Review: Black Widow Vol. 1 (The Finely Woven Thread) by Nathan Edmondson & Phil Noto

Black Widow, Vol. 1: The Finely Woven ThreadBlack Widow, Vol. 1: The Finely Woven Thread by Nathan Edmondson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Buddy Reads for the Shallow Comic Readers this week is “Red” Theme…Black Widow is…a Redhead. and Russian, which is…Red. And she makes people bleed…RED. And the art is heavy on the colour…RED. And I just..RE(a)D it!

Where to start…First off, I don’t love ScarJo’s movie version of Black Widow, she just doesn’t have any gravitas or tortured soul feeling. She’s just T&A. I wish she was more.
This version of Natasha is bang on, right up my alley.

The artwork by Phil Noto is ideally suited to this book and character, so bravo to him on this. It’s got somewhat muted tones, but is heavy on the red, blood red, the colour of spies (because a heavy on the black book would be too dark lol).

I like Nathan Edmondson a lot; his Jake Ellis series was fantastic, and though he did write the less than stellar “Grifter” reboot for New 52, that wasn’t entirely awful. This, however is great.
Natasha feels like she’s worn out, far too old for her actual age, and not just a support player with the big guns. There’s a terrific section where she talks about not being a marksman, or a dude with a shield or a philanthropist with a suit of armour…she’s just a spy. So she doesn’t seek out bang bang shoot em up style action.

I love that she’s motivated by making atonement for her earlier life, and I don’t think we need to have it spelled out for us; I really respect a writer who gives the audience credit to figure it out. She kills people, she used to kill people for the Russians, so she probably killed a lot of people who might not have deserved it. Ergo, she funnels most of her money into trust funds for those left behind. I like it. She’s got a conscience, but at no point do I ever consider her soft or weak.

She keeps people at arm’s length, because people obviously hurt her; the closest thing we see is her lawyer, a neighbour, and Maria Hill, director of SHIELD. (We even get a cameo from Hawkguy, where she looks less than enthused to see him, which I think is a great touch from Edmondson and Noto, differentiating this Black Widow from the Avengers/movie version).

Other reviewers have said that the plot isn’t intricate enough, or details enough given, but really, I think that would be a waste of time. I don’t need to be explained what her motivation is and who everyone she’s going after is, and what they did. I just know she does what she does, it’s work, and she’s damn good at it. This is probably a more accurate depiction of the assassin/spy/operative life anyhow; detached, but highly functional.

I also feel like this minimal style of plot gives us a lot more time to focus on Natasha, see her, and develop our own feelings towards her; we’re not being pressured by the writer to love her, or hate her, we’re being given an honest look, and allowed to make up our own minds. I like this approach a lot, because it doesn’t try so hard to force a character onto us. However, she’s here if we want.

Of course, the Mad Russian Monk is always fun, and it’s nice to see a hero(ine) who, although badass and deadly, isn’t indestructible like an 80s movie hero. She gets beat up, she doesn’t always win, and she doesn’t like it.

There’s so much to like here, I cannot wait to get my hands on volume 2. Also, this day in age, it’s a blast to get a strong female character written well, and independent of others. There’s enough little humour here, but I also like that a Marvel book isn’t afraid to go lighter on the funny for once. It’s not in danger of being a DC book, but it doesn’t try to fit the formula of sarcastic/self-deprication, because that wouldn’t work here at all.

It works, I really enjoyed it, and it’s a great combo of solid writing and superb art. Winner.


Image and video hosting by TinyPic

View all my reviews

Review: Indestructible Hulk Vol. 4 – Humanity Bomb; by Mark Waid

Indestructible Hulk, Vol. 4: Humanity BombIndestructible Hulk, Vol. 4: Humanity Bomb by Mark Waid
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

***Green Theme Buddy Reads, with my Shallow homies. If I have to explain how this fits, you are what Professor HULK (ie. Jeff) would call an ‘asshat’***


Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I took this out of the library months ago, but Vol. 3 had yet to be ordered…luckily, the Digital Copy in every Marvel Hardcover allows you to get a copy online thru Marvel.com…and then read in Comixology. So this was my first full volume on Comixology, and my first read on my iPad! YAY! No paper cuts! And when I dropped it in the tub, I only got electrocuted a wee bit, but there was no ruined pages!

