They say that the early bird gets the prize. In the case of Black Widow, that is certainly true. It was one of the first titles launched as part of All-New Marvel NOW! and partly because of that, and partly because it is so damn good, it has stood out of the rest of Marvel’s new launches. And it is already on its 5th issue, which is great to see. Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto have been doing some incredible things with the title and they continue that with this issue, which is completely in keeping with the previous four issues.
Recently, Black Widow has gone up against a crazy religious fanatic who has been causing significant mayhem all over the place. And now she is on the hunt for him, which means that we get to see some Natasha do a lot of legwork in order to bring him down. This is where the series really starts to go into exciting espionage territory and gets really fun. Of course, the art isn’t too behind either because Phil Noto turns out another absolutely stunning issue. He’s been pulling out all stops and there’s no stopping him, which is just fine with this reader!
Before we start talking about the story and the internal artwork, can we just take a moment to really appreciate that mind-blowing cover? Phil Noto has turned out some great covers before, but I think that this one just might be the best of them all. He captures the entire action so well that you can really visualise the whole scene as part of some movie or the like. So really, what’s not to like here? And Gischler delivers a nice representation of this scene inside the comic too, although it is not quite so jaw-droppingly awesome.
As I said, the story this time is focused on Natasha hunting down the man who calls himself the “Hammer of God”. She calls in some favours and one of her contacts in French Intelligence comes through for her, giving her some good, solid intel. Although, as you can no doubt tell from the cover, the intel doesn’t quite make it to her in time and so she has to… improvise. The action between Molot, the machine gun preacher from the last issue, and Black Widow isn’t as exciting as it was in the previous issue, but she does give him a great send-off that really had me giggling. all I can say to Molot is: sucks to be you, bro.
But that’s not all of course, because in the middle of hunting down Molot, Black Widow ends up with a bigger mystery on her hands, and this one seems to be a bit outside of her area of expertise. It adds layers to the overall story, building up an even bigger mystery, and the ending makes it worth it, although I’m not quite sure what it is all about since I’m not familiar with the character introduced on that page.
Still, one of Edmondson’s defining elements on this series so far has been Black Widow’s internal monologue, something that he really nails down in this issue as well. Apart from offering some great commentary on ongoing events, it allows you to really get inside Natasha’s head and see things how she sees them, rather than as the observers readers typically are. Which is all great, you know.
One thing that I missed in this issue, despite getting to see Maria Hill so many times, was that Isaiah did not feature here. He is Natasha’s… agent of sorts, helping her get jobs around the world and taking care of her finances. And he’s pretty damn badass, as some of the previous issues have shown. He was missed!
And when it comes to the art, I’m really not sure what I can add. I mean, the art is awesome as always, no criticism comes to mind. Phil Noto has been spectacular and this is a continuing trend. If I had to stretch, and a stretch this is so keep that in mind, I’d say that some of the scenes with Natasha and her French contact are not coloured “properly”. By which I mean that their faces are too white. Or just pasty white. Or something. Point is, their faces aren’t coloured “realistically”.
Overall, another smash hit issue.