I recently read an interview of Mark Waid and Chris Samnee in which they said that Both Natasha and Bucky have had a crush on Steve Rogers. Is this true? Have there been instances in the comics relating to this?

Natasha did have a crush on Steve Rogers back in 1990s Avengers comics. And reader, I really hated it:

Natasha: Why do you insist on keeping your fellow Avengers in the dark? As chairman, I should be angry with you…but oddly, when I see you lying like that, I find it quite impossible. look at you— exactly the same as you were when I first laid eyes on you long ago— another world, really— in Madripoor. You are a very handsome young man, Steve Rogers… And for the first time, perhaps, I’m allowing myself to see that…

So, look. Steve Rogers is objectively hot. We’ve already seen that Natasha has had a long-time thing for Clint, and given that he and Steve look exactly the same, it makes sense that she’d also find Steve attractive. My problem isn’t even that Natasha’s one-sided crush is introduced via her recollections of first meeting Steve as a six year old, which is creepy and objectively not hot.

But this plotline was part of Bob Harras’s Avengers run, which should have been a great period for Natasha on the Avengers, but wasn’t. Like this text references, Natasha was the leader of the Avengers at the time, so it should have been great to see her making tough decisions and developing as a leader. Instead, she acts as Steve’s sidekick almost the entire time, being weirdly deferential despite technically outranking him. Like, she can’t get mad at him as a leader because he’s too pretty here, which isn’t usually something Natasha suffers from even when surrounded by very pretty men.

Probably the best example of this weird lowkey OOCness for Natasha through this entire era is when the Avengers fight over the use of lethal force, and Natasha unblinkingly takes Steve’s “no-killing” sides, when Natasha has been okay with using lethal force in basically every other appearance. She fought with Daredevil about this during their partnership, so this was basically worse than 1970s Daredevil in terms of giving Natasha a credible PoV. That’s not good kids.

Imo, the attraction of a Steve/Natasha relationship should be them both overcoming drastically different points of view and learning to work together and appreciate the other’s perspective. They should challenge each other. But when the idea was developed in canon, it was “Natasha goes along with everything Steve says because Steve is Always Right.” Thankfully, this was all dropped completely when a new writer came on the Captain America book and no one mentioned it again. That writer was actually Mark Waid! CBR did a retrospective of the dropped plotline a while ago if you are curious.

As for Bucky’s crush on Steve, that’s always been much more IC and well-attested to. Here’s some panels from Samnee:

Bucky: For the rest of my training, I couldn’t stop thinking about this ‘Captain America’— whoever her was. And I kept goin’ back every night to see more newsreels… studying his every move.

Panels from Avengers #382 and Captain America & Bucky #620.

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.

Is it just me, or does it not seem more appropriate to her character that Natasha be bisexual, or at least lesbian? And in any event, I can’t see her getting all soppy and romantic for *any* man. What do you think? (The Winter Soldier thing seems WAY too pat.)

Natasha comes from the Silver Age of superhero comics, a place where men and women (and only men and women) could fall in love with each other in the space of three panels. Over the years, though, the typical action heroine has sacrificed emotional for physical competency. The type has become more deadly, but also more cold, more withdrawn.

Natasha has occupied both extremes. She’s been lonely and unfeeling and also breathless and desperate— and I don’t think either is the “right” or the “wrong” way to handle her. That’s more about the quality of the story, which varies so widely it’s impossible to make any knind of sweeping statement. But I do think the contradiction in her romantic outlooks makes Natasha a much more nuanced and interesting character than she would be otherwise.

Anyway, not everyone likes the Winter Soldier romance, and there were certainly some stuff related to it that I wish didn’t happen, but he wasn’t the first retroactive love affair she had, nor the first person she’s cried over. I’m not sure what “at least lesbian” means but I think you could certainly read Natasha as bisexual. There’s also lot more flexibility in the MCU version since the amount of canon there is so comparably limited.

Natasha: Barnes? We need to talk. I’ll start. First, thank you for the assist. Clearly, Recluse has been training since we last met.
Bucky: We make a good team. You must remember that much.
Natasha: Now, lets move on to the parts that insult me. Have you really been keeping an eye on me for a while?
Bucky: I—
Natasha: I don’t need you to be my keeper, Barnes. Please tell me there’s more to your presence than that.

