SPIDER-PUNK: ARMS RACE (2024) #1 cover by Takashi Okazaki


February 28's New Marvel Comics: The Full List

Rock out with Spider-Punk, behold the end of 'Gang War,' celebrate the Women of Marvel, and more in this week's comics!

AVENGERS: TWILIGHT #1 Cover A by Alex Ross


January 17's New Marvel Comics: The Full List

Join Captain America's fight for the future, behold Mary Jane Watson's debut as a super hero, and more in this week's comics!

SPIDER-GWEN: SMASH (2023) #1 cover by David Nakayama


December 13's New Marvel Comics: The Full List

Grab your tickets to Ghost-Spider and the Mary Janes' concert, behold New York City in the throes of 'Gang War,' and more in this week's comics!

WHITE WIDOW (2023) #1 cover by David Marquez


Meet Yelena Belova, the White Widow

Who is White Widow? Learn how former Russian operative Yelena Belova went from super villain to super hero, just like her inspiration Black Widow.

fighting skills



Yelena Belova has been many things, from a trained espionage agent to Black Widow, a lingerie model, entertainment entrepreneur, social activist, and an all-powerful Super-Adaptoid. But she has always been a product of the Red Room’s ruthless spy training program.


A Wandering Spy

At age 15, Yelena Belova is chosen as a candidate to become the new Black Widow, an elite Russian intelligence operative. The title’s previous holder, Natasha Romanoff, AKA Black Widow, was no longer loyal only to Russia so they needed a replacement. Yelena trains for roughly a decade under Vasilievich Pyotr Starkovsky at the espionage academy known as the Red Room, the same facility that had trained Romanoff. While there, Belova never feels as if she measures up to her predecessor and ultimately refuses the Black Widow title for that reason. Unbeknownst to Yelena, as she grows older, Starkovsky becomes obsessed with her, paying another woman, the dominatrix Petra, to don Yelena’s costume and satisfy his desires. This arrangement was put together by Nikki, Petra’s employer at the Fabrika Club, who was actually Captain Lubyev from Glavnoye Razvedovatel’noye Upravlenie/Main Intelligence Administration (GRU). Petra eventually becomes psychotic, believing herself to be the true heir to the Black Widow title, and kills Starkovsky during one of their sessions. 

Investigating the Fabrika Club, Yelena discovers and slays Petra, avenging her mentor, after which she finally truly accepts her role as the Black Widow; however, she remained aware that Starkovsky’s death was part of a plan by Lubyev and other superiors to drive her into finally taking the Black Widow mantle. Graduating from the Red Room, Yelena becomes the first student to surpass Romanoff’s marks.


Do or Spy

Yelena is extensively trained in espionage and various forms of armed and unarmed combat, being a master martial artist. She is highly intelligent and is an Olympic level gymnast. 

She’s proficient in the use of various handheld weapons, including small firearms, semi-automatic rifles and light-to-medium machine guns. As the Black Widow, Yelena wears a Kevlar costume and uses bracelets, which release electric blasts (her “Widow’s bite”). It is unknown whether they can also launch a cable similar to Romanoff’s. 

In her Super-Adaptoid form, she can absorb the powers and abilities of those she came into physical contact with. During her known mission in this form, she gained the powers of Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man, Luke Cage, James Howlett/Logan, AKA Wolverine, Jessica Drew, AKA Spider-Woman, Carol Danvers, AKA Ms. Marvel (later Captain Marvel), Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man, and Robert Reynolds, AKA Sentry, among others. How long she can retain these abilities is unrevealed. 


Once Bitten, Twice Spy

Yelena faces many foes including several members of the Avengers and agents of the transgovernmental intelligence agency S.H.I.E.L.D. Though she eventually works with the latter of the two and leads an operation in the Savage Land. When the operation there was botched and Yelena barely came out of it alive after an attack by Sauron, Hydra offers her vengeance against S.H.I.E.L.D. With the help of Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.), they genetically modify her biological body using research from their Super-Adaptoid program. She faces the Avengers and now able to copy their abilities, she is near-impossible to beat. Though she is defeated, Hydra activates a remote-self destruct to keep their Adaptoid secrets from the Avengers and put it in stasis.


