THE BLACK WIDOW
Welcome to part 4 of our report on Natasha Romanoff aka the Black Widow. In part 1 we took a look at the upcoming BLACK WIDOW movie. In Part 2 we went over her origins. Last time in part 3 we began to exam her history and covered her Silver age appearances. Today we’re going to continue with her history and cover the Bronze Age (1987-2012).
So sit back and relax. Take a bubble bath, light your mood candles, open a bottle of your favorite wine, get yourself some strawberries, and lets visit with our favorite super-spy the Black Widow!
The Black widow eventually goes back to the Avengers and becomes a co-leader with the Black Knight. She manages the ops at their home base while the Black Knight takes charge in the field. However, the majority of the team is killed during the Onslaught story line. She is unable to rebuild the team and at the same time fight off the lawsuits from the Maria Stark Foundation and this leaves her feeling it was all her fault.
Natasha vows to apprehend all of the Avengers’ former enemies. As if this was going to make her feel better. She runs into Daredevil while tracking down the Grey Gargoyle. He fears for her mental state because she seems obsessed with finding the Grey Gargoyle. As he tries to help her Daredevil’s girlfriend Karen Page becomes jealous and angry. I don’t blame her. Natasha Romanoff is a hard act to follow. The Black Widow accepts Karen and Daredevil’s love for each other and leaves them be. She even helps Karen when later on Mr. Fear frames her for a murder.
The dead Avengers turn out not to be so dead after all – which relieves Natasha but still feeling guilty she decides to work with S.H.I.E.L.D.
Daredevil re-enters the scene in a big way when he asks the Black Widow to take care of a baby he believes to be the Antichrist. Later, while under the influence of mind-altering drugs, Daredevil tries to kill the baby and Natasha stops him. While they fight Bullseye kills the baby and the Black Widow is badly beaten. With the baby’s death Daredevil regains his senses. He and Natasha have a reconciliation and they admit they still care for each other but decide they are better off separate. I still think they are made for each other.
It is Black Widow versus Black Widow when Yelena Belova enters the scene claiming the title “Black Widow.” Belova tries to stop Natasha from retrieving the Endless Fury Serum but fails. Goes to show you who is the real Black Widow!
In an attempt to figure out what General Stalyenko was doing with the Rhapastani Government in the Hudson River Valley, Natasha captured Belova and has their faces surgically swapped. Figuring out that Belova is not really Belova after they meet, Stalyenko tries to kill her. Her undercover plan may have failed but the Black Widow manages to prevent Stalyenko from selling the nuclear weapons he had hidden to Rhapastan.
The Bulgarian Government captures Madame Hydra and wants the United States to exchange her for the Black Widow. Daredevil and S.H.I.E.L.D., along with Natasha, run a sting to find out what is going on. It turns out that her husband Alexi Shostokov had arranged the whole thing. With the Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., and Daredevil along for the ride the Black Widow takes Alexi into custody.
Seeing your husband first dead then living then dead then a robot now living again is enough to drive any widow batty. Natasha decides to retire and live in Arizona. Arizona? But then agents from the Red Room begin killing ex-Black Widow agents. Natasha and Phil Dexter from S.H.I.E.L.D. hunt down the killers. In the process they find Lyudmilia Antonovna Kudrin the former head of biotech for the Red Room. The Black Widows included 27 girls implanted with false memories, psycho-chemically conditioned, and chemically enhanced to be loyal and perfect killers. This included using pheromonal locks and keys as control mechanisms. As she takes Lyudmilia to S.H.I.E.L.D. the Black Widow learns that Nick Fury used the pheromonal keys to make her defect and go to work for S.H.I.E.L.D.
The Black Widow killings lead Natasha to Vassily Ilyich Ulyanov from the Red Room and Ian McMasters CEO of a company called Gynacon. Gynacon had purchased Red Room biotechnology from their successor Agency 2R and wanted all prior users of said technology dead. She catches up to Ulyanov and McMasters on his yacht and kills them. This makes her the most wanted criminal in America.
In Cuba, Natasha asks Yelena Belova for help. At this time Belova was running a lingerie company and soft porn TV channels. In exchange for her help Belova wants her to help export stolen medical supplies from Miami. Kestrel and Martin Ferris capture Natasha and using mind-altering drugs try to find out what she knows. Does anyone else see a recurring theme here having to do with the Black Widow and her mind? Daredevil rescues Natasha with Belova’s help and our Black Widow then kills Kestrel and Ferris.