From Black Widow #9 by Chris Samnee and Mark Waid.

did u see the buckynat tease in thunderbolts #6?

I did.  Thunderbolts #5, for reference:

Natasha: Zvezda moya… I love watching you get ready for work.

It’s… kind of an odd scene to me, tbh, since I don’t think Natasha’s attraction to Bucky/Winter Soldier was ever how good he is at killing people, even back in the USSR. Really the opposite.

But at least we now know Bucky’s hair is officially longer than it was when he was brainwashed. It’s important to keep track of these things.


so i’ve decided to do a series of edits highlighting jessica and natasha’s incredible relationship entitled “top 10 jessnat moments as voted for by all of you guys!

i’ve set up a poll here! there are 20 different options there, as well as a space for you to right in something in case i accidentally forgot a moment. 

you can vote for up to 3 different moments in no particular order, so that at the end of the voting period, the 10 moments that have the most number of points overall will be the winners!

for the time being, the poll will be open for 1 week (from Tuesday 8/23- Tuesday 8/30). however, i might extend it past that date. if i do, i will be sure to let you know! let me know if you have any questions about any of the moments listed, and i’ll clarify!

happy voting <333

do you think natasha will ever get her memories of bucky back? or do you think marvel is just against it. thx.

Marvel isn’t “against it” and never has been. But there are a lot of coincidental things that have kept it from happening.

From what I understand, originally Widow Hunt was supposed to be a three part mega-arc that ended with Natasha having her memories back. But the book got cancelled midway through and so Brubaker awkwardly rushed an ending into the second act. Then Winter Soldier got un-cancelled, but Brubaker had already made non-Marvel plans and didn’t come back. When Jason Latour came on he, understandably, wanted to write his own story and not step all over Brubaker’s intended conclusion. And then the book got cancelled for real, and that was that.

So this was never meant to go on like it has. It also doesn’t make much sense as a long-term plot point. I don’t think it will last forever because it cuts Natasha off from one of her more significant relationships for no reason. People are still interested in the Bucky/Natasha pairing; Brubaker’s Captain America stuff where it features is still seen as a modern classic that inspired some of the MCU’s better films. It’s not falling into the “let’s all pretend this never happened” soft-retcon category like some other recent Bucky directions.

But the same editorial hurdles and creative hurdles that resulted in the storyline being fucked up in the first place are still in play. Marvel is still interested in pushing Bucky and Natasha as characters, but their specific ideas for Bucky have been pretty far removed from the character-driven espionage that Brubaker started out with. And the creative teams who have handled Natasha have been (understandably!) more interested in developing their own plotlines for Natasha than returning to bad old ones. Thunderbolts needs to be about the Thunderbolts first, and the ongoing drama of the Marvel universe second. Fixing a broken plot point from several years back is going to be way down on the priorities list.

The current cycle of endless relaunches, moreover, means that books are forever re-establishing their status quo, with less time to visit dangling plot points. Furthermore Bucky and Natasha are both being promoted individually, not as part of a set. It’s hard to see a Winter Soldier writer being given the creative freedom to use Natasha the way Brubaker did— and that was unusual even at the time, something grandfathered in from 2007. It’s likewise difficult to see a Black Widow creative team being able to use Bucky freely. He’s already being used. And this probably isn’t going to stop so long as Marvel has a specific interest in developing these two properties. So any extended plotline involving the two of them is going to need to clear the approval of two editorial offices.

You don’t need an extended plotline to fix this mess, but any throwaway line revealing Natasha’s memories of Bucky are back is going to be a confusing one to the current-day readers who aren’t familiar with Winter Soldier #14, which is most of them. And the longer this goes on the more obscure this plot point gets.

Like I said, I think that eventually, someone will want to write a story about Bucky and Natasha enough that they’re willing to jump through all the hoops necessary to make it happen, and the timing will eventually be right and not thrown off by a superimposed schedule of tie-ins and mega-events. But there are real obstacles and reasons why they don’t fix this plotline every time they could.