Unilaterally Sarcastic, Dangerously Cheesy

Arc Review : Black Widow – Deadly Origin

It’s plain to see the logic behind releasing this mini-series when they did. Marvel has their tentpole film slated for a May release and it’s set to feature new characters who are bound to click with at least a portion of the general populous and one of those characters will assuredly be the Black Widow. A hot redhead in a tight bodysuit kicking all kinds of ass? Yeah, people will be hip to that.

And so this miniseries will be right there on shelves in Marvel’s Premiere format hardcover by the time the movie hits theaters, ready for anybody who might want a digestible series about the character readily available to them with little to no prior knowlege of the Marvel comics universe necessary for them to enjoy it.

Of course, at the same time, the new ongoing series will be hitting shelves and Marvel is hoping that some people cut their teeth on that title as well. Using the movie and this mini-series as a springboard to launch their foray into the world of monthly graphic literature. Will it actually work? I don’t know.

That having been said, the mini-series itself is pretty much everything you could want from the character. It’s scope is long and epic and integrates the character into every facet of the Marvel universe. She crosses paths with just about every major hero in the lineup and it didn’t feel like say, the Wolverine Origins film, where they were simply namedropping people left and right at random.

The great thing about this series is that it has a very classic feel to it. It’s sort of like a Fleming James Bond novel in it’s adherence to the spy-thriller genre. I take it that has a great deal to do with British writer Paul Cornell, who hasn’t written anything for Marvel yet that I didn’t enjoy on some level. He manages to make the book accessible to new readers while at the same time making the series seem integrated with what Brubaker has done with Captain America as well as with the overall tone of the Marvel Universe at large.

The art is simply amazing as well. And that’s saying something considering that there are different styles used to set the tone for different time periods in the Black Widow’s life. Her time spent as an Avenger looks and feels completely different than her time spent with Daredevil. It’s a stylistic choice that isn’t revolutionary, but it’s refreshing to see it done well, as so many times the effect isn’t a different tone but a jarring shift that seems out of place.

So would I recommend this book? Absolutely. And I give it high marks for being a book I can recommend not just to comic afficianados, but also to newbies. That’s no small accomplishment, as many have tried to do such a thing and fallen on their asses. Hard.

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