A Widow With Allies
Reviewing Some of Natasha Romanov’s Best Allies
Despite being trained as a lone wolf assassin, Black Widow has long excelled in team and partner situations. As writer Mark Waid and artist Chris Samnee turn up the heat on her on January 18 in BLACK WIDOW #10, these might be some of the people she could turn to for some aid and support.
It turns out Cap and Black Widow have been allies for even longer than their Avengers history would suggest. All the way back in World War II, Rogers intervened to stop Romanova’s kidnapping by the Hand. Then, she teamed up with him, a certain angry Canadian, and her surrogate father to repel the ninjas on the streets of Soviet Russia.
Since then, Widow and Cap obviously share an extensive history of team-ups, both within and outside the rank of the Avengers.
The angry Canadian mentioned above. He may not have a clear memory of the incident in question thanks to Weapon X’s tinkering, but he stood with Natasha and Steve to fight those Hand ninjas some 70 years ago. Since then, her relationship to the mutant has been less smooth than hers with the Captain. She protected him from Hydra assassins, they have teamed up against the Hand again, she has manipulated him into partaking in a secret invasion of Latveria, and fought against him when he had been brainwashed by those ninjas that facilitated their first team-up back in the 40’s.
THE WINTER SOLDIER
While under the direction of the Soviet Union, a brain washed Bucky Barnes fell in love with a deadly Red Room assassin. Their tyrannical government and time tore them apart, only for them to reunite in modern times, now both free of Russian control. They fell into romance once again but it proved even more short-lived as Bucky found himself forced to erase all memory of their love from her mind to save her life. They have teamed up since, but it seems she remains still unaware of their complicated past.
Romanov has a fairly extensive history with the Crimson Dynamos, most prominently with the second Dynamo, Boris Turgenov, with whom she had teamed up with for some time before coming to the U.S. on a mission to abduct or kill the first Dynamo, Anton Vanko, who had become an ally of Iron Man’s. Turgenov ended up killed during that mission and since most encounters between Widow and a Dynamo trend towards antagonistic.
Not yet a costumed hero, Danvers teamed up with Romanov–and Nick Fury–to see a newly altered by Weapon X Logan avoid death by at the hand of Hydra assassins. The next time they met, they opposed one another as Danvers (still in military service only) and the Thing tried to steal Soviet secrets and Widow opposed them. In modern day, of course, the two have teamed up many times and enjoy a professional relationship.
One of the biggest opponents of her career as a Russian spy became one of her biggest allies and a mentor figure in her post-Soviet career. They share not only a career path–professional spy–but similar understanding of the grays that fill the real world, grays that most super heroes struggle to acknowledge, nevermind wrestle with.
Beginning as just a mission objective, the relationship between Iron Man and Black Widow has blossomed into a deep and complex friendship. Although briefly romantic, what has most defined their connection has been their mutual dedication to attempting to assert order where none often can be found. This led Widow to join with Stark during CIVIL WAR and to stick with him even after the death of Cap. He, in turn, has helped her overcome her implanted Soviet programming (the Oktober Protocol) overlooked her past while encouraging others to do the same.
After initially failing to seduce and destroy Stark, Black Widow turned to similarly heading towards being a hero but not there yet Clint Barton. At first, his idealism drove her away from the Soviet Union and they began a romance, all without stopping their criminal activities. In time, he would assist her in making her break from Russian intelligence permanent and ask her to marry him. She ultimately refused, but the two have remained friends and allies since, now largely on the right side of the law.
Arguably, with the possible exception of Winter Soldier, her deepest, most committed romantic relationship happened with the Man Without Fear. The two fought side by side and lived together in San Francisco until, alas, their relationship unraveled and DD headed back to the East Coast. The two still boast a long history of flirtatious friendship and getting each other’s back no matter what.
Choosing to stay on the West Coast, Black Widow quickly helped begin and lead the super hero team known as the Champions. Soon after, as an act of paying it forward, Widow helped aid the Russian super hero Darkstar in defecting to the United States. Joining the Champions at the same time, Darkstar and Widow served side by side as teammates. From time to time, they would team up again, usually to oppose Russian overreach. Any change in their relationship brought on by Darkstar’s murder and resurrection via techno organic virus has yet to be revealed.
Saved by Black Widow as a child, Red Widow grew up not just admiring her one-time savior but doing her all to follow in Natasha’s footsteps. Besides her drive, Ava Orlova brings the ability to transmit electricity through objects to her mission. As of now, the two have only met the day Romanov rescued Orlova from the Russian mafia, but a team-up does seem inevitable, does it not?
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