Bobbi: Nat, what the hell?!
ZAAAP
Frank: What’s Fury’s play here?
Natahsa: That was my play. Now pick up that armor. We’ve got men to kill.

So here’s the follow up to Tales of Suspense: Bucky and Natasha teaming up with Frank Castle to presumably kill a bunch of HYDRA agents to revenge Secret Empire. This is the last arc before the book relaunches with a more back-to-basics approach, so we’ll see where it actually goes. I’m not super in love with this even more brutal direction for Natasha— especially since that’s been, like, the last four directions for Natasha— but Tales of Suspense at least did the storytelling groundwork to make it believable.

Sidenote: even more unsure about the white gloves and knee-high boots.

From Punisher #226 by Matthew Rosenberg and Stefano Landini.

Clint: They can’t keep being so damn reckless, Nat. If they do, everything we built—
Natasha: Everything you built.
Clint: Stop—
Natasha: No, listen to me, Barton— you keep carrying all this on your shoulders, and it’s gonna screw up your posture. You did it, okay? After Chicago, I thought this was over, but you found this spot, you brought us here. You make it work, and run, every day. Whatever hope these people have, however safe they feel, any normalcy they’re able to carve out— you did that, so maybe stop worrying about your issues with millenials, or water filtration systems, and take a second to let yourself feel good about it, yeah?
Clint: So— you’re saying all that stuff about saving lives—
Natasha: It’s a vaguely attractive quality in a man, sure. Idiot. Now— close your eyes.

So, this happened.

From Secret Empire #1 by Nick Spencer and Steve McNiven.

Natasha: Well, they employed places like these back in the 1800s to use the oldest profession in the world to get pretty damning secrets out of rather high-up officials.
Clint: Blackmail. Pillowtalk.
Natasha: Exactly.
Clint: They’re not exactly going to get anything out of me, so the point of going in there is…
Natasha: Recon. Blackmail’s too easy these days. That poor fool probably had no idea what else goes on in there. There’s another reason they re-opened these places. Pretty sure I know what’s in there, and who.
Clint: Great! You go in!
Natasha: I don’t have the same assets as you.

Still not sure what to make of this.

From Widowmaker #3, by Jim McCann and David López.