I’ve made it known here on this site that there are three things I love. Mark Waid’s writing, superheroes, and espionage. So its no shocker that today I’m reviewing the latest Black Widow #1 that not only is co-written by Waid, but sees him co-writing with his Daredevil artist and artist on this book Chris Sample. Colorist from their now legendary run Matt Wilson joins them too.
First issues can go either be a lot of setup or a recap of our central character and what’s going on with them right now, its fairly standard stuff for superhero comics. The more indie books need to setup both character and the world its set in.
So what approach does Black Widow #1 take? None of the above as it just throws you right in the middle of an already high-pressured situation and takes off from there. Now this approach is actually great since Marvel is obviously banking on fans of the character from the comics, but also those who are fans of her from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s for anyone who loves Natasha Romanoff and wants some more adventures with her right in the center of it.
Alright I feel like I just need to cut to chase, this book is perfect. PERFECT!
This book is like one of the better opening sequences to a James Bond film in such a high energy and fast paced sequence that never really lets up and is the whole issue pretty much.
What is on display here is the art and that’s mostly what’s going to be the focus. This issue has the best art I’ve seen in a long time. One thing that made Samnee such a great fit for Daredevil is the movements of the character. Daredevil was a character that utilized movement into his fighting style and the way Samnee would make the fight scenes and actions themselves flow from panel to panel and page to page, done effortlessly and Black Widow is a character that has a similar fight style.
The art here already feels like it could be better than anything he’s done on Daredevil. I’m serious and I think part of what makes the art so dynamic is that Samnee is co-writing. Mark Waid is the top name, but make no mistake, this is almost certainly Samnee’s book.
The instant you open to page one you start running and never stop. Each panel truly leads into the next and the pages flow fluidly. This whole page below perfectly captures that. Along with the opening pages that lead to the double page spread of the Helicarrier in the New York sky.
Samnee never pencils in a dull moment here. He makes sure to use all 20+ pages to his benefit. Again the book moves so smoothly. The book even describes it as a ballet, doing part of my job for me.
One thing that does help to make this exciting is colorist Matt Wilson who fits Samnee like a glove. Of course the color red would play a huge part into the look of the book and Wilson makes that color vibrantly stand out. It’s the full primary color of this issue and it works. It helps to give a distinct look.
Now to get to Waid, who is the co-writer. This is more action heavy, but there is a plot in here as S.H.I.E.L.D. Director, Maria Hill has disavowed Natasha and made her an enemy due to something she’s stolen. You don’t even realize this at first since once you start reading you can’t stop. I’ve gone back and reread this issue a couple of more times. I like how little the plot is here. Usually it’s a complaint to me and shows weak storytelling, but this is far from weak storytelling. Its strong storytelling that helps setup where we are with Natasha, reminds you just how goddamn badass she is, and that this is setting up for one hell of a mystery/adventure. Also how Natasha goes about her predicament feels very much in character showing that she knows how she operates.
I can’t praise Black Widow #1 enough. I was a big fan of the previous run from Nathan Emondson and Phil Noto (who provides the Marvel Hip-Hop variant cover for this issue) and I feel like the character couldn’t be left in better hands.
This is a rousing adventure to start things off and I’m excited as all hell with such an all-star creative team behind it.
5 out of 5 flying cars.