Stay on target
Wednesday is New Comic Book Day, which means that it is also the best day of the week. A lot of great comics came out today, but this column is meant to focus on the best of the best, the must have books that should be in everyone’s stack for the week. This week, that book is Black Widow #8 by writers Chris Samnee and Mark Waid, with art also by Samnee, and colors by Matt Wilson.
DARK ROOM FIELD TRIP! Students of the DARK ROOM — the successor of the Red Room — are making their way into the world. One young assassin has her sights set on a VERY high profile target. There’s no shortage of men prepared to stop her, and BLACK WIDOW will have to fight them all to save her.
Ever since the title debuted in March of this year as part of the Marvel NOW! initiative, it has been one of the best comics on the shelf. Taking everything that a casual reader would know about the character from the movies, and running with it, the series feels like a perfect set up for a Black Widow solo movie. Forcing Natasha to go on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D. as she is haunted by her past, it strikes a perfect balance of having a lot of fun with how smart and tough the character can be while also really making her feel vulnerable and human. The Red Room, the organization that trained Natasha, and others, from a young age to be Russian assassins has resurfaced as The Dark Room. Fighting to stop this new generation of girls from being brainwashed, as well as preventing their assassination attempts, makes for really compelling drama.
Natasha is a tough character to get right, which even the Marvel movies have a hard time of doing. Her characterization isn’t consistent, aside from the stone cold spy. Samnee and Waid go out of their way to show not only what kind of a person Natasha is, but also the amount of work that she goes into hiding it from everyone around her. Always two steps ahead, even when getting the snot kicked out of her, she’ll do whatever it takes to get her mission accomplished. A morally gray character that still manages to be compelling, she stands out as a force to be reckoned with amongst the Marvel Universe.
As if the writing wasn’t good enough, Samnee and Wilson are consistently making Black Widow one of the best-looking comics out. This entire creative team had an extensive and critically acclaimed run on Daredevil, which ended last year, and that is still one of my favorite series of all time. Having perfected their craft, they moved onto Black Widow, which takes full advantage of Samnee’s art. Having Samnee be the co-writer for this series seems to add to just how well the pages flow with the eye, as characters are always well established and move in a movie-like way across the page. The action sequences are always top-notch, as Samnee frames everything really well as to not lose track of the characters in the setting, always letting you know where everyone is and what they are doing.
As close to perfect as a comic book can be, Black Widow is the best example of the marriage of a script and art. Issue 8 is another excellent entry into the series, and if you are not reading it already, you should be. The issues eight is available in print and online at Comixology.com.