Grim_Noir Goes Romanoff The Grid With Black Widow #1



Title: Black Widow #1

Storytellers: Chris Samnee & Mark Waid

Cover Art: Chris Samnee & Matthew Wilson

Variant Cover Art: John Tyler Christopher; Stephanie Hans; Tula Lotay; Phil Noto; Kevin Wada; Skottie Young

Color Art: Matthew Wilson

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Publisher: Marvel Entertainment

Reviewed by Grim_Noir

After Brian Michael Bendis had turned Daredevil into such a boondoggle that neither Ed Brubaker nor Andy Diggle could fix it, Marvel turned to co-storytellers Mark Waid and (slightly later) Chris Samnee to set one of their flagship heroes right. I do not think it would be hyperbole to say their four-year run has become beloved by Daredevil fans. So, when I heard that they were taking over the new run of Black Widow, my heart raced a bit like date night. But (to extend a metaphor to the breaking point), after one entire issue, I’m still waiting for a kiss of plotline.

Page one explodes in media res as S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Maria Hill announces “stop at all costs” orders for Natasha Romanoff. We are never told what Widow has done or why. The entire issue is one “escape-from-the-Death-Star”-type chase scene. Personally, I need more twisty/turny plotting, tangled webs of deceit and double- and triple-crosses.


Mark Waid is an expert writer. He has a knack for taking characters back to the basics, while bringing them into present day sensibilities. His mission statement for Daredevil was simple: “How about we let him WIN once in a while?” So far, the idea for Black Widow appears to be “Let’s take away all her toys and her support system.” Only this time, it appears Chris Samnee is the lead writer and Mr. Waid is the co-writer and dialogue fluffer. I don’t know if that makes any difference because Samnee and Waid have always worked closely together, but this issue is too vague. I prefer a little steak with my ladleful of gravy.

Black Widow Helicarrier

As an artist Samnee is amazing. I have written before about his terrific work on Daredevil and his covers for The Shadow. Since a great many pages go without dialogue, the action is very dependent on the artwork. At his best, Samnee’s artwork comes across as an unusual mix of Steve Ditko and Will Eisner. Fortunately, Samnee IS at his best in this book; background characters are expressive and fights are well-choreographed. He even makes a few sixteen-panel pages flow without bogging the reader down.

I have been an espionage fanboy for even longer than I have been a comic book reader and I will talk for hours with a fellow spy addicts about Bond, Bourne, Modesty Blaise, Velvet, or Ninjak. S.H.I.E.L.D. stuff has always been catnip for me, however I gotta recommend a pass on issue one of Black Widow. As pretty as it is, there is zero plot and absolutely nothing hinting at foreshadowing in this book. I’m not saying to avoid the title completely. I’m sure it will feel like a movie’s pre-credit sequence when it is eventually bound into a trade collection. But if you’re looking to follow Black Widow monthly in floppies, save your four bucks. You will be better off starting with issue two. You will have missed nothing and it will probably be a more rewarding starting point.

Skottie Variant Black Widow



* GRIM_NOIR is convinced that the internet is a figment of his imagination. Please comment below and/or follow @Grim_Noir on Twitter or Friend on Good Reads or Facebook to end his self-delusions.

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