fighting skills



Gifted spy Natasha Romanoff is more than worthy of her moniker, Black Widow.

Ruthless, efficient, and exceptionally skilled, Natasha strikes fear into the hearts of her enemies. Although she once operated on the side of evil, her innate heroism allowed her to overcome her upbringing and defect, setting her on a lifelong path of redemption.

A Hero of Our Time

Natasha Romanoff was born in the Soviet Union as Natalia Alianovna Romanova (Наталия Альяновна Романова). Although her exact parentage is unknown, it is rumored that she is related to the late Romanov dynasty—the former rulers of Russia—but those claims have so far been unproven. Orphaned as a child, she was rescued during an attack on Stalingrad by a man named Ivan Petrovitch Bezukhov, who looked after and trained the girl.

As she grew older, Natasha’s talents caught the attention of Soviet Intelligence, soon to be known as the KGB, and was recruited into their ranks. During World War II, Natasha was kidnapped by the Hand, who sought to make her a brainwashed master assassin. Luckily, she was rescued by Steve Rogers (Captain America) and Logan (who would later become Wolverine). During the War, the young Natasha served in the Russian army where she fell in love with another young soldier named Nikolai. Despite their initial happiness, their union did not end blissfully. Nikolai was killed in the war and the baby girl they conceived did not survive birth.

Following World War II, Natasha progressed into the Black Widow Program, where young girls like her were conditioned to become sleeper agents. Trained at a facility called the Red Room, Natasha was also enhanced with the Soviets’ version of the Super-Soldier serum, gifting her with peak human strength and stamina, as well as resistance to disease and slowed-down aging. Natasha has memories of studying to be a ballerina as a cover during this time. However, because her psyche was tampered with by the government, it is unclear if she actually was ever a ballerina, or these memories were implanted.

As her Black Widow training progressed, she encountered (and romanced) Captain America’s former best friend and sidekick, James Buchanan Barnes, who had been brainwashed into the becoming the assassin known as the Winter Soldier. Their relationship didn’t last long as she was set up to marry Alexei Shostakov, a renowned test pilot. Though they had a happy marriage, the KGB faked his death during an experimental rocket test in order to make him into the Red Guardian, the USSR’s version of Captain America, a hero who would represent and defend the nation.

Natasha’s grief over his death drove her further into the clutches and control of the Red Room Academy and she finally earned the title of Black Widow.

Although she initially worked against the Avengers and United States on the behest of her superiors, Natasha ended up defecting to join S.H.I.E.L.D. and later the Avengers to become a true Super Hero.

Natasha Romanoff uses her enhanced skills as the Black Widow.

The Red Death

Her extensive training in the Red Room made Natasha into a warrior with few peers. She is skilled in many forms of martial arts including aikido, judo, karate, savate, and boxing. In addition, she is an amazing gymnast, and uses her acrobatics to gain an edge in combat.

Her fighting skills are augmented by a variant of the Super-Soldier serum, which she was given as part of the Black Widow program. Although this treatment doesn’t give her superhuman strength like Captain America, Natasha operates at peak human condition. The serum also grants her an improved immune system and enhanced durability, which explains why she has barely aged over the years, retaining her youthful appearance.

Natasha Romanoff never comes unprepared and brings many gadgets to help her combat her enemies. Her black body suit is composed of a kevlar-like substance created for maximum protection. It is equipped with two bracelets on each wrist that fire the “widow’s bite”—a high-frequency electrostatic bolt with a range of 20 feet that discharges up to 30,000 volts, able to stop even a superhuman opponent. These bracelets can also act as radio transmitters and contain tear gas cartridges that Natasha can deploy. The fingers and feet of her costume have microscopic suction cups that allow her to stick to any regular building surface. Her belt occasionally contains discs with the explosive power of four pounds of TNT.

Along with her extraordinary fighting abilities, Natasha has a few other talents that make her one of the best spies and assassins in the world. She is multilingual; in addition to speaking Russian and English, she also is fluent in French, German, Chinese, and more. An excellent markswoman and expert in weaponry, she uses automatic weapons and knives as needed to fulfill her missions. Her skills of infiltration and stealth, coupled with an ironclad will, make Black Widow a force to be reckoned with.

