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Black Widow #1

(This review originally appeared in NextPlanetOver's The Scoop. However, its archive has since been disabled.)

Reviewed By Beth Hannan Rimmels

Writer: Devin Grayson
Artist: J.G. Jones, Dave Kemp
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment

Black_Widow_small.gif (9428 bytes)I try really hard not to have expectations before I read book, but I have to confess that I started salivating for Devin Grayson’s Black Widow when I first heard about it at last year’s Comic-Con in San Diego. Grayson’s a talented writer who I was sure would bring an interesting touch to the under-appreciated character.

I was right but not in the way I expected. Grayson brings Natasha Romanova back to her spy roots in a scenario that works in this post-Cold War world. Black Widow is dispatched — by both the Russian and American governments — to retrieve a deadly bio-toxin from Rhapastan. The monkey wrench in the scenario is the fact that the Black Widow has been sent to kill her. No, that’s not a mistake. Natasha’s original trainers in Moscow’s Red Room have trained another Black Widow to replace and eliminate her.

I’ve been pleased with the results of Jimmy Palmiotti and Joe Quesada’s Marvel Knights line, and Black Widow is no exception. The opening of the Soviet Union has expanded the story possibilities for spies rather than diminished them since things are no longer so us-against-them simple. Grayson is clearly fascinated by Black Widow’s potential and does a good job of conveying the stoic Russian attitudes and innate professionalism the character requires. It’s clear even in black-and-white photocopies of the real pages that Jones’ art is nicely done with painterly details.

If the rest of the three-issue miniseries fulfills the promise of the first installment, I hope it sells well enough to warrant a regular gig for both Black Widow and Grayson. They make a great team.

1999 NextPlanetOver.