Black Widow #2 Writer: Mark Waid and Chris Samnee Pencils: Chris Samnee Colors: Matthew Wilson Letters: Joe Caramagna Publisher: Marvel
The redheaded assassin is back this month, brought to you again by the superb collaborative team of Mark Waid and Chris Samnee. Natasha Romanoff, A.K.A. Black Widow is not quite on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D. yet, or is she? This is a bit strange as this second installment of the series is set one week before the events of the action packed debut issue. So this is essentially a prequel to a comic series only one issue in…weird but it’s all about the execution.
The opening of the issue plays out like an spy stealth mission as Black Widow is observing a funeral of a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. The young agents mentor, Agent Elder blames Romanoff for her death and Agent Maria Hill attempts to pay sympathy for his loss.
Following this we get some great action scenes were we again see Natasha show off her skills as well as display and emphasize how dangerous she is, despite the lack of superpowers. Waid also provides a barrel full of more dialogue then there was from the first issue but it’s still a fairly quick read. We get a tad more context and hints as too what had happened and why Romanoff has turned her back on S.H.I.E.L.D. and is now on the run. The closing pages really captures the characterization and identity of Black Widow and leaves a plot devise that we know is important but is still kept in the dark. There is also an introduction of a new character who’s identity is in the shadows as well.
As great as Mark Waid is and he does provide intriguing dialogue here, this two issue in series is really just a highlight of the superb talent that is Chris Samnee. His detailed and vivid pencils are able to convey such movement, momentum, and it flows brilliantly. The facial expressions and body poses are able to capture such emotion as well. Samnee is really able to take the helm in these two issues and show that good story telling can also be done by the visual arts. Not everything needs to be told through detailed narration and/or dialogue. A cemetery was a great choice of setting for a fight scene and Chris Samnee along with colorist Matthew Wilson take full advantage of it. The use of shadows, grim colors, and rain makes it the grave yard fell all the more dreary, solemn, and bleak.
Black Widow #2 is an excellent follow up to a first issue that already enticed and grabbed readers investment. Rather then rush straight into exposition speeches, Waid and Samnee have decided to let the story, at least the early stages, be told primarily through visuals. We get some more dialogue in this issue to give a bit more context to what we’re viewing but Samnee’s and Wilson’s work here shines. This is a book that’ll intrigue you with its story to read through it as quickly as possible but then go back to read it slowly, so that you can adore and gaze upon its visual eye candy.
Score: 4 out of 5
Review by Eric Bradach