Crime and Punishment

Although Natasha Romanoff’s initial enemies were Iron Man and the Avengers, she has since joined the side of good and faced off against a cadre of Super Villains.

These enemies are often linked to whichever team she is helping at the time. When she fights alongside Daredevil, she assists him in taking down his villains, like the Hand, Purple Man, or Mr. Fear. As a member of the Champions, Natasha’s foes include Warlord Kaa, Swarm, Godzilla, MODOK, Doctor Doom, and the Vanisher’s Sentinels, among others. She also assists Hercules with this team to fight his enemy Pluto, the Olympian God of Death.

As part of S.H.I.E.L.D. and one of Nick Fury’s best agents, she takes on any enemy of the counter-terrorist organization, most often Hydra or A.I.M. Her long history of Avengers membership means that she has battled most of the enemies that have stood against the Super Hero team.

Natasha Romanoff attempts to prove her loyalty to Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.

One of her more persistent foes is Damon Dran, AKA Indestructible Man, who captures Ivan Petrovich in order to lure Black Widow and defeat her and replace her with a fake that would kill Nick Fury. Natasha thwarts this plot and others, finally bringing Dran to S.H.I.E.L.D. to be imprisoned (where he is killed by a rogue agent).

Given her dark history, she also regularly combats adversaries from her past in the Red Room, who still seek to destroy her life. The personal nature of these enemies makes them all the more difficult to deal with for her, as Natasha deeply regrets her time working for the KGB and wants to eliminate her superiors and the havoc they have wreaked on the world.

Of all her Red Room opponents, the most noteworthy is Yelena Belova, a rival Black Widow who trained after Natasha. While they work together occasionally, and Natasha tries to help her find redemption, Belova is most often linked to criminal organizations like Hydra, so the two remain at odds. Belova’s own considerable talents make her a worthy adversary and foil to Natasha.

Finally, while not a traditional villain by any measure, Black Widow is tormented by her guilt and is continually seeking to assuage it.

From Russia with Love

For a super spy who was trained and conditioned to have no emotional attachments, Natasha Romanoff has actually developed a considerable number of friends and allies, whom she works hard to support and defend and who care about her deeply as well.

Although their relationship began in conflict, Natasha has a close relationship with fellow Avenger Iron Man. She often assists him in battle, and Iron Man helps her when the Red Room activates a dormant persona and triggers a brainwashed state. They even enjoy a romantic interlude during a trip to Russia where they defeat her former student and partner Boris Bullski (Titanium Man), although their relationship progresses no further. Natasha also backs Iron Man during the first Super Hero Civil War and supports his efforts to legitimize the Superhuman Registration Act.

Another Avenger with whom Natasha maintains a warm friendship is Captain America. She values the heroism of Steve Rogers and respects his dedication to his moral compass. While they occasionally find themselves on opposite sides of conflict—like when she manipulated him on Fury’s behalf or when they were on opposing sides during the super human Civil War—they always end up remaining close friends.

Natasha has had a few romantic relationships with her fellow heroes, which all play important roles in her development and mean very much to her. Some notable ex-lovers include Clint Barton (Hawkeye), Matt Murdock (Daredevil), Bucky Barnes (the Winter Soldier), and Alexei Shostakov.

Hawkeye attempts to reconnect with Black Widow.

Although her marriage with Shostakov is arranged by the KGB, it is a happy one, and Natasha is devastated by his apparent death. Their story is one of great tragedy; every time she discovers that Shostakov is alive, he is either almost immediately seemingly killed, a life-model decoy, or a villain. Still, she remembers their initial time together as a happy one.

While Hawkeye and Natasha have not been romantically linked in a long time, his influence was instrumental in helping her defect and join the Avengers, setting her on a path of redemption. For this reason, he will always be an incredibly important person in her life, and she values the heroic archer very much, though she often teases him when they work together. She considers him one of her best friends, and he feels the same way about her.

Daredevil is also a significant person in Natasha’s life. The two work together on and off for years, and they can rely on each other always coming to the other’s aid. Although they realize they can never be together, Natasha will always protect Daredevil (and whatever love of his is in trouble at the time), and he will similarly help her through difficult times in her life.

