Black Widow's 10 Deadliest Enemies
To kick off the debut of 'Black Widow,' Marvel.com looks back at Natasha's nemeses!
Nearly two years ago, Natasha Romanoff was one of the most high-profile casualties of the Secret Empire. But the Black Widow wasn’t about to let a little thing like death stop her for long! This week, Jen and Sylvia Soska are teaming up with rising artist Flaviano for the new BLACK WIDOW miniseries that will once again place Natasha in the dangerous world of espionage.
Natasha hasn’t survived this long without making some very deadly enemies along the way. To celebrate the launch of BLACK WIDOW #1 – available now – we’re taking a look back at Natasha’s most memorable foes.
Sometimes, Black Widow’s reputation alone is enough to drive her enemies to hate her. Case in point: Melina Vostokoff, the Iron Maiden. Much like Natasha herself, Melina is an ex-Russian black ops agent who turned her back on her homeland. However, Melina became bitterly jealous that her exploits were overshadowed by Black Widow’s legend.
Iron Maiden was among the six assassins hired by Damon Dran to kill Black Widow, and she was the only one that Natasha couldn’t defeat on her own. Melina’s Iron Maiden suit gives her near superhuman strength, and she’s practically impervious to harm when wearing it. It’s been quite a while since she and Black Widow have crossed paths. And they are long overdue for a rematch.
While Snapdragon was also in Dran’s employ, she was separate from the first team of assassins hired to take out Black Widow. Snapdragon also proved to be more than a physical match for Natasha in battle, and her armor and mask gave her the initial edge in combat. Although Black Widow came out on top in the rematch, Snapdragon has developed a knack for overcoming death. Somehow, Snapdragon was returned to life even after her body was cremated, and she was Count Nefaria’s enforcer when he was the Kingpin of Los Angeles.
Bullseye may be better known as Daredevil’s nemesis, but he’s made quite an impression on Black Widow as well. In one of their earliest encounters, Bullseye soundly defeated Natasha after ambushing her, then used her as bait to draw Daredevil into a trap. Even after greatly honing her skills in the years since their last battle, Natasha will still be in for the fight of her life if she encounters Bullseye again.
Black Widow has faced many murderers, but Rose was one of the most unsettling enemies that she ever encountered. Rose was a serial killer with mind control powers who specialized in forcing her victims to kill themselves. Rose primarily targeted telepaths, and it took both Black Widow and Daredevil to end her reign of terror. Natasha personally killed Rose, but this killer may still haunt her nightmares.
If Vindiktor can be believed, then he is Black Widow’s long-lost brother. But even Natasha doesn’t know for sure, since Vindiktor’s face was heavily scarred. All we know for certain is that Vindiktor was loyal to Russia and he sought to kill his “sister” for her perceived betrayal. If Vindiktor ever returns, perhaps we’ll discover the truth about his claims.
Black Widow has a special enmity for Mandrill because he once used his abilities to make her “love” him. He also coerced Natasha to betray Daredevil and expose his secret identity. With his female army, Mandrill came very close to seizing control over the entire United States in a stunning coup. With Daredevil’s help, Black Widow was eventually able to snap out of Mandrill’s domination. But she may want some additional payback for what he put her through.
In many ways, Black Widow and Viper are counterpart agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra, respectively. In a head-to-head battle, Black Widow holds the edge over her rival. But Viper once viciously interrogated Natasha for days during an attempt to takeover S.H.I.E.L.D. from within. Natasha was so overwhelmed by her ordeal that she mentally retreated to one of her cover identities before her memory returned. Black Widow won that battle, but the war between them is far from over.
Like Natasha, Yelena Belova is a product of the Red Room and a Black Widow. But Yelena wanted to be the only Black Widow, and she attempted to eliminate her predecessor in order to surpass her legend. During their second encounter, Natasha literally placed Yelena into her life to force her to face the truth about her vendetta. Since then, Yelena and Natasha have had a more complicated relationship. Yelena has even offered Natasha aid in her time of need. But it would be a mistake for Natasha to turn her back on this Black Widow.
Natasha’s ex-husband once loved her so much that he sacrificed his life to save her. At least that’s what we thought at the time. As Red Guardian, Alexi was supposed to be the Russian equivalent of Captain America. But Alexi was later revealed to have lived and he assumed the role of Ronin. He struck at Natasha directly during the Widowmaker incident as he tried to restore Russia to its former glory. It was also a final betrayal of their love for each other.
Ivan was once like a father to Natasha, and he protected her during her formative years. That’s what makes his new role in Natasha’s life so heartbreaking. It seems that Ivan developed some unhealthy romantic feelings for Natasha, which she rejected. Ivan eventually went crazy and faked his death, while he transformed himself into a cyborg with apocalyptic dreams. As the Black Widow, Natasha was forced to fight and seemingly kill him. It was a very bitter end to their once close relationship.
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