TALES OF SUSPENSE #100
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Travel Foreman
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 12/20/17
After Natasha’s death in Secret Empire, Clint goes looking for answers. It turns out he’s not the only one looking.
Plot: A series of former Hydra leaders have been murdered, and they all have something in common: their kills reflect the style of assassin Natasha Romanoff AKA Black Widow. Clint Barton decides to investigate to see if his dead girlfriend is back, but he’s not the only one looking for her.
Story: I’ll admit I haven’t read the original Tales of Suspense run which ended in 1968, but Marvel’s decision to bring the title back might be one of their smartest moves of Marvel Legacy.
Matthew Rosenberg knows how to write Clint Barton down to the smallest detail, which adds to the strength of the book. He sets up Clint’s motivations and personality early in this issue so that even readers unfamiliar with his relationship with Natasha understand the stakes. Black Widow is a popular character and lot of people were left scratching their heads why she was killed off in Secret Empire. Hopefully, this series provides some closure (or, you know, brings her back).
And even with those high stakes, there are plenty of moments of humor since this is Clint Barton, not exactly the world’s best spy (or a spy at all). Within the first half of the issue he crashes a funeral and then accidentally burns down the building, not exactly a hero move. So far the book does a great job balancing humor, action and heart to make a story you genuinely care about and want to keep reading.
We don’t see too much of Bucky until the end of the issue, but already it’s obvious the odd couple dynamic between him and Clint will keep this book entertaining.
Art: Travel Foreman’s art for this issue has a noir vibe to go along with the mystery plot with lots of heavy lines and shading. Normally in action scenes we see the protagonist’s skills highlighted, but Foreman almost does the opposite drawing Clint as someone who’s scrappy but lacks the super-spy finesse or superhuman strength of other Marvel characters.
More so than the action scenes, I really enjoyed all the detail put into the pages whether it’s the mob crowds or papers scattered on the floor, each panel looks like a very lived in world.
In what I’m assuming is an intentional move, Rachelle Rosenberg uses a lot of purple as an accent color since that’s the color most associated with Hawkeye. The other effect the neon palette has is creating the same moods and tones of a modern action flick (think John Wick, Atomic Blonde or Bladerunner 2049). I’ll be curious if they keep this vibe throughout the run or if it changes as they get closer to solving the mystery.
Verdict: Since Mark Waid’s Black Widow title ended I’ve missed having a great spy title and it looks like Tales of Suspense will fill that void for Marvel in its five issues. I like that this book is exploring the Secret Empire fallout and using Bucky and Clint to do it. While we haven’t delved too much into the odd couple dynamics yet, I expect this team-up of two of Natasha’s exes will bring some pretty unforgettable moments.