Black Widow

Making her first appearance in the film Iron Man 2 as Natalia “Natasha” Alianovna Romanova, also known as Natasha Romanoff, and reappearing in The Avengers, Black Widow dominates the screen as the female superhero with a dark history.

Black Widow
Black Widow

Past Women Who Wow Wednesday posts have focused on female characters that could empower women into becoming better in whatever position life has given them. But after having thoroughly researched Black Widow’s record, this writer is at odds with placing this woman on a pedestal.

What can one say of Black Widow’s behavior that in some form or another wouldn’t cause someone to cringe? Definitely not the following:

  • In Ultimate Marvel, Romanova is a former KGB spy and assassin
  • Genetic or cybernetic implants make her a formidable combatant
  • The woman is known for killing her ex-husbands
  • Responsible for the death of Hawkeye’s wife and children
  • Publicly revealed Bruce Banner’s connection to the Hulk
  • Collaborated with the Liberators in their invasion of the U.S.

There’s more, yet that would involve divulging major plot points in Black Widow’s history. Suffice it to say she leaves much to be desired on the honor and trustworthiness scale.

Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff

However, when she appears in Iron Man 2, she’s Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson), Stark Industries’ replacement for personal assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) who moves into the company’s CEO position. No one knows what to make of the redhead until S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury reveals Natalie Rushman is covert operative Natasha Romanoff, planted to monitor Iron Man, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). You see, Tony’s dying, and she needs to keep him from harm’s way. Natasha also injects Tony with a special serum to slow the palladium poisoning he’s been experiencing due to his use of the arc reactor that keeps him alive.

In the movie The Avengers, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind where Black Widow’s loyalty lies. From the very first frame, we see her in a quandary. A Russian general is about to interrogate Natasha as three soldiers stand in the wings. She dispatches them whole—tied up, no less. The information flows from the general’s mouth.

Yeah, but can anyone trust her? Nick Fury can. He trusts her with the most important assignment of all—bringing in Bruce Banner. No other Avenger can do what she can. Nick doesn’t trust anyone else to do what she can. One wrong move and Bruce turns into the big green guy. No doubt, she did it. She brought him in without a fight.

Once on the helicarrier, her next assignment gets more complex. Interrogate Loki. What’s your plan? Of course she didn’t ask the direct question. Through subterfuge and ploy, Natasha discovers Loki’s nefarious design to deploy Hulk to do his dirty work. One problem, though: When Bruce Banner does turn into the big green guy, Natasha is the only one to delay the inevitable—the absolute destruction of the ship.

When the final battle occurs in New York City, Black Widow’s the only one who understands someone has to close the portal spewing the Chitauri upon the earth. Iron Man’s pathetic attempt at brutal stoppage does not work. Thankfully, she follows through with her genius plan and saves the city from destruction.

No matter what her past, Black Widow has redeemed herself with The Avengers.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

Have you seen The Avengers? What did you think of it? Do you know of Black Widow’s past?

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15 thoughts on “Black Widow

  1. I haven’t seen The Avengers but it sounds complex and fun viewing. Great overview as usual. Woohoo October!

  2. I love the Avengers when I saw it last year. Especially Black Widow..she’s awesome! I have hesitating to rewatch it. I don’t know much about any superhero backstory except for Batman and Spiderman.

  3. First off great article.

    Secondly I love Scarlet Johansen as the Black Widow, she has the look and feel down to a tee, and I hope she gets her own movie or Franchise like Hugh Jackman did with Wolverine.

    Like all other comic book characters she varies with who is writing her. But I think three graphic novels that do a real good job of showing her trying to rise above her past and be a ‘hero’ are Homecoming, The Things They Say About Her, and In the Name of the Rose (The last one is recommended to anyone who is a fan of a good spy story even if they don’t like the whole superhero thing.)

    BTW: Laura she first appeared in the 60’s as an Iron Man foe, back when he was in Tales of Suspense.

    • Thank you! I’ve had this post sitting in my queue for several months until I deemed it ready for publication.

      Scarlett Johansson is one of the few actresses who could have pulled off Natasha so perfectly. Charlize Therone would have also made an incredible Black Widow, but that’s my opinion.

      Ha, I didn’t reveal the ultimate end of Black Widow. I couldn’t bring myself to write about it!

  4. So funny, I was thinking about this character just the other day. I can’t decide if I like her or not. On the one hand, she is enviably fantastic at what she does. On the other hand she seems a bit heartless–which could be explained by her back story. KGB assassin? Yeesh.

    The interaction between Hawkeye and her in Avengers was intriguing. I hope there is more of their story in the next one.

    I’m looking forward to her story developing in the next few films. She is a complex character, and that always makes for an engrossing story.

    • That’s exactly what got me. On the one side of the spectrum she’s a tad underhanded, in the comics especially; on the other side, she’s trustworthy to the max.

      Ah, Hawkeye and Black Widow. There’s more to that backstory I hadn’t written. It’s a sad story and I wanted to keep the positive vibe going.

      Yep, I’m with you on that one!

  5. I loved her in the Avengers! Her interplay with Hawkeye after he had finally been released from Loki’s control was, I thought, touching and well done and revealed more back-story about both of them than if it had been another character in the room with him.

  6. I think she was more noble in the non-Ultimate universe, but she’s always been an ex-KGB assassin. They tried to make her the Russian, female Captain America, but she never really got the spotlight until Ultimate. As for the movies, I didn’t like her in Iron Man 2. I thought she was terrible and the fight scene was overdone. So, I was amazed when she was badass in Avengers.

    Black Widow is definitely one of the big Marvel heroines, especially for the Avengers. There are very few that have been around as long as she has.

  7. Not familiar with her backstory, but I LOVED the character in Avengers. She’s brilliant and a fantastic interrogator. But the fear in her eyes when Banner “lost it” (pretended to) when she was trying to convince him to come back with her was terrific, too. She’s been through Hell, is my estimation, but she has come out with her own set of values and acts on them.

    I hope. 🙂

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