My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Nathan Edmondson has probably created my favorite “version” of Natasha Romanov with Black Widow: The Finely Woven Thread. The espionage angle really appealed to me. I have always enjoyed stories about clever spooks and deadly assassins and Nate definitely put aspects of both types into this one. Natasha comes across as a no nonsense, professional that is focused on whatever the job at hand is. She won’t allow herself to have a life outside of the mission and keeps most people at arms-length in order to do so. I think Edmondson does a good job at showing what life for someone like Natasha might really be like. How being unable to put down roots, have lasting relationships, or allowing anyone else to get to know you would effect a person. It’s all part of her self-inflicted penance for past sins. She sort of reminds me of Ennis’s Punisher in that regard. It’s similar to Frank’s strict, single-minded focus on the mission and allowing himself little else. Natasha’s reaction to Hawkeye’s brief cameo is evidence of this.
But it’s not all Natasha sitting around sad-faced, feeling bad about shit she did years ago. She gets to kick a lot of ass. A ton of action in this one kiddies. She has a lot to make up for and wastes no time getting to work. Mercenaries, terrorists, hit-men and other assorted baddies make up her checklist of targets. There are no really recognizable “super villains” in this one. Didn’t bother me. I think Nathan did a good job in adding little unexpected twists to his stories in this collection. Just enough to make each a touch more unique. Edmondson uses his shorter stories creatively to show off just how cunning an operative Natasha can be in a variety of situations.
Nate also starts to build his supporting cast with this volume. The introductions of Maria Hill (the Shield Director), Isaiah (the lawyer), Ana (the neighbor), and Liho (the cat) all speak to the fact that Edmondson might be settling in for the long haul with this title and has some plans as to where this is all going. I especially like Isaiah and how he takes care of the “usual” business while Natasha was away. And I typically don’t like lawyers very much.
Phil Noto’s got a style all his own. One of a short list of super-talented artists you can pick out from across the room. He provides all the beautiful cover to cover artwork for this one and man, he doesn’t disappoint. He draws Natasha like the hottie she is, but doesn’t have to resort to cheesecake or gratuitous titties to do it. Not that there is anything wrong with gratuitous titties. It’s just a nice change of pace to have a heroine that actually looks and dresses like she not gonna be swinging from a pole after saving the day. But Phil, please feel free to throw in a thong once in a while to mix it up down the road.
If you like spies, assassins, and beautifully drawn, fun-sized stories with a bunch of action, The Finely Woven Thread is a pretty easy recommend. If you’re looking for the Avengers to drop by, A-list supervillains, or epic length stories, you may be a little underwhelmed. This was a buddy read with a couple of my Shallow Comic Reading pals and I think we were all pretty close in our feelings about this one. Check out their reviews here ( Kat’s review, Sesana’s review , Sam’s review , and for good measure Joe’s review .