Now that the first major storyline in Black Widow is over, writer Nathan Edmondson can start another epic espionage storyline … except that Secret Wars is here. Instead of focusing on the Last Days Of banner the same way that Magneto and Ms. Marvel do, this comic mostly takes place in the days where Natasha worked for Russia.
The comic opens with a page of Black Widow promising to save as many civilians as possible during the last incursion, and the rest of the comic tells a story of the young Black Widow working in Cuba. It’s a good story, one that makes great use of espionage and black ops tactics. She’s working to convince a family with valuable information to help the Russians instead of letting them defect to America. The story is simple enough, yet there’s still a twist at the end that could be emotionally impactful by the story’s end, depending on how it plays out.
The art by Phil Noto is great as usual. Natasha looks a lot younger in Cuba with fewer lines on her face and shorter hair. The environmental detail often helps tell the story, whether it’s Natasha overlooking Cuba with a friend from the Red Room or the crowded bar where they first meet the potential defectors. The visual storytelling is also great, most notably a page in the middle where Natasha uses scare tactics to help convince the family to side with the Russians. The facial expressions here highlight the confusion and nervousness of the couple.
Although issue 18 felt a little anti-climactic, this has been a great espionage series so far, and it’s great that the comic continue that trend in the middle of Secret Wars. Black Widow regulars should pick this up, as should fans of espionage comics who haven’t given this series a chance yet.