it’s a bit pervy on Spider-Man’s part. I guess the heart wants what the heart wants? Luckily for Natasha, she remembers how to fight for the most part which helps her fight against Shield Strike Force, Boomerang, and even Nick Fury. It’s an epic tale that has a nostalgic look thanks to Buscema’s well-crafted pencils.

Getting closer to the end of the book are a few more Spidey and Black Widow team-up stories involving the Owl and a two-parter weaving in Daredevil during a New York blackout. These stories have a much heavier realism angle with the heroes fighting common street thugs. Kingpin is thrown in there too, but he is far from a global threat like much of the previous stories in this collection focus on. Wrapping things up are some ’90s stories involving Silver Sable and other Daredevil. Shockingly the art is rougher and less iconic in nature which may take you out of the book.

Overall this is an interesting look at Marvel’s attempt to develop Black Widow. For the most part, she serves as a surrogate to get Spider-Man and other heroes involved in spy dramas which give these tales a slightly different feel from conventional superhero fight comics.

Black Widow: Marvel Team-Up
Is it good?
Overall this is an interesting look at Marvel's attempt to develop Black Widow. For the most part, she serves as a surrogate to get Spider-Man and other heroes involved in spy dramas which give these tales a slightly different feel from conventional superhero fight comics.
An interesting look at how Marvel used Black Widow as a spy character in the '70s and '80s but never really knew what to do with her
Lots of Spider-Man in this book if you dig that character
Great art especially from greats like Sal Buscema
Somehow the '90s reprints here are the ugliest of the bunch
Black Widow isn't the most interesting character in this period and it shows here
7.5
Good
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