Black Widow #20 (Marvel)


CREDIT: Marvel

Rating: 5/5 – Ending A Great Series with the Best Issue Yet.
By ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

It’s rare that a creative team spends twenty straight issues together, but that’s just what Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto have done with Black Widow, Twenty issues that have really fleshed out Black Widow as a character and showed the good, and definitely the bad sides of the character. This twentieth and final issue of the series shows maybe the worst side of Black Widow during her time as a spy for Russia and the Red Room, while at the same time showing how she’s looking to redeem herself after that life of violence and indifference.

When this final issue opens, Black Widow is looking to save as many people as she can before the final incursion ends the world. The cover carries the Secret Wars banner as well as prefacing the title with “Last Days Of” which Marvel has been using on a wide range of titles that are coming to an end. After reading Secret Wars, we know that only a handful of characters survived so what we read here are Natasha’s last moments alive, but writer Nathan Edmondson doesn’t spend a whole lot of time on her final hours. Instead he spends most of this issue on her memories of the past, and a moment in time that will make you question whether or not she’s truly a hero despite all the good she’s done.

Edmondson doesn’t shy away from showing a side of Black Widow that’s surprisingly brutal, and Phil Noto’s art captures her unflinching facial expressions as she carries out her mission. Noto uses a lot of close ups on Natasha’s blue eyes, showing an emptiness in those eyes while in the past, and somehow capturing a sense of life in the present even as the world is ending around her. Although his rendering of the New York skyline and streets of Cuba look plain when compared to his character work, it’s forgivable when each character has a unique look all to their own and Natasha is drawn with such care and passion.

The final issue of Black Widow will make it tough to forgive some of Natasha’s past work as a spy, but makes the character all that more interesting. Either way you feel, this final issue was a captivating read from beginning to end and made me sad that this may be the last time we see this creative team on the character. For twenty issues they have given us something special, and this will easily go down as the best Black Widow series to date. Edmonson and Noto have ended an excellent series with possibly their best issue yet.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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