The grey suit was designed by Frank Miller and first appeared in Daredevil #187. The 90s costume was part of a bigger Avengers redesign by, I believe, Mike Deodato, circa The Crossing. I did longer write-ups on each in my Natasha Gets a Makeover series.
Tales of Suspense #64 was cover-dated April 1965, meaning it would have gone on sale in January… so this reference to (the still-unnamed) Khrushchev’s ouster in mid-October, 1964, would have been added fairly late in the day.
Natasha Romanoff in A+X #10 (2012)
Winter Soldier: Idiots.
Natasha: Some of them are, agreed. But not all of us.
Winter Soldier: You think I can’t disarm you?
Natasha: If you take the gun, I drop the grenade. You take the grenade, well, you know what happens…
Winter Soldier: This isn’t supposed to be a live ammunition exercise.
Natasha: Rules were meant to be broken, “капитан”.
From Captain America & Bucky #624, by Ed Brubaker, Marc Andreyko, and Chris Samnee.
I think when Brubaker wrote that plotline he probably considered Natasha to be about nineteen or twenty, still inexperienced and naïve and not really knowledgeable enough about her masters to know not to cross them, but definitely adult. The canon that Brubaker was working off of (mostly Uncanny X-Men #268) showed Natasha as a child in 1941, so she’d be at least eighteen in 1957/58. Winter Soldier was around twenty-three or twenty-four.
When Paul Cornell hammered down his own timeline for Natasha in Deadly Origin, he moved her birthday back into the late 1920s, so she was close to thirty when she met Winter Soldier, but pretending to be seventeen as a cover identity as a way, I guess, to “explain” why she might have seemed younger in other stories.
— The amount that Natasha fought in WW2 differs with every retelling. She was a child tagging along with her guardian, Ivan, and not an enlisted soldier formally deployed, in any case.
— Many people feel Clint and Natasha hooking up was strange and sudden. But it wasn’t a one night stand, really, or a mission. Bucky’s dead, and Natasha’s normal support system, in the Avengers, has been more or less pulled out from her. So she fell into a hasty, desperate reconnection with Clint. I think this is pretty plausible as a plot point, but opinions on the execution may vary.
The spirit of the text is that Winter Soldier’s relationship with Natasha was the one thing in that whole chapter that he actually chose. It wasn’t approved of by Department X or Natasha’s Red Room superiors— it was clearly something that both of them wanted despite the brainwashing and false memories, not because of them.
Natasha didn’t realize her “true” past until roughly 2006, when they first introduced the Red Room brainwash retcon. Following this logic, Natasha has never had a consensual relationship, since the only person she’s hooked up with since then is Bucky. And that’s a bad way to look at Natasha and her history, in my opinion, since it robs her of all the stories that attempted to give her sexual agency, a character theme going back to the 1970s and her women’s lib days. As a general rule, I’m not fond of readings that clearly go against both the intention of the text and also diminish the characters involved. That seems like bad faith to me.
However, I get why people don’t necessarily like the Love in the Time of Retroactive Continuity vibe the romance has going on, or feel uncomfortable whenever brainwashing anywhere near their makeouts. Hell, as someone who generally likes Bucky/Natasha, I wish the fandom wasn’t so all Red Room, all the time.
A lot of people dislike Johansson as public image/figure, but she has a lot of fans too. I don’t really think either group is “wrong”— she does some stuff I like and some stuff I don’t, and none of it is terribly interesting to me. Caring about actors is a level of investment I’m not ready to bring into my fandom life. Caring about comic books is punishment enough, imo.
Eyes front, Ivan!
It’s Father’s Day, and so I thought I would do a post on Natasha’s surrogate father figure, Ivan Petrovich Bezukhov. Spoilers: I’m not going to be very kind to him.
And trigger warning, this post deals with pseudo-incest, unwanted sexual advances, assault, and threats of rape. Plus a whole lot of bonus slut shaming, so I’m cutting the post earlier than I normally would.