Black Widow #6
Writers: Mark Waid & Chris Samnee
Artist: Chris Samnee
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Natasha Romanoff is an ex-KGB assassin, an ex-agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., and a sometime Avenger. She has tried to use her unique skill set to atone for her past, but atonement is not erasure. Sooner or later, the past comes prowling back.
The celebrated collaborative team of Mark Waid and Chris Samnee continues to captivate their fan-base with a spy thriller story, centered on Marvel fans favorite redhead, Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow. This six installment of one of Marvel's most psychologically complex characters concludes the first story arc of the series, "S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Most Wanted."
In where, a mysterious figure who is called the Weeping Lion, has learned Natasha's most shameful secret and has used it as leverage to get the savvy spy to steal files from her former employer. Unbeknownst to S.H.I.E.L.D Agent Elder, she was planning a triple cross and attempted to intercept the files. After discovering that Natasha has been blackmailed, he sacrifices his life and destroys the files, saving her in the process. Unfortunately, since the files weren't delivered to the Weeping Lion, he released Black Widow's secrets to the world. Those very secrets just so happen to have had a significant impact on Tony Stark, now he's on the hunt for his former teammate.
The creative team does a fantastic job of narrating an intense spy/political thriller to its readers, both in dialogue and visually. What's even more appreciative is just how it plays out. Albeit, there was more expectation for the impact the secrets Natasha was being blackmailed with, given the strong build up. Though Waid and Samnee are able to make it work with their execution and add more twists and turns to the mix. The encounter between her and Tony unfolds in a way that is unexpected and is more compelling than the two of them in a physical altercation.
Instead, the notion of the former Soviet's emotional and sometimes moral differences between her and her fellow Avengers, is placed in the center in a subtle way. Rather than just having Natasha and Tony state the differences, they play upon their shaky history with one another to captivate an emotional pull to the script. The writing doesn't dumb it down for its audience and respects their intelligence to figure it out on their own, with clips of dialogue and superb artwork.
Artist Chris Samnee is one of the best in the business and this issue exemplifies that. His page layout flows beautifully and sets the pacing like no other. The facial expressions and cinematography tells you all you need to know about the characters mental state, circumstances of the story and sets the tone brilliantly. What's really impressive is that there's a few instances of build up to a fight scene but multiple times it doesn't come. Samnee is able to make it work without it becoming a disappointment. However when action does ensue, it's fantastic and captures the fast pace movement to a tee.
Colorist Matthew Wilson is able to hold his own along with Samnee, as the color palette in this series has done a stellar job of acquiring tone and atmosphere. His use of shadows really add an emotional depth to the dilemma facing Natasha and the flashback scenes are first-class. The red filter to display the change in time is a clever choice, given the Black Widow's Soviet ties.
The conclusion to this arc succeeds an abundance of achievements that other comics all too often don't. It throws a curve ball at our expectations for the climax and still makes it compelling despite its lack of action. It creates suspense and a satisfying closing even with the addition of mystery to it. That only increases our appetites for more espionage from this dangerous redhead. Fortunately this series isn't being cancelled post Civil War II. This collaborative team cannot be praised enough, everything they've touched has turned into gold and Black Widow is no exception.
Score: 4.5 out of 5
Review by Eric Bradach
Check out my original blog @ https://thecomixalaxy.wordpress.com