Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Reader's Diary #1441- Nathan Edmondson (writer), Phil Noto (artist): Black Widow Volume 1 The Finely Woven Thread

No knock on Scarlet Johansson's portrayal of Black Widow, but I've never been one of those clamouring for a solo movie. Do I think we need more female led superhero films? Absolutely! But I barely saw her as a superhero. Admittedly, I've never been crazy about any non-superpowered superheroes, thinking they sort of defeat the whole purpose (and yes, that includes Batman). But thanks to Edmondson and Noto's comic book take on the character I'm 100% in favour of a solo movie. The thing is? It doesn't really need to be a superhero movie. Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. the Black Widow, isn't a superhero, she's a superspy! And the spy genre has just as poorly a track record when it comes to female protagonists, so it would be perfect.

For source material, the script writers would have to look no further than The Finely Woven Thread. It's an action-packed, globe-trotting tale with just enough character-building. It's clear that Natasha has a dark past that she's atoning for, but she's far, far from broken. And to be fair, Scarlet Johansson has the chops to pull off such a delicate balance.

As a comic, I was blown away. Noto's art is spectacular. Watercolours give Natasha complexity and he has real knack for pacing; detailed, almost breath-taking scenes slow down the story when necessary but he still manages to give action scenes the gravitas and urgency they need. Stylistically, I was reminded of a more lucid version of David Mack (which is not an insult to either artist) and when I rant against generic looking superhero art, theirs is the kind of stuff I long for.

One small complaint: the spider puns. They'd all been done in Spider-Man comics before and were wholly unnecessary and distracting here.

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