One of the last new books announced pre-pandemic was Black Widow from Kelly Thompson (Captain Marvel), Elena Casagrande (Catwoman) and Jordie Bellaire (lots of things that won Eisners). Now that comics publishing is chugging along again, Marvel is celebrating this book’s return to the schedule with a new trailer, and holy cats look at that hallway fight.
The book is teased as Natasha Romanoff’s end as Black Widow. In an interview about the book with Marvel from The Before Time, Thompson said “…’heartbreaking thrill ride’ is pretty fair but also hard to expand on without giving things away. I will say that there are incredibly personal stakes for Nat at that center of this story, and she’s going to lose a lot.” That loss is implied to be at the heart of Natasha’s choice to walk away from the game.
The interview (and trailer, released by Marvel) also has some previews of Casagrande and Bellaire’s work, and it’s a fairly exciting glimpse at an art team feeling their power. Hallway fights in Marvel television shows have become almost cliche at this point, but they’re almost tougher to pull off in the comics than on film. The point of the hallway setting for a fight sequence on television or in films is to put that constraint on motion, to root the viewer in one place and help them feel the flow and chaos of the sequence. That motion is entirely on the art team in comics, and often the setting is treated or constructed as immaterial to the movement. Really good art, however, uses the setting to move the reader through the action…
…and anyway look at this…
Bellaire is one of the best, most essential artists working in comics today, and Casagrande’s figures and flow feel perfectly suited to the violent gymnastics you’d find in a Black Widow or Catwoman book.
None of this is meant to gloss over Thompson’s writing skill. Her Captain Marvel is one of the best runs on the character ever, and her Rogue and Gambit comics were maybe the best X-Books immediately pre-HoX/PoX. She is also partially responsible for the best Marvel character created since Kamala Khan and Miles Morales: Jeff the Land Shark. This all adds up to a strong “pull” recommendation when Black Widow finally drops in September.
For more on Black Widow or a comprehensive ranking of Jeff the Land Shark’s essential appearances, stick with Den of Geek!