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Monday, March 17, 2014

Marvel Universe: Black Widow!

03.17.2014 – For every super team there’s a female lead character that’s a member of this group. Marvel’s the Avengers had one female lead in the Black Widow portrayed by Scarlett Johansson who will reprise her role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

In the comic books the Black Widow’s character is more layered and defined as to he she is being a double or triple agent. Black Widow first appeared in Tales of Suspense #52 in 1964 and her origins revealed in Avengers #44 in 1967.

There were further origins revealed in Daredevil #88 in 1972 about the character and how she became to be the Black Widow. In the comic books she was revealed an orphan child known as Natalia “Natasha” Romanova rescued from being trapped in a burning building during an early attack on Stalingrad by enemy forces.

She was adopted by Ivan Petrovitch Bezukhov, a Soviet soldier, found her in the inferno and rescued her. Although Ivan kept a close eye on Natasha as she grew attracted the attention of Soviet intelligence, which began her training.

Natasha was almost brainwashed into serving the ninja clan the Hand, but was saved by Ivan, Logan (James Howlett, later Wolverine) and Captain America. Following World War II, Natasha was recruited to become part of the Black Widow Program, a team of elite female sleeper agents.

Among the Widow’s instructors was the Winter Soldier, formerly Captain America’s sidekick Bucky (James Barnes); Natasha studied as a ballerina to cover for her true occupation. The Soviet state eventually arranged for Natasha to marry Alexi Shostakov, a champion test pilot. After a few years of a happy marriage, the KGB faked Shostakov’s death in a rocket test; grief for Shostakov drove Natasha’s resolve deeper and she continued her education with the Red Room Academy, finally being appointed the title of the Black Widow.

Marvel Universe included the Black Widow as part of the second series of action figures manufactured by Hasbro. The second series can be identified through the H.A.M.M.E.R. files since during its release in 2011, Marvel just wrapped up the Secret Invasion story arc where Norman Osborne (Green Goblin) assumed the leadership and becoming the top cop to “police” the superheroes.

In keeping with the concept instead of the S.H.I.E.L.D. emblem it has the H.A.M.M.E.R. logo in the packaging and aside from the stand and accessories that came with the figure it also includes a Top Secret envelope that has a letter to Norman Osborne and the character bio card.

This was the first version of the Black Widow which was followed by another figure with a new head sculpt and has a light-up base that interconnect with other members of the Avengers. This version only has one weapon which is the generic rifle with grenade launcher that was a common accessory to the first wave of Marvel Universe figures.

What’s unique about the second series is that it comes with a stand unlike when the first series came out with a generic rifle accessory. But Hasbro would greatly improve on that department with the succeeding series.

Out of the package the Black Widow comes with her silver Widow’s Bite bracelet and belt and the oversize rifle.

She has all the basic articulation of a Marvel Universe female action figure but lacks the other accessories that makes her an agent of espionage. But in keeping the character they have the figure based from her comic book likeness.

Comparing the comic book series Black Widow to the Avengers movie version sets it way apart. The comic book series version has been established to be one of the interesting characters, and this is not bad for the movie version which not entirely a spot-on Scarlett Johansson. But has enough distinction between two action figures sharing the same name.

Overall Black Widow has the action poses and the Widow’s Bite to make the deadliest spy from Mother Russia, but lacks the accessories that make the character more memorable just like in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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