Black Widow: Out of the Past

Writer Paul Cornell tells us all about diving into Natasha Romanova’s background with BLACK WIDOW: DEADLY ORIGIN #1

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BLACK WIDOW: DEADLY ORIGIN #1 cover by Adi Granov
By Marc Strom

Over the decades, Natasha Romanova has gone from spy to Champion to Avenger and back again. In that time, she's accrued more than a few enemies, and now she'll pay the price for some of her past transgressions in BLACK WIDOW: DEADLY ORIGIN #1 from writer Paul Cornell and artists Tom Raney and John Paul Leon on November 4.

According to Cornell, the action kicks off with "a modern-day high-tech attack on [the Black Widow] and those she loves that leaves her reeling, and makes her search her memories for who or what might be responsible."

Given all the corners of the Marvel Universe that Natasha has shaken up, it should come as no surprise that a veritable who's-who of heroes, villains and historical figures will make appearances in this story.

"It's a tour of all the people whose lives she's changed," Cornell promises. "Tony Stark, Logan, Hercules, Clint Barton, Daredevil, two kinds of Captain America, the other Black Widows-everyone from the Avengers to the Champions to Nick Fury, Stalin and Kruschev!"

BLACK WIDOW: DEADLY ORIGIN #1 preview art by John Paul Leon
As the Widow racks her brain trying to figure out what could have led to this most recent attack, readers will follow her inward journey and become privy to a full history lesson on all things Natasha.

"I'm touching on her entire history," Cornell confirms. "From her birth in the 1920's to her training in the Red Room and before; her time intriguing against Tony Stark; that time in her history when she partnered [with] Daredevil and thought of herself as cursed. Everything could be meaningful to the action adventure in the now."

Given that the Black Widow doesn't have any super powers of her own, she has to rely solely on her training as a spy to stay alive in a world where she goes up against men and women that could cripple her without blinking on a daily basis.

"She's got a lot of experience," Cornell points out. "She's kept herself training in the martial arts, tactics, leadership, self-discipline, ruthlessness and just knowing what people are like for around 60 years now, [and she's] still at the peak of physical fitness. She's the person who can take on the leadership of S.H.I.E.L.D. at five minutes' notice. She's also got a deeply wry, cynical sense of humor, a fatalistic streak. She never gives up. She'll get through whatever comes at her and complete the mission."

BLACK WIDOW: DEADLY ORIGIN #1 preview art by John Paul Leon
Working with Raney and Leon on the artistic side of things, Cornell promises that readers will have a visual treat when they crack open BLACK WIDOW: DEADLY ORIGIN #1.

"I'm throwing a lot of modern Daniel Craig-James Bond shapes at her in this one," the writer teases. "There [are] eight pages of a fistfight in an orbital bomber falling from the sky that I think Tom does particularly well with. And [John Paul's] flashbacks are incredibly beautiful. The two artists give us glam action and lyricism, and moving from one to the other feels luxurious."

Though this limited series will focus heavily on Natasha's past, Cornell warns that it will also have a major impact on her present as well:

"Not everyone from her past survives."

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