Tag Archives: Chris Samnee

Today’s Super Comic — Black Widow #6 (2016)

Back in the ‘60s, Black Widow was introduced as an enemy for Iron Man. So it’s fitting that Black Widow #6 puts them at odds once again, as we (and Tony Stark) learn that she once targeted someone very important to him back in her less scrupulous days.

The issue rejects the usual “heroes fight over a misunderstanding” pattern and instead offers twists that are in character for both Natasha and Tony. And it’s not the usual sort of “misunderstanding” in play here—the Widow’s guilty. But there’s more going on than just one painful revelation.

So the story’s great, and I also continue to enjoy writer/artist Chris Samnee’s visuals. He captures exactly the right tone, and the facial expressions bring the scenes to life.

At this point, I think it’s safe to declare this the Black Widow’s strongest solo series to date.

Writers: Chris Samnee and Mark Waid

Artist: Chris Samnee

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Black Widow vol. 1: SHIELD’s Most Wanted (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Black Widow #5 (2016)

The current Black Widow remains a quality action series five issues in.

Momentum continues to build. The tension escalates. The stakes feel higher with every issue. And it’s all done in exactly the right tone, and with the right ambiguity, for its title character. I’m genuinely curious to see how this wraps up.

Yet another reminder that there really should be a solo Black Widow movie by now. But at least we have this excellent comic.

Writers: Chris Samnee and Mark Waid

Artist: Chris Samnee

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Black Widow vol. 1: SHIELD’s Most Wanted (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Black Widow #3 (2016)

black-widow-3Time to rave about the current Black Widow series again.

Issue #3 demonstrates how this is truly an artist’s book, and indeed, the artist is also the co-writer. Appropriately for a visual medium, Chris Samnee tells the story largely through pictures as we follow Black Widow from New York to Russia and deep into her own past.

But this series isn’t structured around cool images—it’s a story ideally suited for its character, and it knows it doesn’t need to be talky to get the job done. Natasha isn’t exactly a chatterbox herself, so the approach fits especially well here.

A great series so far. I’m ready for more.

Writers: Mark Waid and Chris Samnee

Artist: Chris Samnee

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Black Widow vol. 1: SHIELD’s Most Wanted (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Black Widow #2 (2016)

black-widow-2The first issue dropped us in the middle of an intriguing scenario, without all the facts—Black Widow on the run from SHIELD, and not even she’s not certain she’s doing the right thing…whatever it is she’s doing. The second issue remains coy, but it reveals just enough more to further intrigue us.

Superheroes need weaknesses and flaws, because what’s the point of a protagonist who’s invincible? Or one who’s so formidable that she’s practically unstoppable and solutions come too easily? And Black Widow is easily among Marvel’s most formidable non-powered characters, but she also has her own special version of kryptonite—her own past.

It’s a great weakness for a character to have (well, it benefits the reader, not the character, of course). It raises the stakes in a personal way, much more so than a glowing space rock ever can (no offense, Superman).

So far, this series appears to be leveraging that weakness to thrilling effect.

Writers: Chris Samnee and Mark Waid

Artist: Chris Samnee

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Black Widow #1 (2016)

Black-Widow-1Black Widow #1 certainly doesn’t make the mistake of starting the story too early.

Page one gives us the hook—Black Widow is now an enemy of SHIELD. But writers Mark Waid and Chris Samnee wisely withhold the full explanation this issue. Instead, they treat us to Natasha’s thrilling escape from SHIELD, showing off her skills and resourcefulness and letting Samnee’s art tell most of the story.

It’s a great scenario for the character. It puts her in opposition to her allies…but maybe secretly doing it for their benefit? That mystery and ambiguity suits her. We truly don’t know if Natasha is doing the right thing, and she might not either.

I’ll have to read the next issues when they arrive on Marvel Unlimited…or maybe grab the trade paperback when it comes out. The first issue did its job—it sold me on the series. More, please.

Writers: Mark Waid and Chris Samnee

Artist: Chris Samnee

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up