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"All-New Marvel Now!" Review: "Black Widow" #1!

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Natasha Romanov, the Black Widow, gets a shot at a solo title again as part of All-New Marvel Now! The first issue is absolutely worth a read, though don't expect to want to come back for seconds off this first helping.

The book opens with Natasha assisting in taking out a Polish hostage with some well-placed lies. The message here to the reader is; don’t worry so much about the past, we’re starting fresh here.

Widow meets with her new manager, Isiah in the park. It turns out her new MO is taking on jobs in her free time against those who really have it coming. The money goes to a good cause. The rest of the issue she busts into a shady deal in Dubai, taking out an assassin by throwing a flak jacket on the target and pushing him into the window in plain view of the sniper. Later, Widow relaxes with her new cat, hoping someday that the good she does outweighs the bad.

Yeah, that’s it. Dense, this one is not. It’s by no means a bad issue, but it’s pretty light on actual stuff happening. Clearly this one is meant to establish the mood and general concept, which apparently is done-in-one badass spy action. Think “Burn Notice” crossed with Matt Fraction’s “Hawkeye.” That doesn’t leave a ton of reasons to tune back in next month, though. This is probably because poor Natasha has several cancelled series to her name; they just want new readers in and entertained.

Hey, it works. Nathan Edmondson writes Widow as capable but repentant, and Phil Noto’s art flows from panel to panel. It has a real painterly feel that is still structured, and the colors help establish the difference between action and pedestrian scenes.

I just wish the idea behind the series wasn’t so broad. I could completely forget about this title before the next issue comes out, see #2 on the stands and go “oh, yeah…” Maybe this book will pick up in later issues, but right now this one is die-hards only. It looks pretty and it's an enjoyable read, but the story is sparse and there's no hook.

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