Enslaved by a potential predator using dark arts, Natasha uses the unexpected responsibility of the space stone and transports to free the children.
INFINITY COUNTDOWN: BLACK WIDOW #1
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Nik Virella & Brent Schoonover
Cover Artist: Yasmine Putri
Colorist: Cris Peter
Publisher: Marvel Comics
What You Need to Know:
Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow, thought to have been killed by Captain America, was found alive by Hawkeye and Winter Soldier. At the end of the Infinity Countdown #1 issue, while in Southeast Asia, Natasha inherited the Space Stone by Wolverine. The question remains; “Why choose her?”
What You’ll Find Out:
Infinity Countdown: Black Widow #1 takes Natasha to London, where she employs the Space Stone’s teleporting abilities. She engages in a fight with Captain Britain’s mutant evil brother, Jamie Braddock, who is using magic to enslave children. The Black Widow triumphs over evil, but is poisoned by a magical snake. With the help of a mysterious wizard, the children are freed and cured Natasha.
What Just Happened?
Gerry Duggan expanded Black Widow’s involvement with the Infinity Countdown. The first phase of this issue, I was hooked like Thanos to the cosmic stones. Natasha’s morbid sense of humor entertains throughout this issue. Duggan’s ability to write shines brilliantly in this one-shot issue with controversy and articulating the space stone with the major Infinity Countdown event. He references other important characters and guides Natasha as a key focus point as the arc continues to future issues.
Dungeons and Dragons fans may have mix feelings of clear references to Merlin. Duggan uses this magic-wielding character to guide Natasha and cures her of the poison, but never divulges his identity. At first, the wizard seems to be a drunken hobo. However, he helps open Natasha’s mind to access more power from the space stone so she is capable to teleport greater distance. Black Widow is so impressed with the wizard that she offers the space stone to him for safekeeping. However, the wizard declines and tells Widow, “this is not my story”.
I am confused why Duggan chose Jamie Braddock as the villain for this issue. Braddock is a mutant that can manipulate “reality” in many ways. Would this character not be better placed with the Infinity Countdown: Captain Marvel one-shot? Duggan could have taken advantage and create a new villain that abuses teleportation or dimensional travel. A fresh new villain could give infinite possible stories connecting to the future of Marvel comics.
The artwork by Virella & Schoonover excitedly spoke in detail with the Black widow’s fight scenes. They are the driving force to express the teleportation process of the space stone. Setting the scene like London at night is a perfect way to make a “spy” theme character work. The first page of this issue looks as if came right out of a movie scene. This creative team shows off their expertise as Black Widow’s fight off Braddock’s men. Cris Peter Does an awesome job contrasting the art through dark colors in the beginning of the book.
The artwork of Virella, Schoonover, and Peter continues to provide excellent enhancements to the magic aspect of this issue. The wizard opens a portal to send the mystical vipers back home. The artwork clearly shows Braddock controlling the children. Briefly, I have to mention the artwork on the Jamie Braddock character for a moment. Many comic book readers may be familiar with Braddock’s comfort level of near nudity. However, this even made me a little weirded out and uncomfortable. It’s almost like the creative team wanted to portray this character as a child predator in more than one way.
Final Thought: Infinity Countdown: Black Widow #1 articulates well with the main event along with referencing other stories. It could have been better with a few changes to lead as a four-part tie-in miniseries instead of a one-shot. Overall, an excellent read and I highly recommend picking up!
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