Sweet as Spy

Initially, Natasha Romanoff Is one of Yelena’s targets and foes but they eventually become allies. Like Natasha, Yelena receives training in the Red Room Academy and eventually defects from Russia, joining the intelligence agency S.H.I.E.L.D. But her time there doesn’t last long and when she is seemingly betrayed, she joins Hydra.

Liberated from stasis, Yelena is installed on the High Council of A.I.M., put in the Minister of State role in Barbuda, a sovereign nation and island owned by the organization. She joined the council alongside the Scientist Supreme Andrew Forson, Franklin Hall, AKA Graviton, Minister of Science, Jude the Entropic Man, Minster of Health, Marvin Flumm, AKA Mentallo, Minister of Public Affairs, Diedre Wentworth, AKA Superia, Minister of Education, and an undercover Taskmaster.




135 lbs.




Blue (no visible iris or pupil as Super-Adaptoid)



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

  • Other Aliases

  • Education

  • Place of Origin

  • Identity

  • Known Relatives

  • Powers

A Spy on the Wall

One of Yelena’s first known assignments was to deliver a device to the American government operative Mr. Bixby that would neutralize the “Negative Space” barrier surrounding Attilan, home of the Inhumans. Eager to prove herself Natasha’s superior and establish sole claim to the Black Widow title, Yelena interfered with Natasha’s quest for the “Deathless Frenzy” bio-weapon held by terrorist Col. Khan in Rhapastan (“Deathless” referred to the frenzy itself, which was relentless and unstoppable, while the host died after undergoing two minutes of superhuman strength and berserker rage). Yelena sought to secure the lethal serum for her superiors and to eliminate her adversary, but Natasha’s experience and superior planning enabled her to outmaneuver Belova. During the search, Natasha not only saved Yelena’s life at one point, but consistently stayed one step ahead of her. Tiring of her younger counterpart’s interference, Natasha faked her own death with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s aid and completed the assignment in her own fashion, slaying Khan and destroying the entire Deathless Frenzy supply. Yelena pulled a gun on Natasha, but decided to let her live so they could continue to vie for supremacy. Yelena then faked her own death as she made her escape.

Wishing to teach Yelena that she was a government pawn and not the hero she believed herself to be, Natasha later worked with Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. on Operation: Validate. S.H.I.E.L.D. had Yelena drugged and kidnapped to the United States, where the two Widows were given surgery to exchange physical identities. With S.H.I.E.L.D., Matt Murdock, AKA Daredevil, and others in on the ruse, “Natasha” was given orders to assassinate “Yelena.” Confused, she carried out the order, though “Yelena” secretly  survived. While the true Yelena was struggling to maintain her identity, Natasha duped Yelena’s superior, Yuri Stalyenko, into revealing his plot to steal nuclear weapons hidden in the Hudson River during the Cold War. Natasha also showed Yelena that Stalyenko thought of her as an expendable pawn, easily replaced. The two Widows teamed up to bring him down, but a resentful Yelena then attacked Natasha, who explained how she had wished to teach Yelena that espionage was not a game. S.H.I.E.L.D. reversed the physical identity swap and Yelena returned to the Red Room a little wiser, though certainly no fonder of Natasha. 

Disillusioned, Yelena retired from espionage, became a model, and started a successful lingerie empire. She also dabbled in the adult television station market and bought several mansions across the world, including several in Cuba. There, she began to employ many Cuban prostitutes to model her lingerie in order to get them off the streets. She also gave medical supplies to those she could not employ. When Natasha came to Cuba for a mission, Yelena saved her from the local authorities, claiming Natasha was a close personal friend. In return for the asylum Yelena provided her, Natasha traveled to Miami to settle a situation involving the medical supplies Yelena provided, but the Cutting Corporation captured Natasha. When Yelena learned from a friend working at Guantanamo Bay that a blind American fugitive was also at large, she realized it was Daredevil and rescued him as well. Yelena teamed with Murdock to free Natasha and they brought down the Cutting Corporation’s operation, which had been experimenting on hundreds of women. Afterwards, Yelena allowed Natasha to stay with her until she regained her strength. 

