Writers: Chris Samnee, Mark Waid / Artist: Chris Samnee / Marvel Comics
I had no idea this was the last issue. I’m hurt. I’m fucking hurt. That’s what y’all really ’bout to do, Samnee and Waid? Y’all just going to leave after putting Natasha on the map with the story she deserves? You just going to leave after explaining why the espionage game is Natasha Romanova? That’s what y’all do, huh? Ugh! Damn, this series has basically been a 12-issue oneshot cold case similar to what Waid did on Moon Knight, except in twelve parts. Lemme tell ya something, it fucking works.
We got the final showdown as Natasha was out flanked by Recluse who’s literally got her up in the Steiner Recliner (or Camel Clutch for my Iron Sheik fans) with piano wire. The six Red Room cadets about to turn the keys and drop the fader on all of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s data and agents (which would kill mad folks tied to the agency) unless Natasha merks one of the girls to put an end to things.
If Samnee and Waid’s run has taught us anything, it’s that you can never force Natasha into a corner as she will always find a way out unconventionally. This issue serves as a great finale as we get another one-on-one fight pitting Natasha against Recluse. Recluse is packing a sword that looks like it’s straight out of Bleach. That sword looked fancy, unique, and pretty pretentious all at once, which was truly fitting for her character.
Also, can we just appreciate that Natasha, even when down, out, and exhausted, will still talk that shit? Natasha is not afraid to tell you about yourself mid-fight. Waid has Natasha display a read on herself as to why she is the way she is due to what she took away from the mistress, against how and who she truly is in the field. We get a nice wrap to everything in the end as well as a new adversary for Natasha from her past that can come back as a major threat under a different creative team.
Samnee of course closes us out with art that’s fast paced and brilliant. I love artists where their work could double as a film storyboard, and you cold easily see this final issue playing out like the finale of a Black Widow film (here’s hoping). We got Natasha with her life being constantly on the line and the threat of death is very imminent and believable when Samnee is on visuals.
Let’s be clear, Chris Samnee and Mark Waid gave Natasha an incredible year. Marvel’s never rocked espionage deeper than what this creative team has done with Black Widow. This series was the spy version of Ninja Warrior/Ultimate Beastmaster and it’s what the Marvel Universe has long needed.
Reading Black Widow? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.