Secret Avengers

Secret Avengers Spotlight: Black Widow

The greatest spy in the Marvel Universe prepares for new challenges and complications under the pen of Rick Remender

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By Ben Morse

If ever anybody fit with the Secret Avengers, it would be The Black Widow.

A tenured member of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and even one-time leader of the primary team, Natasha Romanova also boasts a reputation in espionage second to none, serving decades as a highly valued secret operative for everybody from her native Soviet Union to Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. Her skillset made the Widow an obvious early draft pick by Steve Rogers for his Secret Avengers, and her continued presence will serve as a boon to new leader Hawkeye and the rest of her squad.

“She really is the perfect for this team, and though she doesn’t want the responsibility of leadership at this point in her life, she is an invaluable member,” says writer Rick Remender, who takes over SECRET AVENGERS alongside artist Gabriel Hardman this February with issue #22.

“I like writing her with a shroud of mystery. Where the other characters are always revealing parts of themselves, Black Widow isn’t. She’s the ultimate spy, and though that might make some people uncomfortable, she’s also a former leader of the Avengers and has more than earned her teammates’ trust. It is one of those situations where you can like and trust someone, but the fact that they’re withholding and mysterious can play at odds.”

Hawkeye will certainly lean on the Widow for her experience and knowledge, but readers with long memories will recall that the two characters first burst onto the scene together as villains menacing Iron Man as well as lovers. While their romance subsided to friendship some time ago, Remender hasn’t forgotten their intense past.

“Naturally their history together is going to play a role in their future together,” he notes. “However, at this point in time they’re both in very different places, and both in different relationships. I think they have a nice professional working association. But I’m definitely building off of the fact that they were entangled super villains at one point and both have to constantly reassure those around them that it won’t happen again.

“That’s the thing about having been a villain or a spy: there’s always a little bit of doubt people might have as to whether or not you’re capable of returning to the life or if you’re keeping dark secrets.”

As for the man currently speaking for Natasha’s heart, that’s another secret she must keep, as she remains involved with Bucky Barnes, the former Captain America and current Winter Solider most of the world believes perished during the events of Fear Itself. This relationship and the Widow’s side engagements in the WINTER SOLDIER ongoing series will not be untouched by SECRET AVENGERS.

“[WINTER SOLDIER writer Ed] Brubaker and I had a conversation right around when [I started on SECRET AVENGERS] that mostly focused on the Shadow Council, but I’m sure we’ll circle back around to make sure that our plans for Black Widow interconnect in the future,” says Remender. “I also wonder how Hawkeye would respond to discovering that she is keeping such a huge secret from him. There is some meat on that bone and plenty of potential for drama.

“As for intersecting storylines…who knows.”

Black Widow Digital Comics Spotlight

TALES OF SUSPENSE #52: The first appearance of The Black Widow

AVENGERS (1963) #29: A brainwashed Black Widow battles the Avengers

BLACK WIDOW (2004) #1: The Black Widow’s origin retold

CAPTAIN AMERICA (2004) #27: Natasha reunites with her one-time trainer and lover, The Winter Soldier

BLACK WIDOW (2010) #3: It’s spy vs. spy when Black Widow takes on Elektra

Stay tuned for more Secret Avengers Spotlight and be sure to get SECRET AVENGERS #21.1 on January 25!

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