Mark Waid is one of my favorite Marvel authors, thanks to his lengthy run in the Daredevil universe that, unfortunately, ended in a rather rushed and lackluster fashion due to the Secret Wars event. While this was disappointing, Waid and Chris Samnee, the artist that joined Waid on the tail-end of the Daredevil narrative, promised to be joining forces once again after Secret Wars, this time taking on the secretive adventures of Black Widow.
The story is so secretive, in fact, that I know almost nothing about it.
That might sound like an exaggeration, but frankly, if you’ve read the preview for this issue, you basically know everything there is to know. Black Widow is on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D., breaking out of one of their headquarters with various agents on her tail. That reason is mentioned briefly, but never expanded upon enough to give us a clear idea as to what’s going on. While I don’t mind that about most stories — with reveals being a way to keep readers invested — there is so little in terms of substance here that I was yearning for something, anything to pull me through the drawn out chase scene.
This is the one scene that dominates the issue; it plays out much like a James Bond flick, with various vehicles and fights bringing us from one page to the next, with next to no dialogue. Black Widow herself says one line in the entire issue, with only a handful of utterances leftover from the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent collective, and most of these are “get her!”-style quips in nature, or exposition. After such a rich and interesting repertoire that could be found in any issue of Daredevil, I was frustrated by such a lack of conversation here. And while I understand that this is a different genre and character, it makes the issue go by perhaps a bit too quickly–easily digested in under 10 minutes.
It takes as long to experience as it does due to the beautiful art; Samnee hasn’t lost his charm, utilizing color in a fantastic way that adds to the overall tone and intensity, with sudden shifts to unnatural red backgrounds highening battles, and thus what stakes there are. Beyond some very minor nitpicks, I had no issues with the imagery here, drawing me into the world, making me want to turn the pages faster to see what the next had in store.
So is this issue for you? If you’re interested in an intense, easy to “read” romp through the Marvel Universe, then by all means pick it up. But if you want something more intellectual or text-heavy from your comic book experiences, then you may want to pass on this one, at least until future installments can shed more light on the story at hand.