Review: BLACK WIDOW #1

BLACK WIDOW #1
Written by Nathan Edmondson
Art by Phil Noto
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: January 8, 2014

BWIDOW2014001_DC11_LR_Page1All-New Marvel NOW! kicks off with a bang with the first issue of Black Widow, a stylish, fantastic first issue that expands on the fan favourite character and kicks off what has the potential to be an absolutely fantastic series.

Nathan Edmondson writes a great Natasha. His Black Widow is mysterious, strong, conflicted, guilty, noble and, most of all, intelligent. Much like Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of the character, Edmondson’s Black Widow is cool under pressure, but constantly at war with her past and atoning for what she has done. The internal conflict is evident at all times, giving readers a deeper take on this character than we have seen in the team books or even Winter Soldier. Edmondson brings a fantastic balance of espionage, action, and business to this issue, hitting every beat perfectly for a first issue that is setting up the tone of the arc. Readers get the information they need organically, through a couple jobs Natasha takes on that reveal a lot about her character and the red she is looking to clear in her ledger. Fans of the character in the film or in Winter Soldier/Avengers, etc. will feel right at home with this comic as Edmondson writes the strongest Black Widow I have read in years. He manages to show her as one of the toughest characters in comics while also examining a softer side, which is an extremely difficult balance to achieve. Edmondson’s script simply excels on all levels, and his partner in crime, Phil Noto takes that script to a whole other level.

Noto’s work in Black Widow #1 is jaw dropping to say the least as he provides some of the best work of his already stellar career. His style is suited perfectly to the story he and Edmondson are telling, and there are so many layers to this story that are told through the visuals alone. Noto brings an amazing style and vision to the world in this series, in a similar way to how David Aja has built the look and feel of Hawkeye’s world. As an opposite to the somewhat down-on-his-luck and bumbling Clint Barton, Noto gives us a stylish and polished Black Widow who is always on her game, graceful and insanely dangerous. His work on this comic brings it to the next level, enhancing Edmondon’s script and really setting the tone for the comic. His pacing is phenomenal, with all the twists and turns dropping at just the right time for maximum impact and his brilliant facial work portrays the stoic nature of Natasha perfectly. His Noto skillfully shows her outward strength and guilt over her past all at once, taking this comic from being a standard spy story and elevating it to a fantastic look at what makes up this complicated character. This is one of the most visually stunning comics I have read in a very long time and, if Noto can keep up this high quality work, this will be an arc to remember.

This comic will pull you in with the first page and it will not let go until the final panel. Edmondson and Noto have crafted a really special comic in Black Widow #1 that sets the framework for what could be one of the strongest series of 2014. The cohesion between the script and art is as tight as I have ever seen and the story these two creators have crafted is simply brilliant. This is the strongest version of the character I have ever read and I can’t wait to get my hands on #2. Do yourself a favour and try this one out as fast as you can, the shops won’t have copies for long.

The Verdict: 10/10

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