Ever since they announced this issue, I’ve been very excited for it. X-23’s solo series hinted at the idea of Black Widow having more of a presence in her life. Also, Marjorie Liu stated in an interview that her plans would have had them working together if the series hadn’t been cancelled. And why not? These two characters have very similar skill sets when written properly, and personalities that are at least comparable.
Black Widow 11, written by Nathan Edmondson is about the two of them working together to save Natasha’s lawyer, Isiah, from a man she saved years ago. She asks for Laura’s help, seeing as she may be even angrier than herself due to Wolverine’s upcoming death. This issue is pretty much straight action, with the two of them showcasing their tactical skills, fighting expertise and even Laura’s superhuman athletic abilities in one panel. On that front, this is the best written X-23 we’ve seen in a while, even if some of her dialogue feels a little too casual. Even through all of this, there’s still room to further develop Black Widow’s ongoing story involving an organization called Chaos. The two of them have a 2-page conversation at the end, which does a great job at emotionally exploring both characters. With the plot thickening further on the last page, this series will likely get more interesting soon.
Phil Noto’s art may not be in everyone’s taste, but he’s a master at visual storytelling. Right from the first panel where they show up, you can tell Black Widow and X-23 are angry. Isiah appears badly beaten, with an eye nearly swollen shut. When Natasha swings from one building to another, motion blur is used to good effect. Some of the colouring blends together a bit in some pages, but it usually works to a dramatic effect. For example, the pages are very red when Laura starts fighting, and when the two characters converse on a train about their issues, almost everything besides them is shaded blue.
This issue makes me want to see Natasha and Laura team up more. Not just both characters are awesome, but because they work so well as a team. Come on Marvel, a Black Widow/X-23 ongoing would be amazing, or a mini-series at least. In case you couldn’t already tell, this is an easy recommendation for fans of either character, or anyone interested in an espionage series in the Marvel Universe.