By Molly Jane Kremer. Throughout their three years together on Daredevil, Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, Matthew Wilson and Joe Caramagna made some of the most consistently enjoyable and critically acclaimed comics of the last decade. When it was announced that this team would be staying together and moving on to another high-profile Marvel project, it was music to many ears (mine included). The group developed together as a team during their stint with Matt and Foggy and Kirsten, becoming a perfectly synced, highly-functioning machine. All of that time together has ensured that their debut on this week’s Black Widow hits the ground running. And guess what? It is every bit the phenomenal work we all knew it could be.
The entire issue is packed with thrills, and from the start it’s serious business: we see the Widow running from S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in hot pursuit, guns drawn and visibly pissed off. There’s very little dialogue and only one line—on the last page—from our titular heroine. Writers Mark Waid & Chris Samnee manage to perfectly establish with a minimum of exposition everything we need to know, superbly leaving everything else to the glorious visuals. And this — this — is where Chris Samnee’s startling vitality has an opportunity to shine.
Samnee’s storytelling skills and ridiculous talent for movement and dynamism and creative layouts and expression and, well… everything is the serious draw of this comic. A chunk of pages towards the middle of the issue contains the best comic book car chase I’ve seen since Fraction and Aja’s Hawkeye #1. Colorist Matthew Wilson—as always, switching uncannily from style to style to style, remains ever flawless — Wilson keeps the colors flat, suiting Samnee’s gorgeous inks, but he still provides the art further definition and depth, making sure the red of Nat’s hair truly pops in every panel. (Do you need further proof that Wilson’s the best colorist in the business? Because I certainly don’t.)
With these brilliant visuals surrounding Waid’s smattering of intermittent (but expertly placed) dialogue, and excellent sense of pacing, Natasha doesn’t need to utter a single word: her feet and fists do all the talking for her, speaking loudly in onomatopoeian kraks, faks, whumps, and choks. Between the sound effects in the fights, the explosions, the screaming car chases, not to mention a headbutt or two, Joe Caramagna outdoes himself with the lettering. The entire comic is a seamlessly smooth yet exciting read — an exercise in creative mastery, really. It cements Natasha as one of the most capable characters in the entire Marvel U—even if she might be on the wrong side of the law now and then. I cannot wait to see where this comic goes next.
Written by Chris Samnee and Mark Waid.
Art by Chris Samnee.
Colors by Matthew Wilson.
Letters by VC’s Joe Caramagna.
10 out of 10