Black Widow #15 (Comics Review)

Nathan Edmondson has been going full out with Black Widow of late, backing the SHIELD agent into a corner of hell and making her work doubly hard. Recently, she finally infiltrated a high-level meeting of CHAOS, the group that has been causing problems for SHIELD and for her right from the first issue of the series last year, and she didn’t exactly come out of it without a scratch. It has been a pretty incredible journey so far in this series, and with the addition of yet another guest star this past week, things look set to get even more crazy.

Black Widow #15 deals with the aftermath of Natasha’s infiltration of a high-level CHAOS meeting, a meeting that she forced to happen so that she could finally face her enemies. But things didn’t go according to plan since it turns out that CHAOS has hired soldiers who can, effectively, turn invisible. Problematic for sure, and much of this issue focuses on how Black Widow beats these guys, with some expert help of course. And that’s where the true fun of this book is, since each guest appearance so far has been handled artfully, and that looks set to continue with this one too.

Once again, I just want to take a moment and point out that this cover is just amazing. You look at it from a distance and you see Natasha on the cover. But look closely and you find out that it is like one of those composite photo collages. Also, it is a really, really good covers. I generally prefer to see more dynamic and vivid covers from Phil Noto, but this one too has its place I think and I’m certainly in love with the composition.

For the story itself, it is as I said above. Natasha has gone after CHAOS with all guns blazing and since the last issue on, it has been a fight to the death pretty much. These people have made a mockery of her work for SHIELD, have had her portrayed as a dangerous loose canon in the media, and have caused all sorts of hell for her. Not to mention that they were also behind an attack on her friend and attorney Isaiah, who is currently recuperating in a hospital from gun-shot wounds. Pretty intense all of that. And Natasha wants her full due right now, deservedly so.

Since the start of the series last year, Black Widow has been a pretty damn incredible book, and it has also been one of the most consistent titles I’ve been reading in the last three years. Nathan Edmondson has crafted something really impressive here, and this issue makes the fight against CHAOS so much more than personal. There’s something really… engrossing about how Natasha fights CHAOS at every opportunity, but is rebuffed again and again because the group manages to pull out yet another weapon to fight her.

And that’s where this month’s guest star comes in, helping Natasha get out of a jam and then assisting her in taking the fight to their enemies yet again. It is all a result of the whole “expose” that happened on Natasha a while back by Andersoon Cooper of CNN (oh yeah, that was a really fun issue!) and is one of the great examples of how she has forged friendships all across the superhero spectrum. Great to see this particular guest-star especially, given their shared history, and also because it totally ups the action quotient of the story here.

I mean, I had a blast reading this issue, as I usually do every month where Black Widow is concerned and Nathan Edmondson’s writing is a huge part of that.

Phil Noto is the artist on this, with VC’s Clayton Cowles on the letters. Right from the start of the issue, and all the way to the jaw-dropping end, Phil puts out one great page after another. His portrayal of the guest star this issue was also great, having already brought in the Punisher and Hawkeye. In particular, I’d point out that his characterwork is beyond excellent, as can be seen in the scenes where Natasha gets out of the water and back on the cruise ship, or even later in the tense scenes between her and the guest star of the issue.

Superlative work all around.

Rating: 9.5/10

More Black Widow: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #12, #13, #14.

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