Mark Waid & Chris Samnee
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always told people when it comes to comics, I’m definitely a Marvel guy. Once I signed on to do the ANAD project, however, I quickly realized what I should have been saying for all these years is, “I’m a Spider-Man guy.” While I certainly read a few X-Men comics in my earlier days, maybe a little Daredevil, the only superhero I really subscribed to was Spidey. My introduction to a lot of these superheroes has been through the MCU films, Black Widow included. I was excited to finally be introduced to these other beloved characters through their original medium.
Black Widow delivers in a lot ways. Since I’m a newbie to most of these story lines, I welcomed any kind of backstory that might help me understand the character. Black Widow surprised me in that it doesn’t provide a whole lot of Natasha Romanov’s history, but it gets by just fine by relying on pretty simple established truths (she’s a spy and agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.). Even for someone who has been living under a rock for the past few years and hasn’t seen the MCU films, it was still easy to follow this story, and that’s where the artwork comes in.
Oh the artwork. I’m already planning to look up other things Chris Samnee has done because he has been my favorite artist by far. When thinking back on the other 64 comics I read, Black Widow may have had the smallest amount of dialogue, and that’s ok! That’s why this medium is so awesome and why I’m so glad I’m getting back into it now; being told a story almost completely through visuals in a printed (okay, iPad) format is something I’ve sorely missed.
Her escape from the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier jumping out of a window tens of thousands of feet above (Chicago, by my estimation of the skyline on the title page, which is gorgeous by the way!) and using her pursuers to aid in her landing was exhilarating, and that’s just in the first couple pages. A motorcycle chase and shootout through the city leads to bloody fisticuffs on the shores of Lake Michigan (we’ll go with Chicago) with a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
Natasha knows something that SHIELD absolutely does not want her knowing. It’s not the most original plot driver for sure, but having Widow start out in serious hot water with her employer has me itching to read more. The bottom line is, this is visual storytelling at its most stunning, and that is why I signed up for this crazy project in the first place.
First Collection: Black Widow, Vol. 1: S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Most Wanted (October)