Natasha: Maria Hill is out. Ms. Hill?
SHIELD Agent: Oh man, then who’s in charge??
SHIELD Agent: The ship’s first officer!
SHIELD Agent: Then let’s get him—
SHIELD Agent: Unless there’s an agent level ten on board.
SHIELD Agent: Level ten? Nick Fury is the only level ten I ever heard of.
Natasha: Actually, I’m level ten.
SHIELD Agent: Then where to, Captain?
Natasha: Battle stations, people!! We are at full-scale worldwide white alert!! I want full reports from all stations! I want full analysis from all departments!! I want a solution to our problem five minutes ago!! All world leaders are to be informed immediately that we are under attack and head to their emergency bunkers. Inform all members of the Initiative that we are on high alert and to await further instruction! Find Reed Richards And let me know when we’re ready to get this boat back up in the sky.
Carol: She’s in charge now?
Jan: Oh, she’s in charge. (Not bad.)
Natasha: Avengers— Ultron. We lost visual. Go!!

What I best like about this sequence is the split-second of hesitation on Natasha’s face. You see, Natasha isn’t a natural leader. She’s very good at planning and tactics and very good at reading and manipulating people. She also likes being in charge of everything. But her bossiness is almost a self-defense mechanism— her life hasn’t been up to her, she’s controlling because she despises being controlled. And she isn’t gung-ho for the spotlight, not because she fears responsibility, but because stealth is something that’s been drilled into her.

She’s not supposed to stand in front of an army and lead it into battle, she’s not supposed to be the center of attention, hell, she’s really not supposed to be on a team at all. But when people need her, she shows up. And that’s pretty cool.

From Mighty Avengers #3, by Brian Michael Bendis and Frank Cho.

Jan: Did you find out anything?
Natasha: Of course. I know the complete affairs of each man I met, the surrounding geogaphy of this town, and the identities of Doom’s informants. We also now have sufficient monies for any reasonable purchases, and I have several keys in case we… need a place to stay.
Jan: I’ll sleep in an open field, if it comes to that.
Natasha: Much wiser, but cold. Also, unnecessary. Gerter, the man who fancies himself as the Red Baron, told me of this airfield.
Jan: Okay, it’s a biplane. Do you know how to fly a biplane? Wait… don’t answer. Of course you do. You speak every language. You fly every plane.
Natasha: It is all just information. Easy to control.

From Black Widow and the Marvel Girls #2, by Paul Tobin and Jacopo Camagni.

These are the Black Widow cards from the Marvel Superhero Squad Online Card Game. The team-up card with Emma Frost is interesting, because the characters have never met in comics. Also, “Fierce Competitor” apparently refers to Natasha’s previously unknown stint on America’s Next Top Model. Janet seems to be playing the part of Tyra.

Some things you shouldn’t have to learn about from a newspaper! Thus, as the mighty Avengers pass by a newsstand after a benifit in nearby Central Park, they…and especially an incredulous Hawkeye… are startled to behold banner headlines proclaiming—
Wanda: The Black Widow— a traitor? It isn’t possible!
Pietro: She told us that she was leaving America— but we never imagined that she might plan to betray it!
Hank: We’ll discuss the matter when we get back to Avengers HQ! Then— Hawkeye, wait! Where are you going?
Clint: What’s the difference? I just wanna be alone for a while! Gotta think things out… I’ll be along latermaybe

Some variation of the “Black Widow: Traitor” headline has run through Marvel Universe newspapers many a time. (Again, strangely for someone so supposedly steeped in secrecy!!) In this case, it was a ruse— Natasha faked a defection so that she could infiltrate enemy ranks for SHIELD. So, a flashy public return to eeeevil might be just what Dr. Nick ordered.

But, uh, she didn’t tell Clint, whoops. So he read about it in the paper. I like that even the framing text compares his moping here to “bleeding-heart romances.” There’s a lot of criticism of Marvel’s Silver Age ladytypes as being dewy-eyed creatures of perpetual sigh, but the dudes spent a fair bit of time in moping melodrama mode, too.

From Avengers #39, by Roy Thomas and Don Heck.

And now, lest you suspect that we’ve forgotten the vengeful Valkyrie and her newly-formed Liberators, lift your startled gaze skyward, and behold—
Wanda: The town of Rutland should be directly below us, Valkyrie!
Valkyrie/Enchantress: Excellent! Now does each of you know what she must do?
Medusa: Yes! But— I see some sort of battle going on in the streets— and the Avengers are involved!
Valkyrie/Enchantress: What? Then— someone else— no! We must not be robbed of our chance!
Jan: I’ll zoom ahead— see if I can slow things down a bit!
Valkyrie/Enchantress: Hurry, wench— hurry!

I’m not very fond of this issue or the Lady Liberators, but I can’t deny the awesomeness of their mode of transportation. Every superteam should ride a flying chariot!

From Avengers #83, by Roy Thomas and John Buscema.