"Right to a Life: Part 2"
Writer: Richard K. Morgan
Artists: Goran Parlov (p), Bill Sienkiewicz (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
As the Black Widow continues her investigation of a string of murdered agents, we see her visit to the funeral of one of the victims opens her eyes to the fact that the murdered woman had a secret lover, and Natasha sets up a meeting with this man. However, before she can get too many answers they come under attack by a group of armed goons, and during the ensuing fire fight, Natasha looks to have revived a fairly serious injury.
After getting out of the gates with a pretty impressive head of steam, this second issue was a bit of a let down, as rather than building on the momentum, instead the issue gets bogged down in a murder investigation and since we're relatively early in the story, Natasha doesn't uncover any useful information. Still I will concede that there were a couple moments that caught my attention, as the scene where Natasha explains why she's not wearing her widow bite blasters was a fun little deconstruction of comic book technology, though my inner geek was left wondering why she didn't have Tony Stark, or S.H.I.E.L.D. come up with a more user friendly design. Still I did enjoy the little character scene where we see Natasha uncovers the letter that called the murder victim back home, and we get a great moment where the character thinks back on her own "Uncle Ilya" letter. The issue also managed to deliver a pretty exciting bit of action in its closing pages, and in addition to being a solid display of her ability to hold her own in a seemingly impossible situation, capped off with a solid cliff-hanger moment, I also rather enjoyed the running commentary as Natasha details why she's not a fan of using guns. In the end though this issue moved a bit slower than I would've preferred, and the simple truth of the matter is that it really didn't advance the plot forward, as up until the final bit of action it felt like the story was simply stalling for time.
First off I have to say once again that Greg Land is one of the best cover artists in the industry when it comes to his delivery of the female characters, as the Black Widow has never looked as dangerous as she does on this issue's cover image. As for the interior art I will say that part of me is a little disappointed to see Bill Sienkiewicz has dropped down the creative ladder to providing finishes over Goran Parlov layouts, but his distinctive style is still ever present, and the more confusing elements that turn some off his art look to be under control. The art does manage to nicely sell the idea of why Natasha abandoned her widow bites, as I loved her annoyed expression as she's repairing the blasters in the middle of heated fire-fight. There's also a great panel where we see her reaction as she thinks back on her own letter calling her back home, and the art does a great job selling the idea that Kestrel is actively interested in their waitress.
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