I thought now would be a perfect time to recommend some Black Widow reads to you if you want to switch from the movies to the comics. I do want to get these out of the way fast, but they are important to know if you’re switching to the comics from the movies. The first is that the MCU version of Black Widow and the version that’s in the comics is not exactly the same, so just brace yourself for that. I don’t want anyone’s heart to be broken when you’re reading these. Next, you should know that James Buchanan Barnes aka Bucky Barnes of Winter Soldier Fame and Natasha is a famous on-again-off-again couple in the comics. Obviously this is not the case in the movies, so I wanted to mention it because quite frequently Bucky / James is mentioned in Black Widow stories appears in them.
The last thing is just a band-aid we have to rip off because this article is aimed at new readers, which is that Black Widow does not have the best track record when it comes to comics. The four comics that I have on this list really are the only ones like good ones. Everything else is terrible, and believe me when I tell you that. I hate to say it, I don’t want to discourage new readers, but I have to tell you as someone who has read every single comic starring black Widow published from 1990 until the present day, that there is really nothing else worthwhile out there and I don’t want you to waste your time.
if you want to read more Black Widow go and experience it for yourself, I am just letting you know that I have dug through the trenches and the sludge to bring you this list and I do not recommend reading any of her other series because they are really bad and I am surprised that some peoples comparing it by the comic Savita Bhabhi. Let’s continue on with the actual article though and talk about some good series. I am gonna start off this list with what is arguably the best Black Widow comic in existence as of the time of filming, which is Name of the Rose written by Marjorie Liu. This is an alone-volume complete story that follows Black Widow as she is sucked back into her past in a very painful way.
Just as Black Widow has settled into her life as an Avenger, a quasi-hero, a friend, and a girlfriend, she receives a mysterious black rose which is something that is tied to her past that no one should know about. Natasha investigates the origin of this black rose and as she does so she reveals a plot designed to make her public enemy number one and turn all of her friends against her. The writer of this series, Marjorie Liu, is also famous for writing Monstress. And like in Monstress, she expertly knows how to handle a character with a complicated past and one who doesn’t neatly fit onto the side of good or bad. This is just an excellent story. It really captures Black Widow.
I think that of a lot of the ones on this list, this is one of the ones that most resemble the version of Black Widow that is in the movies. So if you do like that version of Black Widow, I think that you would also like the version here. The story is very emotional and there’s a lot of very nice character moments, as well as the art is absolutely fantastic in this. The only thing that you should know before reading this is that in the comics at the time that this was written, Black Widow had a different backstory than she does now. Her backstory was that she was essentially immortal – or I should say ageless – as she could still be killed if you stabbed her all the way through, but she is ageless.
So this comic does heavily reference that because you’ll be reading it and it’ll show a flashback to World War IIand Natasha was the exact same age as she is now. So I just want to mention that if you do jump into this one so you’re not horribly confused. The next recommendation I have for you is the 2016 Black Widow series written by Mark Waid. This series opens with a bang as we see Natasha running from a horde of S.H.I.E.L.D. soldiers and we quickly learn that she has stolen some vital S.H.I.E.L.D. information and now is on the run. As the story goes on, we unravel the mystery of why Natasha would betray S.H.I.E.L.D. as well as learning more about her past and how sometimes the past doesn’t stay in the past. as the name of the Rose, this is actually the only other series that feels similar to the MCU version of Black Widow.
So if you really like that version and you don’t want to read different interpretations of her, this is the series that I would recommend for you. This series is a ton of fun, it’s fast-paced, and it deals very heavily with the sentiment echoed in the movies of red in your ledger and whether or not you can ever truly wipe that clean or if you’re always defined by who you were in the past. The next recommendation I have for you is the lack of Widow series from 2014 written by Nathan Edmondson. This is a little bit of a different take on Natasha. Instead of someone who is a survivor and who defies all of the odds, the Natasha in this story is more of someone who feels very bogged down by their past and is seeking redemption.
Here we find Natasha ina new role. She’s not an Avenger, she’s not part of S.H.I.E.L.D., she’s not a spy, but instead, she is essentially an assassin that works for people that she has wronged in the past as a way to try to atone for her past mistakes. I will be honest with this one, the writing isn’t necessarily the best. It’s not bad, it’s just not very memorable. However, this is highly, highly elevated by the fantastic artwork by Phil Noto, and this easily in my opinion has the best artwork of any Black Widow series. So I highly recommend it, especially for that reason.The final recommendation I have for you is Black Widow: No Restraints Play written by the Soska Sisters, and if you are a fan of horror you may have heard of these two before.
But in case you haven’t, they are a Canadian sister duo that is very famous in the horror movie scene and they took their unique interpretation here on Black Widow. This story follows Black Widow after the events of the Secret Empire, and don’t worry you don’t even need to know what the hell is because this comic explains everything that you need to understand in order to read it. But essentially, Captain America was turned evil and he killed a bunch of Avengers including Natasha, and she is now more or less back from the dead.
Obviously this is a lot to process for anyone, and it’s not made any easier because every time that she teams up with Captain America on a mission he’s sitting there moralizing to her about how we can’t kill the villains because then we’ll be just as bad as they are. So what do you do when you are a former assassin whose whole life you were trained to kill and then the man who essentially killed you keeps telling you that you can’t kill because it’s wrong? Well of course you go to a murder island with no laws and you start killing pedophiles. She goes to this crime-hidden island in search of some people that need killing.
She soon finds her perfect list of targets when she learns about this horrific “game show” called No Restraints Play in which innocent girls are plucked off the street and then streamed live to an online audience of pedophiles and degenerates and truly messed up people who vote on what happens to her. And I’m not gonna go into detail, but just know that this is R-rated and I’m sure you can fill in the gaps. So this has sexual assault, sexual violence, gore, and body mutilation. This is one of those comics that I mentioned way back at the beginning of the article that does not feel like the MCU version of Black Widow at all.
She’s basically Punisher in this with a Black Widow coating on top. And sometimes that’s just fun, and sometimes you just want to read a fun violent series. That’s what this one is. It’s a really graphic and it’s very gory, but it doesn’t feel exploitative and it doesn’t feel titillating even though there’s a lot of beheadings there’s a lot of limbs being chopped off and there are a lot of pedophiles getting killed. All I can say to that is, you go, girl, you kill them. This is also a fun read if you’re sick of the whole superheroes can’t kill villains that would make them just as bad as the villains. Here’s a case where yeah you can kill the villains