Comics
Published February 27, 2020

Black Widow's History in San Francisco

Get ready for 'Marvel's Avengers: Black Widow' #1 with a look at Natasha's past!

Members of the Merry Marvel Marching Society were stunned by the Marvel's Avengers A-Day gameplay footage released last year as the Hulk, Black Widow, Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor united to face down Taskmaster on San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.

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For the Black Widow, however, this wasn't the first time she'd met the skill-replicating Super Villain known as Taskmaster.

On March 25, MARVEL'S AVENGERS: BLACK WIDOW presents a prequel story to the events that kick off Marvel's Avengers in San Francisco, relaying Natasha Romanoff's very first encounter with the shield-slinging villain.

Marvel's Avengers: Black Widow (2020) #1

These spectacular sights inspired us here at Marvel HQ to take a look at Natasha's other visits to San Francisco. Away we go...

Betting on Love

In DAREDEVIL (1964) #87, the Widow decided that she and Matt Murdock needed to get away from Manhattan to give their love a real shot. Taking the last of her sizable nest egg, she rented a mansion on the North Shore, paying upfront for a year. There, with their driver and houseman Ivan Petrovich, the duo made a go of being both crime fighting and romantic partners.

Fun fact: Despite being very much in love and living together, Widow and the Man Without Fear not only slept in separate bedrooms in their manse, but on completely different floors.

Things Get Rocky in a Hurry

At the end of DAREDEVIL (1964) #91, Matt learned from Petrovich that Black Widow had left their home and, seemingly, their relationship. But the reality proved much more dangerous than that. Natasha had disappeared with Damon Dran, the so-called Indestructible Man, who kept her in chains, bending her to his will. Once he had her fully in his sway, he sent Widow out after her lover in issue #93.

DD eventually managed to break her out of the trance an issue later, and the two faced down Dran together.

Daredevil (1964) #91

Daredevil (1964) #91

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An Ex Pays a Visit

After quitting the Avengers, Hawkeye did what so many of us do when we feel listless and confused: he looked up an ex.

After discovering that Natasha had moved had to San Francisco, he hopped a plane with a plan to rekindle their past passions. Alas, he did not do his due diligence and thus had no idea that she gone West with her new man, Matt Murdock. As a result, over the course of DAREDEVIL (1964) #99 and AVENGERS (1963) #111, the Amethyst Archer and DD locked horns—pun only somewhat intended—over who Natasha should be with.

Black Widow, instead of choosing either, decided to stay with the Avengers after helping them beat Magneto. There, she contemplated her romantic and Super Hero life in an attempted to decide what to do next. While she and Matt would stay together for several more months, this two-issue arc functioned as the beginning of the end.

The Cosmic Comes to San Francisco

Starting in DAREDEVIL (1964) #105, Natasha found herself rubbing elbows and throwing haymakers with the likes of Captain Marvel as cosmic-powered villains like Terrex and the Dark Messiah threatened her, DD, and the city at large.

Somehow, the overpowered duo of Romanoff and Murdock managed to prove triumphant—but not before both met Moondragon and questions arose about a possible romantic connection between ol' Hornhead and this new alien woman.

Daredevil (1964) #105

Daredevil (1964) #105

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Moondragon in the Middle

Christmas may be a wonderful time for some, but for Natasha in DAREDEVIL (1964) #108, it felt more miserable than merry. Unable to shake the feeling that Matt shared more than a spaceship with Moondragon, Widow confronted her partner.

Murdock, as seemed to be his wont during this era, had neither an explanation nor a willingness to talk about things like an adult. He did nothing to reassure her and their argument expanded. Soon, they ended up so far afield that they began to critique each other’s approach to crime fighting. Then Moondragon showed up in her spaceship again.

Black Widow and Daredevil’s partnership, romantic and otherwise, never recovered.

Man Without Fear Moving On

Matt and Natasha’s relationship never lived up to expectations. Financial issues, stalled careers, and Murdock’s notably lousy attitude ensured their story would not end happy ever after. After their argument in DAREDEVIL (1964) #110, Hornhead went ahead and made it official, leaving the mansion for the siren song of New York City. While his departure played somewhat open-ended at the time, he would never come back to live at the mansion, and their relationship would never return to the level of intimacy they shared in the Golden City.

He did make a final attempt at reconciliation in DAREDEVIL (1964) #117 when he invited Nat to go back to NYC with him, but she refused.

Daredevil (1964) #110

Daredevil (1964) #110

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The Bill Comes Due

Following DD’s departure and Black Widow's inability to get a civilian career going, Natasha managed to hold onto the dream of staying in San Francisco until DAREDEVIL (1964) #120. But after selling off expensive cars and relying on some cash from Warren Worthington III for her time on Champions, Romanoff had to admit defeat. Like so many former San Franisco residents today, she accepted that living there was just too expensive. After getting evicted in DAREDEVIL (1964) #116, she packed her bags and made the long trip back to Manhattan.

Prepare for the sensational San Francisco action in Marvel's Avengers as Black Widow and Taskmaster face off in MARVEL'S AVENGERS: BLACK WIDOW #1 at your local comic shop on March 25!

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