Natasha Romanoff is on a mission, a mission with one objective: to spill some blood. Previously in BLACK WIDOW, our favorite assassin took a vacation to Madripoor to blow off some steam. There, she met an ally, Tyger Tiger, and found a target through the deplorable website, No Restraints Play. Now, in BLACK WIDOW #2, the war begins as Natasha vows to end those responsible for the carnage behind the website.

BLACK WIDOW #2 thrives in its unapologetic depiction of Natasha Romanoff, the assassin. It brings Natasha back to her element, giving readers an authentic interpretation of the character, even if that portrayal may be hard to look at sometimes.

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BLACK WIDOW #2 page 1. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The Widow Bites Back

So, continuing off the ending of the last issue, BLACK WIDOW #2 commences with the Pirate King paying a visit to Natasha. He’s seeking revenge since Natasha beat the living hell out of some of his men. Little did he know that Natasha was seeking out this confrontation. She wanted a fight, and that’s exactly what she gets.

Natasha brutally beats the Pirate King and his men, tying them up to a car after. Following this confrontation, Natasha hunts down more individuals associated with No Restraints Play. As her hunt ensues, she contemplates the vivacity violence has provided her with since her revival. She doesn’t hold back as she shoves a billiard cue stick down someone’s throat.

Sometime later, an old woman approaches Black Widow imploring for her help. The woman takes her to a girl who has been horrifically tortured by those associated with No Restraints Play. So, Black Widow asks for descriptions of the men who hurt her.

She goes to find them. However, her mission gets interrupted when Natasha gets attacked by Madam Masque, who is also out for blood.

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BLACK WIDOW #2 page 2. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The Verdict

BLACK WIDOW #2 does indeed maintain a relatively simple storyline. Natasha Romanoff is out for blood. However, that simplistic plot is exactly what Natasha needs right now. The character has experienced a multitude of complex experiences over the last few years.

Therefore, it is rewarding to see Natasha revisit her roots and reclaim agency over her narrative.

Now, the most exciting part of all of this is seeing Natasha reclaim agency over who she is as an assassin. There is something incredibly satisfying about witnessing Black Widow slashing people’s knees and using a billiards cue stick as a weapon.

Perhaps this is because it is gratifying to see Natasha be an anti-hero and not follow anyone else’s rules.

One can infer that this simplistic narrative will not last much longer without feeling repetitive. So, hopefully Madame Masque provides the series with some structured context. However, for now, the series is giving Natasha the exact characterization she needs and deserves.

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BLACK WIDOW #2 page 3. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The Many Hues of BLACK WIDOW #2

Unfortunately, in my opinion, the artwork comes across messier than I would have liked it to be. With that being said, Flaviano does capture the brutal action sequences flawlessly. There is a relentless energy to them that is perfectly juxtaposed with the vibrant colors provided by Veronica Gandini.

One of the elements I appreciate most about this series so far is its ability to showcase brutality without being overly gratuitous. As a result, the panels that do encompass blood or an explicit act of violence carry much more weight.

These moments are rather shocking because we are very much aware of the things Black Widow is capable of. Though, it is always alarming to witness on the page as Black Widow blurs the line between what a hero should and should not do. Of course, Black Widow does not care much about that line right now, and that is fine with me and probably most readers.

Thus, though the artwork may falter at times, it makes great strides in depicting the ferocity of Natasha Romanoff and the trail of blood she leaves behind.

What Lies Beyond

BLACK WIDOW #2 is an awesome work, to say the least. Its characterization of the titular character definitely pushes boundaries. We witness Natasha enjoy violence, thrive in it, be merciless toward the most reprehensible people in the world.

As aforementioned, it will be interesting to see how the overarching story of this series will play out.

Again though, for now, it is incredibly satisfying to see this authentic portrayal of Black Widow, a portrayal that ultimately instills freedom within her.

BLACK WIDOW #2 by The Soska Sisters, Flaviano, Veronica Gandini, & Joe Caramagna
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
BLACK WIDOW #2 may continue to maintain a rather simply story, but its authentic, raw, unapologetic vignette of Black Widow herself transcends.
87 %
beautifully gritty
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