Under unrevealed circumstances, S.H.I.E.L.D. convinced Yelena to return to espionage as one of their agents, attaining Level 5 status. She led a rogue black ops team unknowingly backed by the subversive organization Hydra to the Savage Land, where they aided in the illegal mining of Antarctic Vibranium, AKA Anti-Metal. When the Avengers came to the Savage Land seeking escaped super-criminal Karl Lykos, AKA Sauron, Yelena shot Sauron in the head and ordered her agents to kill the Avengers. Several of the agents refused to do so at first, but when she shot the nearest dissenter, the rest followed her lead and opened fire on the heroes. The S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were defeated quickly, and while the Avengers questioned Yelena, Sauron recovered and blasted her with fire. Shortly thereafter, more S.H.I.E.L.D. agents arrived and destroyed the mining operation, with S.H.I.E.L.D. director Maria Hill, claiming that Belova’s mission had occurred with neither Hill’s knowledge nor authorization. 

Her body covered in third-degree burns, Yelena was transported to a hospital to recover. There, a Hydra agent offered her an opportunity to gain revenge against the Avengers. She accepted and Hydra, aided by A.I.M., used research gained from studying the original Super-Adaptoid’s synthetic system to replicate it in Yelena’s biological system. Now able to absorb and use the powers of those she touched, Yelena traveled to Avengers headquarters Stark Tower, where she attacked several Avengers as they met with New York City’s mayor.

Quickly absorbing the Sentry’s vast powers, she was unable to handle them at first and unleashed a massive blast that injured numerous bystanders. As she battled the Avengers, she stole the rest of their powers until Spider-Man and Iron Man realized she could not absorb multiple versions of the same power. Iron Man then called forth dozens of his Iron Man armors, which he remote-controlled against Yelena. She tried to use Sentry’s abilities again, but the Sentry’s difficult-to-control dark side, the Void, began to rise to the surface within her. As she struggled with the Void, the Hydra agent who had empowered her set off a destruct device within her head, causing it to explode. What remained of Yelena’s mutated body quickly dissolved. 

Yelena somehow survived and joined covert ops squad Vanguard alongside Eric Brooks, AKA Blade, Scott Wright, AKA Micromax, and Duvid Fortunov, AKA Dominic Fortune, and went after their leader Trenton Craft’s murderer, mind-controlled NYPD Det. Stacy Dolan, but when Craft turned up alive, and tried to kill everyone to keep Vanguard a secret, Yelena and the others fled. Yelena somehow was captured, and later turned up imprisoned in a stasis tube within Avengers Tower. After a failed Thunderbolts mission, Norman Osborn, AKA Green Goblin, thought about waking her up and adding her to the team, but never followed through. Instead, A.I.M. recovered her and invited her to join their High Council as Minister of State on their sovereign nation island of Barbuda. She accepted. 

When A.I.M. captured Secret Avengers member Bobbi Morse, AKA Mockingbird, and she tried to escape the island, Yelena prevented her from leaving by fighting her. During the brawl, Mockingbird was shot and killed by an A.I.M. agent. The Secret Avengers rescued her, but soon found a camouflage device and the body was revealed to be Yelena’s.

Yelena Belova
Essential Reading
Yelena Belova
After Natasha Romanoff, the first Black Widow, cut loyalties to her native Russia, a new Red Room recruit sought to replace her role. Teenage Yelena Belova trained for nearly a decade in all espionage and combat tactics, dedicating herself to being the best, and only, Black Widow.