So at the end of our last adventure, HULK had repaired time like 99% accurately…by smashing the shit out of it. This time, we’re in the Inhumanity Event, where Black Bolt had his hand forced, to release Terragen Mists on Earth, in order to repopulate the latent Inhuman population after Thanos destroyed the Inhumans? I think? So the mists target people who’s DNA has any tiny marker gene for Inhumans…so if your great great granny whored it up with one…you’re fucked.

Cue Banner, working on his Bruce saves the Earth stuff, only to see Tony ‘Asshat’ Stark (copyright Jeff) beat him to it, then Reed Richards, then the Hanks (Pym and McCoy). Shockingly, he’s ANGRY as fuck about it.
Cue up Doc Randall Jessup, one of Banner’s super-scientist lab assistants. He’s apparently a Zen master, who just tells Bruce to chew some gum and count to 120 and gives him some mumbo jumbo…turns out, he talks Bruce down from HULK-ing out!

We get a short flashback to Jessup’s sad backstory, then forward to Jessup and Banner stealing invisibility cloaks to go join a SHIELD mission that Maria Hill told him to stay out of…but of course, no such luck. Jessup again keeps Hulk at bay long enough to save everyone, and manages to impress Banner tremendously.

Next up, Banner returns to the lab to see Asshat Pym and Asshat Stark trying to figure out the Terragen Mists…Banner tells them to fuck off out of his lab, they act super condescending, before he points out that he just happens to be the expert on radiation and its effects on people (Gamma Rays…Hulk…ringing any bells there Stark?) Then Tony gives Bruce 24 hrs to finish his solution.

They show up early, and bring Hank #2 with them (McCoy, Beast). Hank 2 isn’t an asshat, he’s just cautious, and I like that Waid didn’t give him the same personality of a phallus that he did to Pym and Stark. Beast would relate more to Banner on the effects of changes to the self than the other 2.

Of course, the name of this volume is Humanity BOMB…so yes, Bruce has built a BOMB to save HUMANITY from INHUMANITY! See how easily that works? If Waid comes up with his own titles, he deserves a raise. Of course the asshats overreact and that leads to HULK freaking out and running off with the BOMB.
Way to go Iron McAsshat!

So the Hanks and Asshat chase him, and Pym breaks his arm trying to wrestle the bomb from Hulk, and Hulk gets it back…amidst all the chaos, Hank #2 asks the simplest question: Tony, what if the bomb works?
Then goes on to cry Mea Culpa, that he and the Asshats were arrogant not to trust Bruce, and leaves it up to Iron McAsshy to decide what to do…or not do…

So…ya. Long story short, Bomb goes off, freezes time to see if the Terragen Mists will dissipate or lose their effects…turns out…it doesn’t work…but only because it was made by Black Bolt and not on Earth, so different physics and such. In the aftermath, there’s some explosions, and Hulk and the 3 musketeers save as many as they can, and then they all pseudo apologize for being dicks, but I think only McCoy can be pardoned for this one.

Remember Jessup? ya…things don’t go so well for him…Terragen Mists and whatnot…turns out his Zen powers end up counteracting the Hulk’s Anger…which is difficult for Banner when shit goes south…he has to resort to more basic methods…

Then there’s a run in with some super evil scientists experimenting on Terragnen Mist victims…including trying Jessup, but Hulk and the team won’t stand for it…SMASH, team up with Jessup’s Inhuman Monster form, yadda yadda yadda…people die, no more team for Banner at SHIELD, Hill says she might have to “Terminate” Him…he smirks.

Cue Cliffhanger Ending involving Bruce Banner!!!!

Then there’s the Annual, which has Tony and Bruce going after a mad scientist on an island in the middle of nowhere that’s been totally weaponized…this guy was big on influencing both of them to go into weapons work with the military (the way for smart dudes to get $$) even though he wasn’t a nice dude. It’s a decent enough team up, even though Tony is an asshat to Bruce most of the time, they’re actually closer than many think…

This takes place BEFORE the events in Vol. 4 I believe…

So all in all, a solid volume, but it focuses more on the lab people and Jessup, but I think that’s to show how Bruce holds himself responsible for everything bad that happens, even though he can’t be. The stuff with the Hanks and Asshat is the stronger stuff in the volume, and the art is a step in the right direction after volume 3, but it still doesn’t compare to Yu’s volume 1 work.

Sadly, this is also the end of the series…WAHHHH!!! HULK SAD! I’m guessing there’s another one to pick up, but…Waid had a great handle on Banner and Hulk, and I hope that’s not it for him writing it. I also love the interactions with others, epsecially Daredevil and Iron Man and the Hanks.


Image and video hosting by TinyPic

View all my reviews