Black Widow is a character who I've been waiting for a solo book for a while now, ever since I saw Natasha Romanoff in Iron Man 2 and Avengers. One of the best parts of the Iron Man sequel, I wasn't really a comics reader at the time of IM2 but when Avengers came around I was really hoping to see one soon, and finally, after months of waiting and teasing, we have a Black Widow solo ongoing. No new team book featuring Natasha as a major character, but a proper solo Black Widow book, in the vein of Matt Fraction's Hawkeye series that was launched to critical acclaim just before the start of Marvel Now. And now, as one of the initial All New Marvel Now! launches I can certainly tell you that Black Widow #1 has been worth the wait, for Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto both bring some brilliant stuff to the character, setting up an awesome new ongoing that although shouldn't be $3.99 - much like many of the other titles Marvel are putting out, is still a good book and I think based on the strength of issue one, I will stick around for more.
The book manages to not only appeal to new readers who have never read a Black Widow solo comic in their life before (like myself) but also fans who view the character as their favourite in the Marvel Universe. We've seen plenty of Natasha guest starring in other comics, mostly Avengers-related books, but this is an entirely different direction taken by Nathan Edmundson. It's more down to Earth, focusing on the spy side rather than the superhero element, so if you're a fan of Ed Brubaker's Velvet I can imagine you'll like what you find in this comic, with some exploration of the character who has clearly done a lot of bad things in the past and is after atonement. The book sees herself undergoing several non-Avengers related missions, and whilst yes, she may be a part of the team, the book clearly establishes herself as a character who's not going to play by the book.
Black Widow #1 kicks off with a suicide bomber with a finger on the detonator, and the book doesn't let up from there. It's fast paced, action packed and a fun read. The book doesn't fall into the trap of comic relief or adding some lighter elements but remains to be enjoyable all the same - and to add to the already strong list of things that the issue has going for it, the artwork by Phil Noto is just stellar, and for me one of the highlights for the book. There are some great panels within Black Widow #1 and I very much look forward to seeing more of Noto's artwork and I hope he sticks around on the book for a while. Plus, how awesome is that cover? It's brilliant. Black Widow has never looked better as a character and on the whole I can't wait to see her explored in further depth, and as a result I'm glad that issue two is shipping in the same month, because it can't come quickly enough.
I'm definitely in for the long haul on this book, and hopefully it will stick around for a while. The artwork is amazing and the storyline is impressive, so I can certainly see myself adding this book to my monthly pull-list!