Bucky Barnes is one of the few figures who, while coming from the Red Room, Natasha trusts and cherishes. They first develop a romantic relationship when Barnes trains her as his Winter Soldier persona in the Red Room, though they are eventually split by their superiors. They reconnect and renew their romantic relationship later again when Barnes becomes the new Captain America, thanks to her support. She also appreciates him being one of the few people who understands the depth of the grief and shame that she feels over her past, as he has a very similar one.

Another small, but not unimportant, ally is the stray cat that takes a liking to Natasha and worms his way into her home and heart. Though she ironically names him Liho, meaning misfortune in Russian, she cares for her little furry friend.




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Universe, Other Aliases, Education, Place of Origin, Identity, Known Relatives, Powers, Group Affiliation
  • Universe

  • Other Aliases

  • Education

  • Place of Origin

  • Identity

  • Known Relatives

  • Powers

  • Group Affiliation

The Elusive Avenger

As a Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff completed many missions for the KGB. On her first one in the United States, she and operative Boris Turgenov were sent to assassinate a Russian scientist, Anton Vanko.

Vanko had defected to the United States with his Crimson Dynamo armor and began working with Tony Stark. In addition to eliminating Vanko, Romanoff and Turgenov were also tasked with taking back the Crimson Dynamo, killing Tony Stark, and sabotaging his plant. The mission went south, however, when Vanko sacrificed his life to defend his armor and Stark. He was killed, along with Turgenov.

Having failed in her mission, Natasha remained in the U.S. in order to right her wrongs. At first, she faked her own defection (unlike Vanko’s legitimate switch) and romanced Tony Stark until she was able to steal his anti-gravity ray gun. However, Stark soon uncovered that she was the cause of the destruction against the U.S. and deactivated the device.

With her cover blown, the ever-resourceful Natasha partnered with Hawkeye, an outlaw at the time, manipulating him into working for her against Iron Man. After improving Hawkeye’s archery arsenal by adding high-tech arrows, the two attacked Iron Man. During the course of the battle, Stark deflected an explosive arrow to defend himself, but it ended up injuring Natasha. Hawkeye—in love with the Russian spy—rushed to help her, allowing Stark to get away.

Hawkeye rushes to aid Black Widow after she is injured fighting Iron Man.

She continued to try to get him to help on her missions, but it was Hawkeye who ended up influencing Natasha. Though misguided at the time due to her manipulation and his love for her, Hawkeye was still a hero at heart, and his idealism and strong moral compass helped Natasha find her own. Despite a lifetime of conditioning, Natasha chose to pursue her own destiny and defected.

The KGB was not eager to let their operative go and first extorted and then brainwashed her into submission, forcing her to fight the Avengers (which Hawkeye had joined in the meantime). Still, iron-willed as ever, Natasha fought past these violations and truly severed ties with her past.

She began to work for Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. and assisted the Avengers on missions against Super Villains like the Sons of the Serpent, the Ultroids, and more. During one such assignment, she and Hawkeye were captured by General Yuri Brushov, and Natasha discovered that her husband, Alexei Shostakov was alive and had become the Red Guardian. Like his wife, Alexei also had little love for his superiors and wanted to support the Avengers—so much, that he seemingly sacrificed himself to protect the Super Hero team.

Once again, Natasha had no idea that Shostakov had actually survived, and, devastated, she left the Avengers before they offered her full membership. During this trying time, Natasha considered accepting Hawkeye’s proposal of marriage, as she cared for him deeply, and also mourned when she briefly believed him to be dead.

However, when her old mentor Ivan Petrovitch resurfaced in the U.S. to serve as her friend and confidant, Natasha’s spirits lifted and she broke ties with Hawkeye to pursue a solo vigilante career, fighting the Astrologer, Watchlord, and others.

