REVIEW: ‘Black Widow,’ Issue #5

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Black Widow #5

Black Widow #5 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Kelly Thompson, art by Elena Casagrande and Rafael de Latorre, colors by Jordie Bellaire, and letters by Cory Petit. Having lost her family, Natasha Romanov, aided by Clint Barton, Yelena Belova, and Bucky Barnes, must now face the onslaught of those who have created this situation. With the enemy storming the fort, will Natasha hold it together enough to get through the fight?

Sometimes loving someone is knowing when to hold on and when to let go. Processing the loss of those dear to us is an exercise that can take weeks, months, or even years. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always give us that kind of time. And despite a lifetime of compartmentalizing her life, Natasha may not be equipped to put this wound so neatly to rest. Especially not in the all too short amount of time life intends to give her.

Black Widow #5 is a lot. It is a roller coaster of explosions, heartbreaks, and tender moments. It is the perfect culmination of everything the series has thus far built. But for now, I’ll dispense with the general praise and talk about what exactly makes this issue so fantastic. And to start, I have to talk about Thompson’s writing.

If you have been following my coverage of Black Widow or Captain Marvel, you will know how much I adore how Thompson writes her characters. This issue brings yet another masterful performance to the accomplished writer’s portfolio. The depth and natural way she writes these chapters cannot be understated. And perhaps the most notable thing about Thompson’s writing here is what she leaves out.

The most striking trademark of Thompson’s writing has always been the comedic touch she often gives to her books. While most notable in titles like West Coast Avengers and Deadpool, it usually shows up somewhere in her titles to some degree. And while I’ve always praised this aspect of her writing, I’m glad to see the formula isn’t so set in stone that it was forced a place here. Black Widow #5 is far too heavy a story for the punchy humor Thompson excels at.

The bulk of this issue follows our hero and her allies as they counter the imminent onslaught of her enemies. The entire sequence is perfectly paced and delivers some truly astounding action. The characters are used in intelligent ways, and their contributions to the moment always land perfectly. The only place where Black Widow #5 fails in the slightest way for me is the underutilization of Arcade.

Since he was first revealed to be one of the behind-the-scenes villains of the story, I’ve been dying to see what he had up his sleeve. I have always loved the character, and the fact that we never really get to see him take center stage disappoints me. Hopefully, he will return in a future arc to further harass Natasha.

Ok. Now let’s talk about Black Widow #5’s artwork. It’s a masterpiece, to put it plainly. Casagrande’s artwork continues to deliver both the martial triumphs and the emotional tribulations of our title character with a skill that cannot be surpassed. They couldn’t have picked a better artist for this book.

And while the bulk of the lines are the well-recognized work of Casagrande, we also get a few pages of linework from artist Latorre. These pages deliver a great look to them as they capture the energy of their moment excellently. This sampling serves as a great teaser for the next issue where Latorre will be taking on temporary art duties.

While the combined linework of Casagrande and Latorre is phenomenal, one cannot discuss the art of Black Widow #5 without mentioning the striking and vibrant colorwork of Bellaire. With so much going on in these pages, the way the colors manage to reinforce all the story’s aspects is an impressive feat. Needing to push both the situational elements of the story, as well as the emotional content, keeps a lot of conflicting points in play sometimes. Bellaire’s work nonetheless always helps highlight exactly what it should.

Rounding out the presentation is Petit’s letters. The letter work here flows along with the art beautifully. It keeps everything running smoothly while never hindering the other visual aspects of the story.

Bringing it all together, Black Widow #5 delivers everything I could ask for from it. It wraps up this story arc in a way that is equal parts action and raw emotion. The entire creative team continues to deliver top performances in every regard. I cannot heap enough praise on all of them.

Oh, and also, I love the new threads.

Black Widow #5 is available now wherever comics are sold.

 

Black Widow #5
5

TL;DR

Bringing it all together, Black Widow #5 delivers everything I could ask for from it. It wraps up this story arc in a way that is equal parts action and raw emotion. The entire creative team continues to deliver top performances in every regard. I cannot heap enough praise on all of them