Natasha: Look at the state of you. Who was your date last night? Did she bring a threshing machine with her?
Clint: Nat, c’mon, don’t act like you’re my mom…
Natasha: Clint, we both know I couldn’t possibly be your mother. You certainly never acted like I was.

From Avengers: Endless Wartime by Warren Ellis and Mike McKone.

Natasha: Very good. Did you wonder why I wanted to take posession of it here?
Evans: I was curious, love, yes. I thought maybe you wanted to go on holiday.
Natasha: No. You see, right now, I’m in America, and I’ve realized I need to get rid of a lot of documents and material.
Evans: You’re in America, right.
Natasha: It’s true. And I’m remotely detonating the explosives in the foundations. Because you were write, Harry: I can’t live with having funded you. And I found out that you sold the gun design to the Shadow Council. Goodbye.

From Secret Avengers #20, by Warren Ellis and Alex Maleev.

• The demented Dr. June Covington has taken on A.I.M., and is winning. The Avengers are caught in the middle of this Mad Science War!
• But, now, this situation is more important – because there’s a second Terrigen cocoon in New York, ticking like a time bomb, about to go off, Covington wants it and A.I.M. has it.
• SPIDER-GIRL, who has been mentored by the Avengers in her search for her teacher, abducted by Covington for Nefarious Genetic Purposes, now leads the charge, as the Avengers Assemble to end this conflict before the Terrigen cocoon explodes and New York is doooooomed.

Natasha: Are you going to fight? Or are you laying there thinking of a new food substitute to patent?
Tony: Cascade failure. I couldn’t stand up in this thing if you paid me right now?
Natasha: Who said anything about standing up? God, you people
Tony: What people?
Natasha: You’re all the same! Thor’s still waiting for his daddy to hug him, Steve’s still waiting for World War Two to end— and you still act like you’re nothing but a man in a can! FIGHT! AAAAA
Tony: Nat? What happened? I can’t see you, properly— wait, I’m scanning— was that your leg?
Natasha: I’ve got two. Stop whining and get to work.

From Avengers: Endless Wartime, by Warren Ellis and Mike McKone.

Logan: You know this is nuts, right? We’re getting tangled up in something that’ll sort itself out just as soon as SHIELD’s drones kill a bunch of people. We’re just buying ourselves a beating and a lot of trouble we don’t need.
Natasha: You’re right, Logan. We should all just keep trying to be no better, like you. Much easier to just be dumb animals. No responsibility. Nothing expected of us. Right?

From Avengers: Endless Wartime, by Warren Ellis and Mike McKone.

This is a preview for the recently announced Avengers: Endless Wartime graphic novel. The line-up is described as“the biggest heroes in the Marvel Universe—Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Wolverine & Captain Marvel” but Natasha’s here in the preview. I wouldn’t really be surprised if she showed up, or didn’t: on the one hand she’s a big part of the MCU, on the other she’s clearly the Movievenger Marvel cares about the least. But, as we all know, I really like how Warren Ellis writes Natasha so I’m eye-peeling this one anyway.

The big news with this announcement is that Marvel is reviving it’s OGN line, which is terrific. I’m really all about more people reading superhero comics, and the distribution model as it looms today is really skewed against that happening. Sales figures are determined by comic store clerks ordering copies based on their pre-existing customer base, and you can see how that favors established market groups, not new ones. Plus, I kinda doubt the pre-ordering a book two months before it comes out ritual occurs to someone who’s thinking about learning more about Gwen Stacy, maybe. Comic shops also (often undeservedly) have a reputation for being awkward, girl-phobic places, and this all adds up to a weird manga-is-for-girls, superheroes-are-for-boys narrative that I think could be cured a bit if buying comics were as easy as going into Barnes and Noble and picking out a manga volume. (Just like, g-a-s-p, in the days before direct distribution Western comics were much more varied in genre and audience.) So it’s nice to see Marvel try.

Anyway, the OGN line is being resurrected: it existed before in the 80s and 90s and tended to be home to more ambitious, “mature” stories. God Loves, Man Kills, the inspiration for X2, is a classic example, and there were a lot of Black Widow stories published this way that I’m pretty fond of. (Especially in comparison to most of Marvel’s output c. 1993.) As much as I think the term “graphic novel” is silly & needlessly pretentious, I do think there are a lot of stories that benefit from not having to slot into neat 22-page monthly chapters. In retrospect I think Black Widow: Deadly Origin might have worked much better in the Season One format, in terms of both being accessible to the elusive moviegoer and also just not sucking. Alas!! Why can’t Marvel operate using my 20/20 hindsight opinion powers??

From Avengers: Endless Wartime, by Warren Ellis and Mike McKone.