It was then that Natasha encountered someone who would become very important to her—Matt Murdock. She saved Daredevil from the Owl, although neither knew at the time that this had been a manipulation by the evil android, Mr. Kline. As part of a grand scheme to affect the future, Kline framed Natasha for murder in order to have Matt Murdock defend her in court. The stressful nature of the trial pushed her to become romantically intertwined with Murdock, all according to the android’s plans. Although Kline died before he could finish his plans, Daredevil and Black Widow became a crime-fighting duo. At one point, the couple moved to California in order to continue their quest against evil, only returning to New York to stand against Magneto after an encounter with a resentful Hawkeye. Natasha once again left the Avengers after her stint in New York, feeling unsure about her place on a team, and resumed crime-fighting in California with Daredevil.

She ended their relationship soon after, as Natasha felt that Murdock did not see her as an equal, although she decided to stay in California. Despite her reservations about team membership, she joined the Los Angeles-based Champions, whose roster included Angel (Warren Worthington III), Iceman (Bobby Drake), the vigilante Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), and the Avenger Hercules, with whom Natasha developed a romantic relationship. As a master tactician, Natasha became the team leader with unanimous backing from her fellow heroes. The group helped her defeat several Russian villains seeking vengeance and worked together to conquer a cadre of Super Villains. It ultimately dissolved, however, due conflicts between the various members’ personalities and priorities.

Black Widow fights alongside the Champions.

Natasha returned to S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers, assisting both as she could. One such mission included helping the Avengers battle Korvac—a cosmically-powered being seeking to overthrow the universe and become its benevolent ruler. During this fight, Natasha realized how insignificant mortal relationships must seem to beings who live eternally, including Hercules, effectively ending their romantic relationship. Natasha then helped the Avengers rescue Daredevil when he was mind-controlled by the criminal Death-Stalker (Philip Sterling).

Luck turned for the super-spy when new Avengers leadership forced a roster change, excluding her, and she was captured by the Viper. While she escaped, she retreated into a pre-programmed S.H.I.E.L.D. persona—schoolteacher Nancy Rushman. When her true mind was restored, she helped Spider-Man and other heroes rescue a S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier from Viper.

After this, Natasha’s path once again crossed with Daredevil’s. First, she helped him defeat Bullseye after her abduction by the cruel assassin. Then, she was fatally poisoned by Daredevil’s enemy, the Hand, an evil ninja order. She was immediately resurrected by Stone, a member of the Chaste (a group of warriors opposed to the Hand). She joined Daredevil and Stone in trying and failing to prevent the revival of Elektra Natchios—a vicious assassin who was both Murdock’s great love and enemy.

Her Super Hero duties also often forced Natasha to face her past demons. She was manipulated by Russian dissidents using a life-model decoy of Alexei Shostakov. After rejoining the Avengers and becoming deputy leader, she battled Starlight, another former Russian operative who had become the Red Guardian after Shostakov. She had to contend with being overtaken by a long-dormant persona “Oktober,” part of her conditioning in the Red Room Academy. Thanks to Iron Man, Natasha broke free of the brainwashing.

After an internal dispute over the Kree-Shi’ar War, Captain America left his active position at the Avengers. Black Widow became the team leader, a role she took very seriously. Natasha always cared deeply about the well-being of those close to her, making the apparent death of Daredevil and then the likely death of her mentor Ivan Petrovich at the hands of Red Skull very difficult on her. Adding her teammates only made things harder. When Iron Man faked his death, then Captain America and Nick Fury seemingly perished, Natasha mourned deeply. And when most of the active Avengers roster was wiped out fighting Onslaught, she blamed herself and suffered from survivor’s guilt. She unsuccessfully tried to rebuild the team by seeking out new recruits, like her old teammates Angel and Iceman, but was forced to shut down the team after numerous rejections.

Driven by self-reproach, Natasha worked almost obsessively to bring in all of the Avengers’ previous foes. It was Daredevil, fearing for her condition, who helped her work through her guilt. This was, of course, easier to do once the Avengers resurfaced alive.

She did not rejoin as a full-time member, however, and assisted Nick Fury in a counter-terrorist mission in Latveria. Unfortunately, this operation forced her to manipulate Wolverine, Captain America, Daredevil, and others on Fury’s behalf. She attempted to atone for her role in this by renewing her ties with Iron Man and helping him fight some Super Villains of his own.

