Natasha: Hah! Don’t you think Khrushchev would have laughed to see us now?
Bucky: I guess with the old Soviet dialectic— they liked us being two things. The Winter Soldier and Captain America…
Natasha: Only I’m more than two things, James. This plan seems designed to remind me of how… splintered…
Bucky: You could be… if you weren’t so tough.
Natasha: Thank goodness you’re immune.

The most interesting thing in Deadly Origin, besides Leon’s artwork (not pictured), was the specific historical grounding Cornell gave to her backstory. Khruschev wasn’t just a ghost mentioned in passing, he was actually a player in the narrative. I know and understand, to some degree, why people dislike the idea of Natasha’s infinity-formula expanded backstory. It complicates things, and god forbid comic book characters be complicated.

But the truth is Natasha’s character concept is as historically rooted as Steve Rogers’. And it’s much easier to explore in this kind of grand retrospective than within the constraints of the sliding timeline. Khruschev made an appearance in her 1964 debut, too.

From Black Widow: Deadly Origin #3, by Paul Cornell and John Paul Leon.