Black Widow #7 Champions variant by Phil Noto.
Anton: Rest assured, citizens. Krang foolishly believed he could invade our temperate waters to spawn. Let his defeat be a lesson to all those who oppose the Russian Federation. The Winter Guard will stand against you— and we will triumph!
Reporter 1: Crimson Dynamo, could you beat Colossus in a fight?
Reporter 2: Darkstar, whatever became of your bother, Vanguard?
Reporter 3: Ursa Major, are you secretly dating Black Widow?
Ken: Camera crews? They get camera crews? I need a better agent.
Namora: Theirs is a very different world from ours, Ken.
Bob: A very alien world.
So, the Winter Guard are big time in Russia, with a state sponsored program and a press junket that follows them around. Natasha’s reputation in her native country is very inconsistently portrayed— sometimes she’s hailed as this legendary hero figure, sometimes an urban legend, and sometimes she’s despised as a traitor!! I imagine given the time that’s passed since the Cold War and the commodification of the Black Widow identity there’s a big plausible deniability gap between the mysterious Khrushchev-era espionage program and the western immigrant superhero. For all their popularity, the public aren’t especially well informed about the Winter Guard. The Darkstar here is Reena Stancioff, when it was the original Darkstar, Laynia Petrovna, who had the brother Vanguard.
And Natasha remains of interest to the Russian press because, I suppose, she’s a prominent Russian abroad, and also because she might be dating a giant bear. ПРЕВЕД МЕДВЕД!
From Darkstar and the Winter Guard #1, by David Gallaher and Steve Ellis.
Have you seen the preview for Captain America 616? Well, let me recap:
That would be Ursa Major, longtime survivor of the Winter Guard. Could their confrontation have something to do with this?
Ursa Major, are you secretly dating Black Widow?
From Captain America #616 and Darkstar and the Winter Guard #1.
Maybe I will do “They were the freaking Champions!!” week next.