Medic: Do you want to save your friend’s life just to give him a ticking clock?
Nick: ‘Tasha? It’s your decision.
Natasha: James actually prefers long odds… do it.
Medic: All right then…

Ivan: Just you fron now on…proud of you. My little girl—
Winter Soldier: The comrade needs medical treatment. My superiors offer you both this chemical in exchange for your renewed loyalty. It will heal him— and increase your life spans. But there is an extremely limited supply, comrades.
Ivan: Don’t…don’t…
Natasha: We say yes.

I wanted to highlight the way these two scenes mirror each other instead of pointing out how this just happened in the last arc of New Avengers. Both times we see Natasha in charge of administering immortality juice to some guy she loves with a hole in his chest, and both times she decides damn the future steroid testing, full speed ahead.

But there’s a huge difference: one of these scenes is a mistake, the kind of mistake you have to spend the rest of your life making up for. The other takes place 50 years later and is an escape from the consequences of a capital-e summer Event. So, heh, did Natasha learn anything in those fifty years?

Obviously, where she screwed up the first time was pledging herself to a lifetime of service to an oppressive black ops regime. But she also was paying more attention to what she wanted for Ivan than to what Ivan wanted for himself. Giving him that shot of comic book juice prolonged his life, but didn’t save it. Ivan just twisted up into a cruel shell of a person— he couldn’t cope with all that time. She couldn’t have known that, of course, but Ivan did tell her to say no. She didn’t listen.

With Bucky, at least, she makes reference to what he would want. The scenes work to such different purposes, I’m pretty sure there’s no echo intended. But the echo’s there anyway. The scene with Ivan was such a turning point for her, how could she not remember it when confronted with such a similar dilemna?

From Fear Itself #7.1 by Ed Brubaker and Butch Guice, & Black Widow: Deadly Origin #1, by Paul Cornell and John Paul Leon.

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