Natasha participating in a counter-terrorism mission in Latveria.

Her next reunion with Daredevil was more difficult than the last, as he had been drugged by Mysterio (Quentin Beck) into believing that an innocent baby was the Anti-Christ. Although she helped Daredevil overcome his delusions, Bullseye was able to kill the baby and Karen Page, Murdock’s lover. Though the grief-stricken Murdock reconciled with Natasha, they both understood they could never be together.

Natasha was once again forced to confront her past with the appearance of Yelena Belova, her Black Widow successor, who was eager to prove herself as the superior one. Horrified at the thought that another woman would go through what she did, Natasha had their faces surgically swapped so that Yelena could see that she was being manipulated and considered expendable. Despite her good intentions, however, Yelena felt violated by what had been done. Later, Yelena would demonstrate how different she was from Natasha by agreeing to be transformed into the new Super-Adaptoid by A.I.M. and Hydra.

Soon after, a mad Scarlet Witch turned on the Avengers and unleashed simulacrums of their greatest enemies, leading Hawkeye to sacrifice his life to defend them against the forces of the alien Kree. The group disbanded and a weary Natasha retired to Arizona.

Unfortunately, Natasha didn’t get to live in peace as she was targeted by a corporation called Gynacon, who was hunting down ex-Black Widow agents and killing them. They had recently purchased biotechnology from the Red Room and wanted to make sure nobody else was using it. During her investigation, to her horror, Natasha also discovered just how much she had been manipulated. She killed the CEO of Gynacon, Ian McMasters, making her a wanted criminal.

Always looking to make up for her past, Natasha then sided with Iron Man during the Super Hero Civil War. This was despite the fact that many of her friends and allies, notably Captain America, opposed the Superhuman Registration Act. After Steve Rogers was killed during the conflict, Natasha convinced Bucky Barnes, with whom she’d rekindled her romance, to take his best friend’s mantle and become Captain America.

Back Widow with Bucky Barnes after he takes over the mantle of Captain America.

Continuing her spy work for Nick Fury, Natasha posed as Yelena Belova in order to infiltrate a group called Thunderbolts, led by the corrupt tycoon Norman Osborn. Despite Osborn discovering her identity and manipulating her to his own ends by impersonating Fury, she evaded capture and death. She then helped ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Maria Hill and others restore Tony Stark’s consciousness after he wiped his mind to guard knowledge from Osborn.

When Steve Rogers returned alive, Natasha joined his new team, the Secret Avengers, while working to clear her name after she had been framed in a plot targeting spies. Teaming up with Hawkeye and Mockingbird for the investigation, she discovered that the true conspirator behind it all was her presumed-dead ex-husband, Alexei Shostakov. Despite their history, Natasha defeated him in order to stop his evil plans.

Natasha continued to work hard to atone while working for the Avengers, taking paid jobs outside of the team’s missions in order to put money into trusts for families who had been affected by her past misdeeds.

When a sentient Cosmic Cube named Kobik created a Captain America loyal to Hydra (thanks to the manipulation of Red Skull), Black Widow joined the fight against her former friend, determined to not let the world fall to Hydra domination. Though others in the resistance were reluctant to kill Captain America, Natasha felt this was the only way to truly stop him and worked on her own to defeat him. She also intended to kill the fascist Cap herself to spare Spider-Man from having to do so—as it was predicted by Ulysses Cain, the Inhuman psychic, that he would.

However, her good intentions led to disastrous results. As she intervened to protect Morales, the villainous version of Captain America struck her with his shield, breaking her neck.

The Black Widow could never die so easily, though, as her friends Hawkeye and the Winter Soldier discovered. After they teamed up to investigate assassinations seemingly linked to her, they uncovered a clone of Natasha, who had been created by the Red Room in case their agents had ever fallen. This clone, true to Natasha’s nature, rebelled against her superiors and worked to bring down the Red Room.

While it’s unclear what adventures Natasha Romanoff will embark on next, one thing is certain—the strong-willed Super Hero will use her many talents and skills to bring down her enemies and protect the innocent, working hard to achieve redemption by her own standards.