You know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but that doesn’t mean you can’t judge the cover on its own merit. This year found us marveling at covers that weren’t just carefully designed and lushly colored, but that actually did a great deal of storytelling, cramming all of the drama, excitement and emotion of the whole issue into one succinct image. Some did it literally, some did it metaphorically, but all moved us in some way beyond simply broadcasting which of our favorite characters would appear in the issue. These are our top 10 covers of 2017.Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Michael are discussing Black Widow 10, originally released February 8th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Mordor. The one place in Middle-earth we don’t want to see any closer, and the one place we’re trying to get to.
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Drew: As far as motivations go, “destroy evil ring” is about as straightforward as it gets. Obviously, there’s a great deal more to Tolkien than his MacGuffins, but I think one of the most elegant ways he complicates that motive is the simple fact that the ring has to be destroyed in Mt. Doom. In this way, each step of they journey brings the ring closer to destruction and closer to falling into Sauron’s grasp. The only thing that could up the tension any further is suggesting that the “secret” plan to destroy the ring is simply part of Sauron’s plan to draw it out. Are they defeating him, or are they doing his work for him? Nat finds herself in a similar situation in Black Widow 11, as she apparently delivers an equally devastating MacGuffin to Recluse. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Black Widow 10, originally released January 18, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
“Thank you for being a friend.”
–Golden Girls Theme Song
Patrick: In college, I made a friend name Melanie. She was a freshman during my senior year, and she had kind of a tough time adjusting to the more Wisconsonian aspects of her college experience. She was from Portland, Oregon, and between the winters and the culture shock, she couldn’t connect with her classmates very easily. I loved that Melanie could see through the dorky Wisconsin obsessions with the Packers, or cheese, or beer or whatever, but that meant a lot of the ways we connected were extremely cynical. We complained about people together, we came up with strategies for getting each other out of small talk at parties – I’d consider it misanthropic if it weren’t also the thing that bonded us so tightly. We used to exchange birthday cards that read “Happy Birthday you fucking cunt.” Obviously, she’s the only person in the world I’d send that card to. Being friends with Melanie was unlike being friends with anyone else, and it’s important to recognize how unique each friendship is. For me and Melanie, that meant one thing, for Natasha and Bucky it means something else.
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Black Widow 8, originally released November 30th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Spencer: Natasha’s mission in Black Widow 8 is, ostensibly, to save the Vice-President from an assassination attempt by one of the young Dark Room recruits, yet it’s not really about trying to save the Vice-President; he doesn’t even make an appearance in the issue. Instead, the person Natasha is truly trying to save is the young assassin herself. In a way, by saving her, Natasha can save herself as well. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Black Widow 3, originally released May 4th, 2016.
Patrick: You wanna hear my theory for why we haven’t had a Black Widow solo movie yet? I don’t think filmmakers or movie audiences are prepared to sit through Natasha’s origin story. Given the global political climate, it’s bound to be difficult to mine adventure and romance out of what is essentially kidnapping young girls and turning them into child soldiers. That’s the source of Nat’s power – she’s frighteningly competent because she literally had to develop those competencies or die in the process. As Black Widow 3 drifts between the past and the present, Chris Samnee and Mark Waid make a point to keep us in the dark about how Nat pulls off any of her numerous remarkable feats. It’s a confident, unnerving read. Continue reading →
Patrick: One of the universal experiences of the comic book reader is the gradual sense that you’re actually getting to know these characters. Readers watch them grow and evolve, and there’s frequently running voiceover to add extra context to their actions. You ever notice that comic fans are much quicker to refer to Superman as “Clark” than people that just know him as a cultural icon? Surely, everyone knows that Superman is Clark Kent, but only those of us that feel close to him would have the audacity to use his first name. But what happens when a comic series actively keeps the protagonist’s perspective at arm’s length? Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto’s Black Widow shows off a Natasha Romanova that can only really be herself when hidden from everyone else. That includes Bucky Barnes, the Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., you and me. Continue reading →
Today, Suzanne and Spencer are discussing Black Widow 12, originally released November 19th, 2014.
Suzanne: Have you ever looked at your job description six months into a new job and chuckled to yourself? Rarely do expectations and generally-worded guidelines from corporate align themselves with real-life experiences. How about that summer internship when you felt more like a barista than a business student? Natasha Romanova feels your pain in Black Widow 12, as jobs constantly pull her away from her preferred role as a spy. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Black Widow 7, originally released June 4th, 2014.
Shelby: Sometimes it takes other people to really see something about a character. Seeing a character’s actions and internal monologue when it’s separate from others can almost numb you towards that character’s actions. It’s with the inclusion of another point of view that you suddenly realize the character is not all right, or that they need more help than even they realize. If there’s any character out there who needs more help than they realize, it’s gotta be Nathan Edmondson’s Black Widow.
Today, Shelby and Spencer are discussing Black Widow 4, originally released March 12th, 2014.
Shelby: I have a friend who’s having a frustrating time at work. Her department and position is currently transitioning to something different, so until everything is finalized she’s working two different positions. I can see how, from a management perspective, that would be the perceived best way to transition someone into a new job. For her, though, it just means she’s two jobs to do instead of one, and instead of focusing on one or the other she has to half-ass both. I think one of the toughest things about managing a company is avoiding situations like my friend’s. You have to be able to manage your people in such a way that they are able to do their tasks to the best of their abilities. It’s important to diversify and grow the skills of your employees, but not at the cost of prohibiting them from doing their actual job, especially if that job is being one of the world’s greatest spies.
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Black Widow 3, originally released February 5th, 2014.
Taylor: Home is a powerful concept for most people. It engenders ideas of safety, retreat, relaxation and rejuvenation. It’s a place to hang up your coat at the end of the day and somewhere where you’re allowed to live exactly how you want. In short, home is that place you go where you just feel good. However, if you’re Black Window, the concept of home can be a bit more complicated. Having lived a life that is defined by violence, the ideas of safety and retreat aren’t exactly well known to Natasha and with that comes an unusual view on the idea of home. In Issue 3 of Black Widow, Natasha ruminates on the idea of home and in the process learns a little something about herself along the way. With the spectacular artwork of Phil Noto accompanying the story, how could this issue be anything but great?