In an effort to find the financier of the super-villains in America, the Black Widow is assigned to hunt down the Tinkerer. This she does and the trail leads to Lucia von Bardas – the current Prime Minister of Latveria. The President refuses Nick Fury’s request for an overthrow of von Bardas. He therefore recruits the Black Widow, Captain America, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Daredevil, Wolverine, and Daisy Johnson. Daisy Johnson? Unfortunately for him, the heroes disapproved of bringing down Castle Doom on von Bardas. Later, Fury erases the memories of the participants in his secret war. I thought Nick Fury was supposed to be a good guy.
The government arrests Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Foggy Nelson, and Daredevil after his secret identity of Matt Murdock is revealed. Natasha manages to keep everyone out of jail except for Daredevil. I still think they make a great couple.
Natasha is a supporter of the Superhuman Registration Act as well as a member of the taskforce led by Iron Man. Afterward she allows herself to be registered and joins the new Avengers.
Later, S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Tony Stark is presumed killed and Deputy Director Maria Hill is incapacitated, as the highest-ranking agent present Natasha becomes Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. I guess having once been an enemy agent doesn’t count for much these days.
Undercover as Yelena Berlova, Natasha infiltrates Norman Osborn’s Thunderbolts. When Osborn catches her breaking into a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility he offers her a position as field lead. She and her team then take control of Air Force One. Osborn begins impersonating Fury in messages to the Black Widow.
She and the Thunderbolts are ordered to kill former team member Songbird. Fury orders her to rescue Songbird for the information she may possess. She finds Songbird and reveals she is actually Natasha Romanoff. She tries taking Songbird to Fury but they are captured. Osborn reveals he has been impersonating Fury. He orders the Thunderbolts to kill them but Ant-Man, Headsmen, and Paladin turn on the Thunderbolts and let them escape. Mach V and the Fixer rescue them and they learn that the Osborn shot during the melee was a LMD (Life Model Decoy).
Natasha is framed in the assassination of U.S. Senator Whit Crane by a global conspiracy against spies. A spy named Fatale captures Crane’s son Nick. Natasha steals Nick away from Fatale. Both of them want to know his source for implicating the Black Widow. She takes Nick to a secret C.I.A. base to scare him but both of them are captured instead. Natasha and Nick escape but are attacked by Fantasma and the Crimson Dynamo in Poland. The Black Widow takes out the Crimson Dynamo and Fatale shows up and takes out Fantasma. She says she had been hired to kill Crane but found he had already taken his own life. She needs Nick to track down who paid for the hit. Nick gives them the name of his source Sadko (he lied). When they get there it’s a trap wired with explosives and they are forced to escape. In Russia, Natasha runs into Mockingbird and Hawkeye on the same trail. They find trainee spies and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents have been killed. Perun, Crimson Dynamo, Fantasma, and Sputnik try to apprehend Hawkeye thinking him Ronin the man responsible for the spy deaths. This was a diversion and our three heroes and Dominic Fortune warn the true target – an ambassador in St. Petersburg. Our gang then travels to Japan. Fortune and Mockingbird find a battle force near the northern Japanese islands. Meanwhile, the Black Widow and Hawkeye hunt down the Madame – an old ninja working with Ronin. Our heroes meet up on a disputed island where they confront Ronin – who turns out to be Natasha’s husband Alexi Shostakov. Talk about a bad penny. He wanted to kill off the world’s secret agents leaving governments blind while he made his attack with the battle force. He brought them to the island so he could kill them. He sets off the island’s volcano but the Black Widow and the others use the volcano to defeat his forces. Fantasma hypnotizes Alexi into see Natasha’s death and this allows her to take him down.
The Black Widow joins Commander Roger’s Secret Avengers after the Siege of Asgard. When Stark Tower is rebuilt she joins the main Avengers team. She helps Spider-Man defeat the Sinister Six when she, Spider-Man, and Silver Sable were the only heroes left as the rest of the Avengers were defeated.
Natasha sided with her fellow Avengers during the war with the X-Men. After the war she joined the primary team. Later when S.H.I.E.L.D. took over the Avengers to find the Illuminati she leaves the team and joins Sunspot’s Avengers.
The Avengers and the Illuminati kiss and make up because of the imminent destruction of the universe. This is due to a Multiversal phenomenon known as an incursion. The Black Widow’s job was to bring selected people aboard the Future Foundation’s Life Raft. As the final incursion came to a close, Natasha’s ship was damaged and she died in the explosion. Yep, you read that right.
This is as good a place as any to call it a night. That pretty much covers the Bronze Age of the Black Widow. Next time we will look at her Modern Age appearances and yes despite where I left off she does have more appearances. Allow me to say goodnight and in the words of those two immortal heroes the Cisco Kid and Pancho, “Hey Cisco! Hey Pancho! Lets Ride!!!”