Writer: Kelly Thompson
Pencils: Elena Casagrande, Rafael De Latorre
Inks: Elisabetta D’Amico, Rafael De Latorre
Release Date: 30th June 2021
Featuring a couple of marvelous guest-appearances by Spider-Girl, along with a truly pulse-pounding conclusion featuring the titular character’s desperate attempt to liberate Yelena Belova from the clutches of Apogee’s most-recently assembled goon squad, Kelly Thompson’s script for issue eight of Black Widow ably demonstrates just why this comic book won the 2021 Eisner Award for Best New Series. Admittedly, this publication’s audience need to navigate a handful of lengthy conversations in order to reach its ‘blood and thunder’ moments. But even such scenes as the newly-powered Lucy talking to the dusty remains of the recently-deceased Stan in an emotional soliloquy are so well-penned by Thompson that they prove utterly engrossing; “It made me feel better. He shouldn’t be alone. I wouldn’t want to be. If it happens to me… Don’t leave me alone, okay?”
Foremost of this twenty-page periodical’s numerous strengths though has to be the aforementioned Anya Corazon’s ‘secret spy stuff’, and her eventual decision to reveal her alter-ego once she realises a number of her fellow cultists are about to ingest the self-same liquid which “decomposed a guy.” The young girl’s noble action to shed her disguise is extremely brave considering the scale of her hooded opposition, and definitely provides a few worrying moments when it becomes clear just how badly outmatched she is despite her own formidable super-abilities.
Likewise, Thompson presents a fascinating insight into her incarnation of Natasha Romanoff, and the black-clad assassin’s warm relationship with the White Widow. This comic’s opening rather nicely shows just how close the two women have become emotionally since the red-haired Avenger ‘lost’ her baby son, Stevie, and this greatly adds to the Russian’s somewhat ‘tongue-in-cheek’ attitude later on when she realises Belova has unwittingly walked straight into the very heart of Apogee’s criminal underworld, and is going to “be spitting mad when I rescue her…”
Of course, any critique of this second instalment to the “I Am The Black Widow” storyline would be wholly unfair if the prodigious penciling of Elena Casagrande and Rafael De Latorre weren’t also praised. There’s arguably quite a hint of Todd Mcfarlane’s insanely complicated webbing to this book’s sketches of Spider-Girl when she desperately flees the confines of The Tenderloin. Whilst the incredibly-dynamic double-splash illustration highlighting the former-Red Room operative easily beating the best villains Apogee has to offer is a serious feast for the eyes for any action-orientated reader.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]