I don’t believe in the current “Black Widow” series that Natasha has found out about Nadia yet. So this is the first time that they’ll be in contact where they know about each other and that they come from the same place. That is touched on in the story. The kind of training that Natasha is giving is the kind that Nadia basically fled.

The conflict for her is what is she willing to do? She’s run away and gotten a new life. Then this horrible event happens and she has to deal with getting pulled back in. That becomes part of the conflict.

Alanna Smith, re: Secret Empire: Uprising

Natasha has a history of being used as a mean mentor to teen hero-types in one-off ways. She taught shooting to the kids at the Initiative, she apparently told young Franklin Richards how to shank people in Hickman’s Avengers run, and even her relationship with Rikki Barnes in her Nomad stories had shades of this.

This is directly and obviously in conflict with Natasha’s own backstory and her personal mission. Over and over we see Natasha determined to save young women from the sort of exploitation she has experience with. The Samnee/Waid Black Widow run was all about this, and so was DeConnick’s work with Natasha in her various oneshots.

It’s pretty telling that the first kind of story tends to happen in books that aren’t really about Natasha, while the second kind of story happens in books that are. Obviously, Nadia should be conflicted about being drawn back into the grimness of a life she’s escaped, but Natasha should be just as conflicted, maybe more.

I feel that if Marvel’s determined to push the child soldier angle with Natasha’s backstory they should also really be reexamining her relationship with the teen hero community, both the “mean mentor” stories and the ones where she functions as a more kindly older sister figure. It’s not that this means Natasha can’t be brutal or manipulative or even hypocritical. Abuse is a cycle, and we saw in how she dealt with Yelena that Natasha’s own past makes it hard for her to draw the same lines normal people would. I just would like a story that explored that dynamic with some weight and nuance.

I don’t expect Secret Empire: Uprising to be that story, since it’s a one-shot beholden to the needs of so many other characters, and that’s fine. But maybe if Nadia sticks around we’ll get there eventually. Mostly, I mourn the lost arc of Marjorie Liu’s X-23 that would have featured Natasha.

On everything in my Google search history, I don’t give a fuck who your favorite action star is. I don’t care who the fuck you think is the face of adventure. I don’t fucking care. If you aren’t talking about Natasha Ramanova than you ain’t talking about a Bast damn thing. Zoom in on my face as I say this shit. Closer. Closer. Muh fucka *Grabs camera* Natasha Romanova is out here bringing the espionage game back to glory. Fuck James Bond. Fuck Jason Bourne. Fuck La Femme Nikita. Fuck Ethan Hunt. This Black Widow series is the mixtape fiction game needs right now. It’s been too quiet, so Natasha, Waid, and Samnee brought them gun bars back.

From things that we gather from some analysis that Disney does on who is buying Marvel as a brand, and from talking to retailers and looking at our titles, we’re probably up to at least 40% female, which eight years ago might have been 10%. And 15 years ago might have been nothing, while they were all buying manga. So there’s really been a shift, which is great, and it even could be even higher than 40%. I’m sure if you go into some retail shops in different parts of the country, that’ll be 50-60% female, and some lower. But that’s about what we’re seeing now. We also get some stats from digital; they’re a little better at knowing who the customer is.

David Gabriel, Marvel Senior VP of Print, Sales & Marketing

Natasha and Bucky is another one that people ask about. Natasha’s memories got wiped and all this stuff, and I’m like, Mark Waid and Chris Samnee are doing the Black Widow book, and I don’t want to intrude on their territory. We’re all in the sandbox here together. But! At some point in time, if it’s viable and it works, and/or it dovetails with what they’re doing in a way that improves the whole, then let’s do it.

Jim Zub, on the possibility of Natasha appearing in Thunderbolts

Yo, this issue man. Man, this damn issue. When I tell you I feel like Natasha Romanova is riding round with the top down playing the instrumental to Kendrick Lamar’s back seat freestyle while shouting, “All my life I wanted a solo series up to measure, respect my fandom or get red in your ledger.” This series feels like the movie we should have gotten with Black Widow after Captain America II: The Winter Soldier. Samnee and Waid have really done all the right measures to make this feel like you are watching Mission Impossible meets Jason Bourne meets Luther. This is peak espionage at its muhfucking finest right here.

That’s the thing that bears most watching about this iteration of Black Widow, is that it’s on fairly unexplored territory here — this isn’t the writer-driven kind of comic book that’s dominated the industry for the past 15 years, nor is it the bombastic, ultra-rendered artist-driven titles of the ‘90s that preceded it. Samnee’s rise to the top heralds a literary spin on the A-list artist, both an embrace and a repudiation of the Image superstardom that came a generation ago. This isn’t just about art that is exciting and looks good, but about visuals that can tell a story just as well — if not better — than prose-like narration. It’s a complicated web for even the Black Widow to sustain, but with creators like Samnee, Waid and Wilson as her handlers, fans shouldn’t miss out on this exceptional series.

David Pepose, Black Widow #4 review

‘KRAK,’ ‘FAK,’ and ‘WHUMP’ – a trio of sound effects collaboratively crafted by artist/writer Chris Samnee and letterer Joe Caramagna opens up Black Widow #1 and sets the stage for a world of hurt. The premise might be familiar – Black Widow is on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D. – a plot we’ve seen, read, or fever-dreamed a few times over. From the first panel of an office setting thrown into chaos, Samnee and Caramagna, with writer Mark Waid and colorist Matthew Wilson take the readers by the hand and promise excitement, adventure, mystery, and fun.

By the end of Black Widow #1, readers are sure to be gasping for breath, as the creative quartet who crafted the adventures of Matt Murdock through September 2015 give readers everything we could want and more.

Advance Review: Black Widow #1 (The Verdict: 10/10)