REVIEW: Black Widow #11 – “There’s No Time To Explain”

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Writers: Mark Waid, Chris Samnee
Artist: Chris Samnee
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Release Date: 2/8/17
Price: $3.99

Still blacklisted by S.H.I.E.L.D, Black Widow must go out on her own to defeat her Russian enemies and prevent them from destroying S.H.I.E.L.D.

Plot: Black Widow #11 finds Black Widow arriving at S.H.I.E.L.D.’s remote secret facility in order to stop her Russian enemies, the Dark Room Girls, from stealing what could lead to the end of S.H.I.E.L.D. Sounds easy enough for the former assassin, until you realize it’s six against one and an enemy from her past is behind the attack.

Story: With a brief exposition explaining how S.H.I.E.L.D.’s facility, and entire information network could be destroyed by a set of keys held throughout the base, the story of Black Widow #11 jumps immediately into action. The whole storyline felt like the best scenes of your favorite action movies from the reveal of Black Widow as the facility inspector in disguise to the explosive action scenes set in a nuclear facility.  Like a good action movie, the stakes are high and the fight scenes are mesmerizing. This is Black Widow’s book and Waid and Samnee make sure to put her front and center this issue.

Although light on dialogue, there were still plenty of quips, with Natasha being taunted by both her enemies (for her “old age”) and by the oblivious S.H.I.E.L.D agents she was protecting.

While these moments added humor, they also added to your sense of Natasha’s isolation as she carries the burden of her past alone. Through the action, we get a look into Natasha’s regrets and motivations. She still feels responsible for her past life and this fight is more than just about stopping the bad guys. It’s about redemption.

I personally really enjoy how the writers are able to humanize Natasha while still maintaining her status as one of the fiercest female characters in Marvel.

Art:  This issue blew me away with the action sequences. Watching Natasha kick, jump and punch her way through the panels was as exciting as watching any live-action Marvel film.

Samnee does a great job drawing the action sequences, though the fact that all of the Dark Room Girls look exactly the same sometimes made it a little unclear whether you were watching the same one moving or multiple Dark Room Girls. The Dark Room Girls, who are mostly black shadow-like ninjas, are made more engaging with the subtle feminine details of the eyes peering through their face masks. This detail reminds you that these aren’t just any assassins, but Natasha’s own kind.

Matthew Wilson’s coloring, heavily relying on oranges and reds, does a great job of adding urgency to the panels and reminding you this conflict is happening in a nuclear reactor facility. Of course, this color scheme also works perfectly with Black Widow as he contrasts the mostly black panels with a shock of red for Natasha’s hair and the symbol on her suit.

Verdict: This issue was an incredibly fun read as this run of Black Widow continues to focus on being a spy thriller, filled with all the required action sequences and shocking reveals. After a less action-packed issue #10, it was nice to see Natasha back to doing what she does best – kicking butt. Ending on a cliffhanger and a returned enemy definitely leaves the reader ready to pick up #12.

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