Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Alex Maleev
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Except for She-Hulk and the Invisible Woman, the Black Widow stands up as my favourite female character and the only reason why she doesn't hold the top spot is that my enjoyment of the character is largely dependant on how the
character is put to use. I mean I enjoyed her time in the Avengers, and the character relationships that this time opened up, but to be completely honest the Black Widow works better as a solo operative, as if nothing else
this allows her the freedom to jump about the Marvel Universe from last week's issue of Hawkeye, to this week's issue of Daredevil, and with a new miniseries on the horizon the future looks bright for my favourite Russian
turncoat. I also rather enjoyed the fact that Natasha looks to be doing more in this story than simply popping in for a guest-appearance, as the core of this story involves the American government considering a deal that would hand her over the Bulgarian authorities in exchange for the terrorist Lady Hydra, and one has to openly wonder how much does Nick Fury suspect about this deal when he calls her in.
There's also a nice side plot involving Matt's relationship with Milla and not only does this sequence capture Matt's sense of anguish, but it also smartly brings Matt's religious upbringing into the picture. There's also a nice little moment where the issue manages to bring back the relationship between Matt and Ben Urich, as their phone conversation that sends Matt down to the docks to break up a gunrunning deal was a lot of fun. I also have to say I have to say I was a little surprised to learn Jigsaw is still alive, as I really didn't think the Punisher had reoccurring villains.
Alex Maleev is not the best artist when it comes to delivering action in a visually exciting manner so he's found a near perfect title to demonstrate his main skills as an artist, as Brian Michael Bendis comes up with an issue that is largely a talking heads affair, and the art does a wonderful job keeping things jumping from a visual standpoint, as there's a great moment of tension when we see Lady Hydra trying to set off a bomb. There's also a nice sequence where Matt moves through a sea of reporters, and I loved the way that the Black Widow is introduced into the story, as her red hair instantly catches one's eye in the crowd.
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