WIDOWMAKERS: RED GUARDIAN AND YELENA BOLOVA #1
Yelena has spent years trying to figure out who she is. Once she thought the Black Widow mantle was her destiny, but fate had other plans. Now the past is catching up with her — and with Alexi Shostakov, a.k.a. the Red Guardian! Alexi has worn many titles, including husband to Natasha, but while the Widow played her avenging games, the Red Guardian waited in the shadows. Now a new day is dawning...
So I’m a big Black Widow fan. In fact, it’s fair to say outside of the X-Men franchise Black Widow is my favorite character in the Marvel Universe…so the question I asked myself before I decided to review this issue was: Do I really want to review a book that certainly has a solid connection to but doesn’t feature Natasha on panel at all?
Quite honestly the answer was no, but I am glad I didn’t listen to myself because it’s actually a very decent comic.
The plot details are relatively standard: Character goes on a mission, the mission goes awry because things are not as they seem, and honestly, there are no major twists but that’s ok because what makes this comic such a great read is how it examines motivation and how one acts on that motivation. The vehicle in this instance for this self-examination is Yelena Bolova, former Black Widow (if only for a short time, her words not mine) and graduate of the Red Room. Grayson employs a first-person narrative for the character to superb effect that both mirrors the action on the panel but more strongly creates a personal connection to Yelena for the reader that gives you an insight into what she is doing, why she is doing it, and how she processes what happens before turning it into action.
Grayson even goes as far as to make this narrative monologue seem like it’s directly translated from Russian, sentence structure differences and all. Yelena has always been a character searching for identity and this issue touch’s well on that and shows us a character that’s finding their own personal way to do something to make a better world in her own way…stopping the one percent as Grayson puts it in the issue.
Red Guardian feels a little secondary in this tale and comes in later although by the end of the issue you definitely get the sense that has a bigger role coming his way in the Black Widow’s world, and there is a particular piece of dialogue between him and Yelena that rings exceptionally true when Yelena asks him if he expected Natasha to rescue him and his answer really feels like Grayson gets the character and how the character views Natasha.
The art is pretty decent too. Clean lines from Bandini and D’Amico, with good dynamic action panels that convey the similarities in styles between Yelena and Natasha because of their training at the Red Room. Colors from Erick Arciniega are a solid fit on top of the line work and overall it’s a well put together enjoyable one shot with a really great cover from Mike McKone that’s worth reading for the writing alone but has perfectly good art to go with that writing to make it well worth the cover price.
WIDOWMAKERS: RED GUARDIAN AND YELENA BOLOVA #1 isn't going to blow your mind with any amazing plot twists but at its heart, it's an excellent well-drawn character study of two interesting characters with long-standing ties to Black Widow.
WIDOWMAKERS: RED GUARDIAN AND YELENA BOLOVA #1: Stopping The One Percent…
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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