Black Widow is back in TALES OF SUSPENSE #103. In this issue, written by Matthew Rosenberg and illustrated by Travel Foreman, Hawkeye and the Winter Soldier’s search for Black Widow has come to an end. They may have found her, but their journey is far from over.

Picking Up the Trail

In the previous issue of TALES OF SUSPENSE, Hawkeye and the Winter Soldier continued their search. On their search, they encountered Orphan Maker. Just as Hawkeye and the Winter Soldier get her to talk to them, we see her get shot in the head. Turning around, they see that the shooter is the supposedly deceased Black Widow.

This issue continues from that moment, then goes back to just after Black Widow’s death. She awakes in a hologram induced by the agents of the Red Room. An agent tells her to not reveal that she remembers her death and life before it. Black Widow resumes her mission to kill HYDRA agents, hiding her knowledge from the people running the Red Room. Then, she discovers that she is a clone of the original Black Widow, given all of the original woman’s memories by a psychic member of the Red Room. Upon this realization, she comes up with a plan to dismantle the Red Room and save her friends.

Death After Death in TALES OF SUSPENSE #102

Black Widow Revealed

TALES OF SUSPENSE #103 brings Black Widow into the comic. When we see her discovering the truth of her “resurrection,” we learn about the extent of her intelligence. In this series of events, we also see the inner workings of the plot that Hawkeye and the Winter Soldier have been following. These story details enlighten us to the unanswered questions presented in previous issues. These are questions such as “Who is killing the HYDRA agents?” “Why is this person using Black Widow’s calling card?” and overall, “what is going on?” The details also reveal that Black Widow has a role in the story other than her supposed death.

Black Widow, having learned of her role as a clone meant to replace deceased agents of the Red Room, does not become senselessly enraged. Yes, she is angered, but she proves herself intelligent and calm. She develops a plan we assume is both for revenge and to save her friends. She appears to have developed such an intricate plan in a rather short amount of time. This exposition on Black Widow’s life after her “death” shows us more of her true nature.

TALES OF SUSPENSE #103
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

These details also serve to elaborate on the plot. All of the exposition that Matthew Rosenberg gives in TALES OF SUSPENSE #103 gives the plot depth. Black Widow’s return changes the story entirely. We understand that this story is more than a search; it is a journey for revenge and discovery of the truth. Essentially, the whole issue gives a new outlook to the story.

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Artistic Tendencies

The illustration, from Travel Foreman, and coloring, from Rachelle Rosenberg, in TALES OF SUSPENSE #103 is done quite skillfully. The illustration uses great detail, particularly in the depiction of Black Widow, to make the comic have a more realistic appearance. Coloring in this issue makes excellent use of gradient to create shadows, allowing for an eerie feeling to the issue. Together the two aspects make the issue all the more interesting to read.

TALES OF SUSPENSE #103
Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

We see a lot of detail in Travel Foreman’s depiction of Black Widow, especially in her hair. Readers can see every strand, which allows for the illusion of its movement in action sequences. We see her face wrinkle and bunch up when she becomes angry with the Red Room, which lets the reader truly see and feel her emotions. She becomes more than a simple illustration. She actually shows humanity.

Rachelle Rosenberg uses a gradient of light to dark, taking colors from the palette and subtly darkening them to create shading. Readers see this used to depict realistic shadows that bring a sense of unease to the comic. We are not thrown into a story with overdone shading. We see characters shaded just enough so that they look realistic, yet eerie. The shading of Alexander Cady, the man running the Red Room, casts his body in a slight shadow, with colors peeking through. This shows the reader that something has gone wrong here and allows the reader to feel more connected to the comic through the unease created.

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Mission Report for TALES OF SUSPENSE #103

TALES OF SUSPENSE #103 brings a whole new plot to the comic. We see how truly dangerous Black Widow is through the revelation of her true intelligence. We see the plot made more interesting and captivating by filling in some gaps from previous issues while creating more questions to be answered in the future. The detail of illustration having such a quality of realism invests the reader more in the comic. This is enhanced by the eeriness created through the gradient of shading. With all of this working for the comic, TALES OF SUSPENSE #103 is undoubtedly a strong issue.

TALES OF SUSPENSE #103 by Matthew Rosenberg, Travel Foreman, Rachelle RosenBerg, VC's Clayton Cowles, and Andrea Sorrentino
Plot
Characterization
Art
Summary
Black Widow's return allows for a whole new plot to develop with her intelligence on full display. In addition, the illustrations create a sense of realism while the use of gradient in the coloring is eerie and evokes unease from the reader. Overall, this is a great read.
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Black Widow's Back!

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