On a snowy night in Prague, Black Widow must fight her way out of disaster alongside the Winter Soldier! And as Isaiah’s London business turns complicated, Natasha finds herself fighting against — or alongside? — the Punisher for access to a deadly criminal network. But trapped on an exploding oil rig with Crossbones and his Skull Squad, will Frank and Natasha complete their missions — or take each other out? Then, Hawkeye is back! But could his fight with the Widow cost Isaiah his life? And in the wake of Wolverine’s death, Black Widow bonds with the despondent X-23 over punching and espionage, and teams up with the Howling Commandos for a dangerous mission in Afghanistan. But what will the Avengers do when they learn how Natasha has been spending her days off?
I continue to enjoy this run of Black Widow, however I found this middle volume of the run to be a little bit of a "who is going to make a guest appearance next?" kind of thing. We had several guest appearances including from Daredevil (in which I learned that he and Natasha used to date), Hawkeye, X-23, and Punisher. I didn't mind the guest stars except for Punisher, but that was mainly because that issue was followed by the Punisher issue of the same event, adding absolutely nothing except for a different (inferior) art style.
In this volume, we see Natasha travelling the world and completing missions that has been given to her. In the meantime, there is a background build up of some sort of conspiracy that she has yet to get to the bottom of. The issue culminates in a bit of a cliffhanger, and I am keen to get to the next volume to find out what happens. The next volume is also a Last Days story, leading into Secret Wars, so hopefully the main conspiracy will get enough page-time.
I didn't enjoy this volume quite as much as the first, but I think that is in part because of the large gap I left between volumes one and two, in terms of reading. I suspect they would've been slightly more au fait with what was going on, if I'd been able to jump straight into it. That said, I still really like the art style used by Phil Noto and I hope he'll be illustrating more of the comics I'm into after this run.
I will definitely be picking up the last volume soon. I recommend Black Widow to fans of Black Widow, female superheroes, female spies, and cat owners. (Well, the cat owner thing is a little bit more complicated than that, but still.)
4 / 5 stars
First published: 2015, Marvel
Series: Black Widow (2014) vol 2 of 3, containing issues #7–12 (and issue #9 of Punisher)
Format read: Trade paperback